Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bitterness to Sweetness

"To the God of Victory, all the glory be, to the one Who's conquered all
Every tongue will sing, to the Risen King, oh the wonder of it all
Just to think, that You love me, a wretch like me
Aloud I will rejoice! Aloud I will rejoice!"

These are the words that brought me to tears this morning as I sat thinking about my life at The Village. Christ has been forever faithful to me, no matter how unfaithful and rebellious I've been to Him. But there's just something innate inside me that wants to do things my own way, trust myself to bring me abundant life, joy and fulfillment. That has NEVER worked, not even close. I only tend to bring myself fleeting happiness which then leads to shame, dissapointment and bitterness. Recently, I fell into a pattern of chasing abundant life on my terms. There was darkness in me that didn't want to be exposed, and I did anything that I could to make sure nobody knew about it. I stayed away from my boys because I know that they love me too much to let me walk in darkness. The bad news for me (which is really the best news ever) is that its not so easy to hide things from your wife, especially when she knows you extremely well. Outside of God, nobobdy on this earth knows my heart, passions, strengths, weaknesses, tendencies and love for Christ better than Melanie. My boys know me. Melanie KNOWS me. So when Melanie senses that something was a little off in me, of course she's going to say something. If you want to know the specifics of what I'm talking about, call me and I'd be happy to tell you what I'm talking about, or we can talk about it over a beverage of your choice.

So, I was lovingly confronted by my gracious, gracious wife. But I resisted. I did everything that I could to get out of the situation. I was way more concerned about myself than I was about following the Creator of the Universe, so I didn't want to hear it from my wife. A part of me popped up that I thought was long gone. I went to bed that night leaving Melanie with a million questions. I asked myself how it got to this point.

The next morning I got everything out in the air. I knew it was the right thing to do. I knew that I was to love my wife as Christ loves the church. But honestly, I was just doing it because I knew that I SHOULD, not because it was out of the overflow of my heart. Not because I had offended God and my wife, but because I knew I should. So we were able to talk about it a little bit. Then, something happened. Melanie woke up from a nap, walked into the living room and gave me a huuuuuge hug. She grabbed a hold of me and said, "I love you, no matter what." Everything in me broke. There it was.....Grace. Undeserved, unmerited love. In that moment God reminded me how much He loved me, how He would never give up on me no matter what. He used Melanie to do that. How lucky am I that I have a wife that passionately loves Jesus Christ. Because she belongs to Him, she was able to point me back to Him and remind me that He wasn't going anywhere, and neither was she. How beautiful, how miraculous is His love that He pursues me when I run from Him? Nothing motivated like the love of God; NOTHING.

So the words: "Just to think, that You love me, a wretch like me, aloud I will rejoice!" have never sounded sweeter that they did this morning. I wept that I could so easily throw away the Love that God and my wife show me constantly. Then, I wept that my God takes delight in and passionately cares for me. While I am still a sinner, Christ died for me. How beautiful is the Gospel!

My hope in being this transparent on my blog is this. No matter where you are, no matter how far you've gone or what you've done, there is freedom, forgiveness, hope, grace and mercy for you. You can't give it to yourself, its impossible. Only Jesus can give you those things. There is no other way, and how sweet it is to belong to the Creator of Heaven and earth. He can be trusted, and oh how faithful He is. No matter what we are tempted with and what we are going through, he can relate to and sympathize with us because He has been through it. Life won't be perfect. There will be many, many trials and hardships but you will have an unshakable ground to stand on in Christ.

I'll end with this quote that I've found to be oh so true:

"Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet." May we forever cringe at sin so we will see how infinitely sweet Christ is. Only then will we be able to truly and genuinely sing the words that I opened this blog with.

Much love,


Thursday, March 18, 2010


Pops came in town the other night and we went to the David Gray concert. And that little English man rocked the freaking house! It was probably one of the better live performances that I have ever seen and I'm pretty sure that Melanie would tell you the same....though this was only her 3rd concert experience (the other 2 were NSync and John Mayer). We went to Pappadeaux before to get some crawfish and had great seats about 12 rows from the stage. Toward the end of the concert, Mr. Gray played one of his new songs called "Nemesis." Out of all the songs, this particular one stuck out to me. While watching him sing, you could see the passion and the hurt in his face. He no doubt felt this one more than all of the others that he sang, and it was a weird moment for me. The Spirit inside me grieved for this man, because you could see the absolute pain and frustration in him that comes along with living life. And I was reassured and confident in what God is doing in this world through pain, frustration and sorrow. But I don't think Gray is a believer, and I say that because one of his other songs starts out with this line:

"Maybe that it would do me good
If I believed there were a god
Out in the starry filmament
But as it is that's just a lie
And I'm here eating up the boredom
On an island of cement."

So as I listened to the song "Nemesis," I was reminded of how blessed that I am to have the hope that God has put in me through Christ that yes, the world is going to war against me and there is no doubt going to be pain.....but its so temporary. Its a vapor compared to the weight of eternity, which I get to spend in neverending joy. Here are the lyrics to "Nemesis."

'Neath an avalanche - soft as moss

I'm a creeping and intangible sense of loss

I'm the memory you can't get out your head

If I leave you now

You'll wish you were somewhere else instead

I'm the manta ray - I'm the louse

I am a photograph they found in your burned out house

I'm the sound of money washing down the drain

I am the pack of lies baby that keeps you sane

Gates of Heaven are open wide

God help me baby I'm trapped inside

Feel like I'm buried alive

I'm the bottom line - of the joke

I am ecstasy - spilling like bright egg yolk

I'm the thoughts you're too ashamed to ever share

And I am the smell of it - you're trying to wash out of you hair

Gates of Heaven are open wide

God help me baby I'm lost inside

Feel like I'm buried alive

Possibilities limitless

Just give me something that's more than this

One shot and I'll never miss


I'm the babe that sleeps through the blitz

I am a sudden and quite unexpected twist

I am your one true love who sleeps with someone else

I am your nemesis

Baby I'm life sweet life itself

The first thing I thought about when I heard this song was the fall of man. Adam and Eve are grubbin on the forbidden fruit and realize they're naked and try to cover themselves up and hide from God. God strolls though and confronts Adam and Eve and tells Adam this,

"Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return

Its a fact of life. What was once rythmic and beautiful before the fall of man is now chaos and constantly warring against us. And if you don't know the merciful God who is reconciling all things to Himself through His Son, then of course you are going to be hopeless, confused, frusterated and bitter. We don't "grieve as those who have no hope," because we know that but we can "rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

So, my heart is heavy for ol David Gray and the majority of the people here on earth that hold onto all of that hurt without any hope. Its a strange feeling knowing that some people will never grasp this truth while it is the very thing that I base my life on. The only hope that I have. So, today if you are a Christian, be thankful that you aren't without hope. That any trial you are going through is to sharpen your faith. That God is with you. And if you aren't, trust Him. Search for Him. Ask questions about Him. Find out what He says about Himself. Its the most important thing you'll ever do.

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
-Romans 5:1-2


Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Worthy Cause

My boy Dazzle (Josh Patterson) and a team from the Village are going out to be missionaries in Ethiopia here pretty soon. This is such an exciting time for all of us who know and love the Lord to see the body being the body. Let's contribute to this trip knowing that it is for a worthy cause......

Friday, March 5, 2010

Takes Me Back.....

Days like these are really cool for me. Tonight I am leading a table at the Village Covenant Membership classes. My human nature is to think of it as just another class, but the Holy Spirit is faithful to remind me of just how big this class is. I remember more clearly than anything else one particular Saturday in May of 2007. It was the day that Jesus became real to me; my reason for living and the very One who provides life itself. I love how the author of Hebrews describes who Jesus is:

"He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs."

On that day, Jesus Christ, the EXACT imprint of God's nature became my Savior.

So, after this happened of course my life began to change radically. Transformation began and my lifestyle started to change. My faith was so raw, so authentic. I didn't know very much, but I knew that Jesus was enough for me, all that I needed. I remember being in the shower at Toby Mile's house (I know, too much info but hey, this is how I remember it) and thinking that nothing could ever shake me; sure there would be great tragedies, deaths, dissapointments, betrayals and everything else that comes along with a broken world, but with Christ as my rock all these temporary and fleeting things seemed so trivial. After all was said and done in this quick vapor of life, I was going to spend eternity with the Creator, Author and Sustainer of life. The feeling that coarsed through my veins at that moment was something I had never felt before. It was supernatural, to say the least.

So there I was in Dallas, not knowing anybody besides casual acquaintances that I met at the Village when I would go by myself. After spending 24 years of my life away from the church and having a stereotypical opinion of what a "Christian" was, I was very hesitant to hang out with them. Actually, the thought of having them as friends scared the hell out of me. But I had all of this fire in me and knew it needed to be shared. I had questions that needed to be answered with something other than, "You just gotta have faith." The Bible screams that we need to have community.

Okay, to the the point. All of this to say that I signed up for the Membership Class shortly after that. I'm not gonna lie, I was kinda freaked out. I still really didn't know how people would react when they heard where I had been, all of the stuff that I had been through. It was a weird and exciting moment walking into that class. Weird because, like I said, I spent 24 years of my life living a certain way and doing certain things. And exciting because I had just been drastically saved by grace through faith, and I couldn't shutup about it. I had other believers to share it with. My table leader was kind of a goofy fella, but he made me feel so comfortable. In fact, he had walked through a lot of the same things that I had and had such confidence in the forgiveness of God. He loved genuinely and was unashamed of the gospel. He had such an impact on me, because i didn't know what to expect. He didn't have to spend so much time with me and answer all of my questions....but he did. With a smile. He later became my sponsor through the Step Studies in Recovery. We laughed together, cried together (alot), broke bread together, ate good food and drank good wine together.....all to the praise of His name. A couple of months ago he was a groomsman in my wedding. I love Lance Colwill like a brother, and God was extremely gracious and merciful to put him in my path when I was a new believer with tons of questions and even more skepticism.

So tonight is exciting for me. It's not just a class, its an opportunity to show the love of Christ to others. Its a chance to just be in His presence, not worry about all of the tiny things that distract us and weigh us down. I get a chance to just love on these guys, some who might be new christians that I can encourage. Some might be 30 years into their walk and I will be able to soak in some of their wisdom. Some might not be believers at all, and I might have the opportunity to show love, compassion and grace and let them know they won't be judged by us, but rather served. I love nights like these, because they are proof that the love of God doesn't stop when it invades a human soul. It moves from person to person. Praise His name that He is among us and hasn't left us to ourselves. Who knows, maybe I will be able to be a Lance Colwill to somebody through this.


Monday, March 1, 2010


Welp, we are finally jumping into the world of blogging!! What a perfect day to start. It's the first day of a new month, and there's so much hope and optimism that come along with that. Hope that we will grow deeper into our Savior. Hope that under His guidance and direction we will grow deeper in love with each other as every day passes. Hope that I will be a stronger, more steadfast leader in my family regardless of circumstance and situation. Hope that we can love even the most difficult people to love, and lavish grace upon those who deserve it the least. Because that's how God approaches us every day. Hope that we would be able to wrap our heads around and embrace the calling that we've been given......that we have been bought with a price and are no longer our own. So we want to make the One known who gives us life and holds us together by the word of His power. As John the Baptist said, we must decrease and Jesus must increase. That's our hope. That's why we are here on this earth, to spread His love. Oh, we fall well short of it most of the time. We stumble. We make stupid decisions. We are impatient when God tells us to wait. We question at times. We trust ourselves instead of an infinite, all knowing, all loving God. But praise His name that He loves perfectly and unconditionally. He defines us, not other people or circumstances. Him.....perfect and spotless. He gets to tell us who we are and what our worth is. Nothing or nobody else. He promises to never leave us, no matter how many dumb decisions we make or how many times we stumble. What an unbelievably warm blanket for the soul on a cold, dark night. We are constantly reminded of Ephesians 2, and that drives us to love the way we love and do the things that we do.

So, today is a day full of hope. And thankfully we have someone to put that hope in that can actually hold it!

A good song to listen to today......"We the Redeemed" by Hillsong. Do it!