the last week.

it has been a week since i updated. alot has happened, most specifically, i turned 28. it was awesome. i think the best thing about my birthday was that i got to be with my wife all day. let me explain why that is awesome. friday is my day off, but kimb has to go to work. last friday i woke up and made coffee and oatmeal for kimb so she could be on her way and i could go back to sleep, but because the weather was crazy most of the roads were covered in ice, kimb got to stay home. when she received that phone call, i immediately stopped caring about the oatmeal and coffee and we went back to bed. it is not everyday that we both get to sleep in so i was extremely excited. later in the day when we got up, we lit a fire in the fireplace and relaxed on the couch most of the day because there was a House marathon on.

we had planned that evening to have the usual friends over to go to grimaldi’s pizza but because of the frozen roads we postponed the festivities until saturday night. i cannot tell you how glad i am to have a good core group of friends. there is never a dull time with them.

sunday morning, our pastor talked about giving thanks to god for everything. i love our new pastor here at the church and think that he is an excellent fit for our church, but the thing i enjoy the most is how often he encourages us as a staff and us as a church to stop and give thanks. so i have made it a point simply to stop more often and give thanks. doing this constantly reminds me of the sovereignty of God. every breath i have is because he decides to give it to me. every word i speak is because he decides to let me speak. every thing i have, i have because he has so graciously given it.

im convinced that if we all start to think this way more, we will be better off.

I think I’m starting to realize…

…the importance of hitting the pause button. Tonight at church we started what we are calling Sunday Night Celebration. On the last Sunday night of every month we are canceling all other Sunday Night Activities for this. We will come together as a church family to hit the pause button. To stop and to reflect.

Much of the time, church work is focused on the next thing. Well, work in general is usually always focused on the next thing. The next goal. The next event. But looking at the Old Testament, God often tells his people to stop and remember what He had done, the blessings He had given.

So tonight at church, we stopped. We stopped and looked back at the blessings of God throughout the month of January. We celebrated birthdays and thanked God for life. We celebrated anniversaries and thanked God for love. We celebrated salvations and new church members and we had a time of prayer for our children.

I needed tonight. Life is a little stressful for me right now and sometimes it seems like I’m moving at 1000 mph. I needed to stop and look back. I needed to say thanks. I needed to realize that even when I’m moving along and forgetting to look around, God is moving. He is doing something.

grace.

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

there are certain times in our lives that we can only rely on grace. times where we need grace, and times where we need to give grace. there have been multiple events in my life in the last few months that have caused me to only rely on the grace i have been given. the actions of others have disappointed me, but the weirdest thing is that my natural response in each circumstance has been grace instead of anger or frustration.

the only reason for this is that i have started recently to really understand the grace that i have been given. though i am disappointed in the actions of others i have been able to see that every single day, i disappoint a perfect and holy God.

as Christians, i think that it is very important to show grace to other believers. it can be very easy to paint ourselves at “better” than others but if we cannot show grace to another brother or sister in Christ, why would someone outside of the body of Christ believe that we could show grace to them? I have realized through these events the amazing things that grace can do.

I have seen first hand the freedom that grace brings. I have seen that when grace is given, there is liberation and that those who are given the grace, get a glimpse of what love really is. The moment when that love is realized, it is such a great sight.

I read this passage of scripture earlier today. 1 Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In this passage Jesus is responding to Pauls request to remove this “thorn” that he has been given. We need to realize that for most of us, there are certain things that we just always struggle with. There are certain sins that have a hold of us and just wont let go. The great thing about Jesus is that he says that in these circumstances, His grace is enough. Though we are weak in these areas, He will prove to be strong.

So in these circumstances from the last few months i can see that i, as well as these individuals, have thorns. but the great thing about it is that grace has proven to be enough. Grace has been a relationship builder. Grace has been the tool used to show the love of Christ to one another.

I love the fact that grace has been my natural reaction in all of these circumstances. When people disappoint me, grace is our common bond and that common bond quickly makes the disappointment disappear.

may you realize that none of us are to far gone to receive grace. may you realize that God’s grace is sufficient for you.

Im starting to really appreciate…

…our friends. My wife and I recently started hanging out with another couple all the time. We seriously hang out at least once a week, and with our schedules, that’s crazy. Kimb and the wife of the other couple have been friends forever and the husband and I get along great. Behind our backs, our wives call us bffs. Haha.

But I am really starting to understand the importance of these kind of friendships after marriage. It is good to share a common friendship and bond with another couple. It is refreshing, it is encouraging.

Last night we started a new weekly tradition with our friends. Every Tuesday night after praiseband practice my wife and I are going to beaming the 15 minute trek to meet our friends and watch LOST. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this weekly hangout time.

Here’s to making memories.

It just wont leave.

This past Sunday we sang “mighty to save” in our contemporary service. During practice when we sang the line “Lord of nations…” I got so choked up. I spent some time praying that God would heal these hurts for just enough time to be able to sing that line and then He could allow them to come back. Well, the sorrow was just to much and I was not able to sing the line without breaking down in tears.

In the midst of all that has happened in Haiti, I am honestly standing in shock and awe. In shock from the pictures I’m seeing on boston.com and all the news stations and in awe of the fact that 400+ people could come together in Austin last night and raise over $12,000 for Haiti. All from normal people who realize that there are simply more important things in the world than our needless desires. There are real needs. Needs that are the balance point for life and death.

This coming Thursday and Friday night there going to be a “Houston hope for Haiti” concert. Derek Webb is going to be playing at Taft Street Coffee and on Friday Aaron Ivey is going to be playing at another venue whose name escapes me. I’m going to try with everything to get out to see Derek Webb on Thursday and make some kind of monetary donation to help in some way in Haiti.

But I have realized that the biggest way I can help is to pray. As humans we will never be able to heal all the hurt going on in Haiti. But my God is a God of all comfort. He is a God of all peace. He is Jehovah Jireh, God our Provider. So I will continue to pray to that end. That God will heal, bring peace, comfort, and provisions to the hurting families, and individuals affected by the catostrophic disaster in Haiti.

Come quick Lord Jesus, come quick.

more from australia…

these are all from the town of Gloucester and Forster.

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more from australia. landscapes.

while in sydney we got to see a lot of good stuff. here are a few pictures from our second day in sydney, australia.

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