Friday, November 9, 2007

Memory Is A Funny Thing...

I know, I know…it’s late, I have to be up by 5am to go work at Randy’s cabin for about 10 hours or so in Bentonia/Satartia and here I am blogging. Well, I’ll have you know that I think I may have solved all the world’s problems…who am I kidding? Instead of sleep, I felt like a nice PB & J sandwich, along with a late night cable TV movie, some reflection, and a new blog post would be way more fruitful to pursue.

Trivia: What do Sylvester Stallone and
Sasquatch have in common? (Keep reading for the answer)

Yes, Bama lost a nailbiter to LSU last weekend…let’s not talk about it just yet. However, you can enjoy one of my favorite takes on what it’s like to experience
Game Day in college football below.

Bama takes on their closest geographic rival, MSU, this
Saturday, Nov. 10th. And once again, I’ll be at the game. By the way, for those interested I’ll be posting soon on my personal history with Bama and why their football program is one of the few cultural things I get excited about…and if none of you care…sorry, it’ll be good for me.

Some quick updates: Class work is still piling up and I haven’t heard anything final about a new job…hopefully this will change soon, pray for me.

So let’s get back to the title of this blog. I’ve been hanging out with my good friend Lindsey lately, someone I’ve been making memories with since my high school days at Madison Central. It made me think about perception.

Linds and I haven’t talked much in a couple of years. And in some ways we’re relearning each other, but in many ways I feel like perceptions have just picked up from where they left off in ‘04/’05. To many of my old friends, everything they see in me is colored by the past they know and they have a hard time seeing me for who I am today and how I’ve grown. I don’t even know if that could ever change or get better.

I suppose that’s part of what has always made moving and making new friends such a positive thing for me…it’s almost like starting over.

For me, I’ve always longed for history…the ability to look back and see God-given and glorifying growth in my life and in the lives of those I love.

How beautiful to see God’s creation redeemed and reconciled!

Here in Mississippi I have that. I’ve been here since June of ’95, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. And for the first time I’ve been the one to watch everybody come and go. I haven’t moved on or started over, but I’m changing…and by God’s grace for the better.

I still have big hopes and dreams to impact this world. Don’t think for a minute that my stationary position is an indication that I’ve given up, that I’ve slowed down…just wait and see…

John Lithgow is the answer for those of you taking part in these trivial pursuits. He starred in both Harry and the Hendersons (’87) and Cliffhanger (’93).

Updates coming soon! In the meantime, check out some of the stuff on the right side of this blog. And if you haven't clicked on the links in the blog...DO IT! They're there for you.

And if you need a word on the way this week…”Do whatever He tells you!”…that’s Mary directing the servants to listen to Jesus at the wedding at Cana. Great words to live by!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Make Your Paths Straight...

Ok, so Alabama hasn’t performed as well as I had hoped, but I was right about LSU and…well, we’ll just see what happens on Nov. 3rd. What a crazy season it’s been! Nothing is for sure in NCAA football and Bama actually played for a full 60 minutes against Tennessee. Exciting stuff!

For those of you who know my financial situation…it’s getting better! Let’s just say I enjoy manual labor way too much, but God has been choosing to bless me in my giftedness as well. It’s always nice to be paid for one of your passions.

Seminary work is piling up. I have an overdue book critique for my Systematic Theology professor and a test in the same class Monday, October 29th. I haven’t even started on the term paper. In my Intro to Philosophy of Religion there are several online quizzes I haven’t completed and another term project I haven’t started. All that to say: this time I’m spending blogging could probably be used more wisely.

And all of that is outside of my teaching and leading responsibilities at church. No worries (one of my favorite phrases if y’all didn’t know), I’ll start my reading and studying for teaching the
Sr. High at Ridgecrest and the College at Colonial before I do schoolwork.

So I always loathe updating anybody on anything after so much time has passed, especially when it is done through the written word. It has been over a month and a lot has happened, some of it too personal to put on here. The main reason for a lack of update is for a lack of a computer. Mine died right as I quit
Brilla at the end of August.

The abbreviated version is this: I will most likely be making a major decision on a job this week. Pray for me…or send me your wisdom if you like. And God has been teaching me and reminding me of some significant areas where I need growth.


While at Brilla I was unable to spend much time on my motorcycle because I constantly had things I had to transport or I couldn’t go into some meeting looking like I had just ridden 20-something miles on a motorcycle.

A few weeks ago that all changed. I hopped on my 2003 Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Classic and as I rode I was transported back to Niger, West Africa, the Andes Mountains of Peru, Baranquilla, Colombia, and Mexico.

Maybe it was the cool air and freedom I felt knowing I was exactly where God wanted me to be, or perhaps it was the smell that only someone with a passion for international missions can understand; the smell of refuse, poverty, of this earth rising to the heavens. It’s not a smell we often experience secluded and isolated within our vehicles, homes, and workplaces. It’s a smell that is more commonly preceded by love and experienced outside of our walls and in community with the world.

In Erik Mirandette’s book,
The Only Road North, he said these words in relation to his pursuit of work overseas that immediately resonated with me: “When problems arose almost immediately, I knew I was on the right track. I was searching for something adventurous, something that had never been done before. It was perfect.”

I see no difference in kingdom work being done here or overseas. In fact, I see the truly difficult work being here in the States. But one thing I have always known is that Erik’s words are my heart…and yet I’m here.


There are some treasured words written on the inside of one of my Bibles. They were written by one of my closest friends, Steven Derry. The Bible was given to me as a gift for being a part of his wedding. I don’t even let people read what he wrote. The Bible is falling apart now, but I keep it with me to challenge me. With a simplicity and clarity that I often lack, he writes that wisdom and discipline are two of the greatest strengths he sees in me. I see where he’s coming from, but I honestly don’t measure up.

You see, discipline and wisdom are just two areas of my life that I believe are being improved and refined as God prepares me for his work and relationships. And the hardest part of this journey with Christ is still yet to come…oh dear, it’s coming!

In a letter, Peter tells his audience that they have been given everything they need for life and outlines a process for them:

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”

“They will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Something I long for! Can you relate??

Well, I have so much more to say and hopefully I will be more consistent in updating. I also hope to open up my other blog very soon, less as a personal update and more as an extension of my teaching times on Wednesdays and my own personal Bible study.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

In Beginning...

*This was the first post I tried to make a couple of weeks ago. Since most of you are just finding out about this I figured it didn’t matter…more updates will come soon.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table…it’s late. People say nothing good happens after midnight…or has it moved to 1 o’clock…who knows. I’m not sleeping tonight. No worries, this is nothing new. I just finished a can of Grapico and in my peripheral I can see a Latrodectus mactans as it is trying to fight its way out of a Jones Soda bottle I used for capturing it last night.

But let me digress. The evening began with critiquing Anna’s med school essay over at Justin and Walter’s, or what little was left to do after her brother’s editing. For our measly efforts, she treated Justin and me to delicious burgers she had picked up from Little Willie’s Meat Market & BBQ.

Walter and I watched Mississippi State play LSU tonight…I mean get beat 45-0. All I can say is Henig and the MSU offensive coordinator have got a lot of adjusting to do…and LSU better get ready for
Alabama. If Bama doesn’t knock them off their #2 pedestal on Oct. 27th, Virginia Tech or one of the SEC teams will.

Anyhow, neither of us watched the second half. Walter left the room and I began prepping the blog for birth. Justin had left and come back by the end of the game and we dueled in Wii Tennis for several matches, and then played one game of Wii Madden.


Today (yesterday technically) I quit my job working with Brilla Soccer Ministries. The final newsletter I send will be today. I still have to write it before I leave my house to make my last official Brilla trek to Clinton down the Natchez Trace.

And this is where you’ve found me…right in the middle of the intersection of life.

There is an obscure verse in Genesis where Abraham acknowledges, “when God had me wander.” I came across this verse as I prepared to teach my college students this past Wednesday evening. I identified with it.

At some point over the last six years I began to realize that I too was on a journey…I was wandering, but not as you and I normally think of it. Like others, I assumed that if God was calling me to ministry that my focus should be on a physical destination and how quickly I could get there. And too often we miss the point.

May I alliterate? This wandering is not pointless and procrastinating. It is a perplexing plan for his people, profound in purpose, a pondering of promise in pursuit of Perfection; a path of pain and pleasure, peace and punishment, power and praise, prison and protection, prayer and purification, prosperity and pruning, poverty and position, persecution and perseverance. See, God told Abraham to “go to the land I will show you.” Clear as mud right? But see, it was clarity enough for him.

IT IS CLEAR ENOUGH! Go back and study closely God’s relationship to His people. From the beginning God intended for them to be packed and ready to follow Him wherever He led until they reached their final destination. Even Christ called the people to
“follow” saying he had “no place to lay his head.” WE ARE NOT THERE YET!

Jim, when I was experiencing God’s call to ministry you gave me a ton of assignments. I only completed one of the many you ever gave, and that was reading
In His Steps. But one time you asked me to identify people of faith whose calling I related with…well Abraham is one, and I just figured out why.


So we’ve come together at this crossroads of sorts. Me, I’m still growing up, a work in progress, trying to figure things out. I’m coming to find that I don’t know much…and that’s ok. This blog is my attempt at communicating my journey with people, helping me to remember how far I’ve come and remain accountable. Hopefully, this exercise will help me to develop as a communicator and share some of the overlooked and unshared parts of life.

I have no idea if I’ll keep the title or change the description a thousand times. This is an odd experience for me. It will not be a diary or online journal, however I will talk about the experiences of my life that happen to involve the people and things that I love and enjoy. Let me know what you think.