not your normal transition.

i am right smack dab in the middle of the biggest transition i have ever been through in my life…and i wouldn’t have it any other way.

transition number one.
i have officially resigned as minister to students and young single at first rosenberg. for the past 6 years i have been serving at my home church. that makes this transition so bittersweet. over the past month i have looked church members in the eyes and told them that i was confident God was calling me in a different direction. each time i did that, it was equally hard. it never got easier. but God gave me the grace to make it though. this sunday is the last time i will be in first baptist church rosenberg as a staff member. sad, but good.

transition number two.
this coming sunday, may 15th, at 2pm, my wife will be graduating form grad school. i cannot tell you how excited i am for her. this is such a huge accomplishment and i am very, very proud of her.

transition number three.
right now i am currently sitting in my office at crosspoint church in bellaire. this is where God has been leading kimb and i for the last couple of months. i have accepted a position as their student pastor and will start towards the end of may.

these three transitions have sent our lives into a whirlwind of emotions of the past couple months and now that i am close to the end…i can tell you that God is good. without him, there is no way that i would have been able to make it through these two months of transition.

called out by this woman.

i love spoken word. its so slick, so clean. i found this today on it is about singleness, but as a husband who is madly in love with his wife, as well as a husband who is a christ-follower, this woman called me to the carpet from 5:30 – 6:15.

there are just some of those days.

over the past couple of weeks i have been doing a lot of looking at spiritual gifts.  we are going over the gifts with the students on sundays and we even had the students take a spiritual gift inventory this past sunday so that during the rest of the lessons they can have some point of reference for themselves.  I took one of these inventories and the results were very interesting.  looking at some of the gifts, it was obvious.  i knew i had these gifts.  but there were others, that i could see, looking back, God had been growing inside of me.  one of these was the gift of faith.

i know what you are saying, and i know that we all have to have faith for salvation, for we are “saved by grace, through faith”.  but people with the gift of faith just have the ability to know that God is going to provide a way and they are not swayed.  Looking back…this is what God is molding me in to, and trust me, it is awesome.

but, there are just some of those days were i have a hard time believing it.

Today is one of those days.

and when i feel like this, it messes up the whole day.  it’s all i think about.  i can’t get away from it.  i feel useless.  i feel like i let down my wife because i am not being strong for her.


there is a little glimpse into the mind of joel.  thats what im dealing with today.  i dont like it, but im learning.

Happy Texas Independence Day

its quote time…

“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking'” – G.W.B.

“You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you’re in Texas” – Goode Co.

“Texas is a state of mind.  Texas is an obsession.  Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word” – John Steinbeck

“I must say as to what I have seen of Texas, it is the garden spot of the world,  the best land and the best prospects for health I ever saw, and I do believe it is a fortune to any man to come here.” – Davy Crockett

“Texas is the finest portion of the globe that has blessed my vision” – Sam Houston

“Texas is neither southern nor western. Texas is Texas”- Senator William Blakley


3 years ago, today.

God is good.

just a little nudge.

i am grateful for my pastor, zach nicholson. i have been youth pastor at my church for just over 5 years. i have enjoyed every moment of it. both the good, and the bad moments have molded me to the pastor that i am now. I have had the opportunity to be on staff during two defining moments in the life of a church.

i was able to be on staff during the retirement of a beloved pastor who had been on staff here for 18 years.

I was able to be on staff during the 2 year interim period where the search for a new pastor took place. (hopefully these were the two hardest years of ministry that i will have for a long time)

since bro. zach has been on staff, multiple times he has said something along these lines, “joel, i need you for about an hour later.” at first i admit, i was nervous. it was almost like getting called into the principals office. now, when i hear those words, i grab my moleskin and get ready to take notes. it is an exciting time, because i know that the time im sitting in that office, i will be questioned, and encouraged; molded, served, and affirmed.

i’m grateful for these times. it is these times that help me get back on track and help me focus again on the ministry i have here at the church.

zach told me this today in our meeting…”when i arrived, you carried yourself like you were defeated. lift up your head, we are not defeated.”

i needed that conversation today. it was good. i’m looking forward to our staff retreat the next couple of days.

the prodigal son(s).

i’ve tried to start reading more since the beginning of the year. call is a resolution, call it a goal, i don’t care. i’m just trying to read more. so far this year i have read one book, cover to cover. that book, “think” by john piper, has changed the way i think in some ways. this is good.

now i’m reading “the prodigal god” by tim keller. i just finished chapter 3 which was entitled “redefining sin”. towards the end of the chapter tim keller writes this in speaking of the second son…

why doesn’t he go into the party? the elder brother is not losing the father’s love in spite of his goodness, but because of it. it is not his sins that create the barrier between him and his father, it’s the pride he has in his moral record; it’s not his wrong doing but his righteousness that is keeping him from sharing in the feast with the father.

all of my life, this parable has been about the first son who basically tells his father that he wishes he was dead. “give me my share of the inheritance” he says! then he goes, and blows it all on reckless living. we all know the story. but i have never heard the fact that this parable is more about the second son.

luke points out in the first verse of chapter 15 that there were both tax collectors and sinners coming to jesus, and the pharisees and the scribes were already there. each of the sons relates to one of these groups. the first son, relates to the tax collectors and sinners. the second son, the elder, relates to the pharisees and scribes. jesus ends this parable with a cliff hanger. this has to be frustrating to the pharisees! im sure that by the end of this parable they have caught on to the fact that Jesus is talking about them. so by the end of the parable they see that God loves the first son (the tax collectors and sinners if you will) and accepts him back, but what about the other son? He is extended an invitation, but we don’t know if he goes in. his pride is holding him back. he has done all he could to do “earn” the fathers love. “Look, these many years i have served you, and i never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat…” (Lk. 15:29). One thing that has escaped him though is that he has had the love of the father the entire time, “son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” (Lk. 15:31)!

looking at what keller writes, i am reminded of all the times that i try to put my “moralism” as the goal of my salvation. many times i think that jesus died on the cross so i could be “good”, or so i could “behave”. i constantly have to remind myself that jesus died that brutal death so i could have Him, so that i could be restored to a right relationship with God the father.

so this week i am trying to focus on the fact that Jesus is my righteousness, because my personal attempts at righteousness are like filthy rags to God.

I have been invited to the feast. There is a table with a place set just for me. I just need to go in and take a seat.