Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kansas Report - Days 1-3

So we are back from Kansas, and it was truly an amazing week at Fort Hays State University. God was at work, and we did a lot of work on the campus and with the team in Kansas. There is no way that I can tell you about the week in one post, so I am not even going to try. I will start here and see where I get, but expect more reports from Kansas in the days to come.

We left on Saturday, the 21st of March, at 6:45 in the morning. We had a long 15 hour van drive to Hays, Kansas, but it was a great ride. We bonded in ways that we had not yet been able to. We played all sorts of random games that helped us get to know one another a little bit more, and we laughed pretty much non-stop. But we did have some serious moments, such as watching a movie called, The Gospel Blimp. If you have not seen that movie, I encourage you to do so. It is about a group of people who are very energetic about sharing the Gospel so they do so by putting verses on a blimp and flying it around. But the blimp only causes people to get frustrated, and these people never share the Gospel one on one with their lost friends. The movie shows that those type of tasks are great and helpful, but only if they are coupled with true interaction with the lost. If we neglect to invest in people's lives, we are failing to show them the Gospel. The movie ends with one of the couples coming to that realization when they finally share the Gospel with their lost neighbors.

Once we arrived in Kansas, the Kansas Team (Christian Challenge) was waiting for us at the church. They were very excited to see us, and I knew then that the week was going to be amazing. They helped us unload our luggage and loaded it into their cars. We stayed in 5 different houses of the students and leaders of Christian Challenge, and then we all went over to one of their houses to hang out for the rest of the night. This was our chance to begin to get to know one another.

On Sunday, we went to Agape Southern Baptist Church with many of the students. Landon, one of our team leaders, led the Sunday School lesson that morning. Once again, we were able to get to know more of the team from Kansas. We had lunch at the church and went to another one of their homes for the night. We had an initial meeting about the week, what we would be doing, what Christian Challenge was about, and we had time to pray over the week. We played games the rest of the night and got ready for the week.

Monday began with a team meeting around the breakfast table. We had bought breakfast food for the week on Sunday. So as we ate, we prepared for the day. That morning, we stayed at Carin's house (the leader of Christian Challenge) and helped her out around the house. Some cleaned and some worked in the flower beds, and by midday, we were done. So for the afternoon we went back to Agape to help paint the church. We put on 1 coat of paint in the foyer and hallway and began a 2nd coat. Since we did not have time to finish, a few of us went back on Tuesday. That night, we went back to one of the student's houses to eat with the Kansas Team again. We were able to continue to build those relationships and prepared for the events that were coming for the rest of the week.

I am going to stop there for today. That was our first 3 days of the trip. But so much more happened, and God truly was at work.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Time for Kansas

It is finally Spring Break! That means that is finally time to head to Kansas for GO Fort Hays State. It is 5:37AM right now, and in less than 1 hour, we are going to be meeting up on campus to head out. We have a 12 hour trip ahead of us this morning, and it will be 11 people in a 15 passenger van. Don't you love road trips? It is going to be an awesome day! I gave you a schedule of events on a previous post last week, and as far as I can tell, that is pretty much what we will be doing this week, with a few possible changes once we get there. But generally, that should be our schedule.

Please pray for our team as we meet up with theirs. Pray that we will be able to encourage them as they continue to live out the faith in a state university. Pray that they will encourage us as we see how they live their faith out in a harder environment than what we are used to. But most importantly, pray that God will be glorified in all that is done this week! I know that He has a lot in store for us this week, and it will be exciting to see Him at work. So I will be away from here for a while, but I will be sure to give you a full report when we return.


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Circle is Open

The Ted Dekker website has gone through a complete change this week. For the last several years, his website has consisted of one main section, known as the Circle. This "circle" is actually drawn right out of his books, Black, Red, and White (and later Green). It is a fellowship of "believers" in the novel that celebrate the salvation they had found. This "circle" is a parallel for Christians who celebrate salvation in God. And for several years, this virtual circle on his main website has been a place of fellowship, deep discussions, and a place to discuss current and future works by Ted himself.

But over time, the message boards became a little boring. And although we all probably miss what we once knew, it is exciting to have a new place to talk and discuss. What was supposed to be opened back in late October/early November, opened at noon today. Some last minute glitches pushed the release date back further and further, but today Ted Dekker 2.0 was finally opened. It was well worth the wait.

It is much like the old website, but the design is completely different. There are still places to talk and discuss just like before, but it is more customizable and personal. Also, Ted Dekker is introducing what he calls the Underground where there will be some special, online only, stories that will be released in the future. But for now it is going to be used to release excerpts from his new book Boneman's Daughters, which comes out mid-April.

So if you enjoy Dekker's books, go over and check out the Circle at If you have never read any of his books, go and see who he is and what books you might enjoy in the Library section. Or you can check out some of my previous posts in Book Reviews, where I have reviewed several of his books over the past year. Check out Ted Dekker if you have not already done so!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fill Out Your Bracket

It is March Madness, finally! Thursday is the first day of the tournament, and I will be in front of my TV all afternoon/night. Have you filled out your bracket yet? I have. This time of year is great. Basketball is on TV 4 days out of the week, pretty much non-stop. But what is it that gets us so excited about the tournament? I think part of it is the fact that an underdog has the opportunity to shock the nation by going far in the tournament. We all like to pull for the underdogs, unless it is going to upset our bracket or knock off our favorite team. But there is something special about rooting for the team that should not win. We can connect with those teams, and everyone loves a good "Cinderella Story."

So who is going to win it this year? What is your vote for the winner? My bracket is filled out and ready for the tournament. No changes will be made to my bracket. Leave your thoughts and we will see if anyone chooses the champion. But make sure you place your bets before the tournament begins!

As for NASCAR, this week is Bristol, and I will not get to watch the race. I will be in Kansas, away from a TV probably. But after Bristol comes Martinsville, for which I will be back. These are the 2 shortest tracks on the circuit, and they can cause many drivers to lose their cool during the race. Maybe you do not care for NASCAR. Maybe you think it is stupid and pointless. Well give these 2 short tracks a try. They are normally filled with wrecks and "almost" fights. They may be 2 of the most exciting races of the year. Now only if Jeff can come out of them with a couple of wins.

Don't forget to fill out your bracket... we will see who picks the winner, if anyone decides to comment and place their bet. To start things off I will go ahead and reveal my overall winner. My choice is North Carolina. I did not consult the experts. I went with my gut when filling out the bracket and did not look for statistics or who has the advantage. I just looked at the teams and picked; it is a new strategy for me. So I picked North Carolina to win the tournament.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Crazy Love

Francis Chan challenges the Church today to throw off the "traditions" that we have created and embrace the Church that the New Testament presents in his book Crazy Love. There truly is something wrong with the Church that is not truly in love with God, that goes about following customs and traditions for the sake of following them. What is it that we have lost since the 1st Century Church?

Chan suggests that the problem is that we are not in love with God. We tell people all the time that God means the most to us, but we go about life putting on a good show. Inside we are far away from living a life to devoted to God. We say that we spend time with Him every day, but sometimes we read a verse or a chapter for the sake of checking it off of our check list for the day. Our prayers are just words so that we can feel good about "praying." When we are only focused on completing a check list in order to look good, we are not truly expressing love.

Chan says, "when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything." But the question that I have for myself after reading this book is "Am I truly in love with Christ?" What is it that I am missing in my life? We have to do a real gut check in our life, and this book provides many practical examples to check yourself.

I recommend this book for anyone who wants to rekindle their relationship with Christ. Have you drifted and wonder how you can return to Christ? Are you not where you want to be in your relationship with Him? If you answer yes to these questions, then this book can help guide you back to Him. It uses many clear examples from the lives of believers and is also filled with Scripture to help convict you and guide you. Do not think that you will not be convicted.

I cannot do justice to this book in a short post. But I can say that this book challenges the way we live and challenges the way that we "do" church today. It challenges us to love like crazy, because God truly loves us like crazy. It is a call to return to Him. But the danger is reading this book and treating it like a youth group camp or retreat, forgetting it after reading the last page. This book calls for a change in our lives.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

While I'm Waiting... I'm Not Searching

So yesterday I talked up the new album by John Waller, which as you know I had not heard yet. The main reason for that is because it will not be released until April 7th. But I thought that I could find some clips from the songs that will be on the album (I can normally do that on amazon). But for some reason I was striking out on every option I could think of. It was not on amazon, not on christianbook, not on itunes, and google wasn't helping. But in the midst of searching one last time, I stumbled across what I was looking for.

If you are curious about this new album, as I have been for the past few days, you can go to reunion records website and then go to John Waller's section on that site. From there, you can find information about the new album, including short clips from each song. And from what I heard last night, this is going to be another great album! So I am no longer searching for his songs while I wait for the new album. But don't forget... April 7th.


While I'm Waiting... While I'm Searching

Looking back at my previous posts, I have noticed that I have posted about three different songs by John Waller over the past year. The thing is, John Waller only has one CD out, with only 10 songs. That is 33% of his songs. And they are not the only three songs with a powerful message. But instead of rambling about statistics, let me get to the point. John Waller is currently one of my favorite artists, ranking up there with FFH and Casting Crowns. And his debut album, "The Blessing" is one of my favorite albums on my iTunes, and has been played through the most. But there is a reason for that. The lyrics in these songs are powerful and have such a great message.

So since last April, when I went to the Casting Crowns concert, which had John Waller as an opening act, I have listened to John Waller like crazy. And those songs still have a great impact on my life almost a year later. But I began anticipating more from him, especially when "While I'm Waiting" was featured in the movie Fireproof. The other day I was casually searching for new music online, and I stumbled across a new John Waller song, "Hands of the Healer." Sadly, I still cannot find an audio version of the song, only lyrics.

But that is not the exciting news. The great news is that John Waller's second album will be released in just a few short weeks, April 7th! Where will I be that day? Buying the new album. It is entitled "While I'm Waiting," and while I am not sure if this is the same song that appeared on the first album or not, I am pretty sure that this album will rank right up there with his first. On his myspace page, John Waller talks about the new album and some of the new songs, which I am dying to hear some clips of. But I have searched online for clips of the new songs as well, and I have come up empty.

So while I was searching for new music I stumbled across "While I'm Waiting," the new album by John Waller. If anyone knows where I can hear some audio clips of his new album please let me know. I would love to get a sneak peek to the album.


Friday, March 13, 2009

1 Week Until Kansas

So here I am just a week away from Spring Break, which means that it is just one week until we leave for Hays, Kansas on our GO Trip. And last night we had our next to last team meeting, planning for this trip. So what do I know so far? I was going to wait until closer until the trip to give you some of the details, but I think I will go ahead and fill you in on some of them today instead.

We leave Saturday morning (at some point) from campus and have an 11-12 hour van ride to Hays, Kansas. We are taking a 15-passenger van for the 11 of us, and we have to get all of our luggage and supplies in this van as well. I think it will work.

On Sunday we get settled in and go to church with some of the students that we are going to be working with throughout the week. I am not sure what else we will be doing on Sunday.

Monday will be the start of the week at the university, working alongside the BCM (what they call Christian Challenge). We will be promoting the BCM in various ways throughout the week, such as a Bingo night.

Tuesday night is the BCM's weekly service, and along with a missionary that is coming in that same week, we are going to help out with their service that night. One thing that we are currently working on is a skit to use that night.

Wednesday, or at least I think it is this day, we are going to do some service projects. The BCM meet in the church and in the leader's home. So we are going to help those buildings in some way, basically doing whatever it is that they want done.

Thursday will be a day of prayer walking on the campus of Fort Hays State. We will intentionally be on the campus each day building connections, spreading the Gospel, possibly going to class with these students, and eating lunch with different students that we meet. But on Thursday we will spend a good part of the day on campus in prayer for the university.

Friday will be the last day we have in Kansas, and they are giving us the morning off. So we may venture out to the Fort that is in Hays Kansas, hence the name of the university. It is our free day, and we are going to find some type of tourist activity for the day. But then that night, the BCM is hosting a "Cowboy" theme international meeting for international students. We are helping out with the party, and yes, we are to bring and wear cowboy clothing. We have also been told that there might be a mechanical bull there as well.

Then the second Saturday of the trip will be our trip home. I do not know when we are leaving, or when we will arrive back in Jackson. But the trip will be over, and I might be able to give you an update about the trip at that point.

Now during the trip I will be offline and away from my phone. Technology like that is not allowed on these trips. Our focus needs to be on why we are serving in these places during our break. So we will be away from phone calls and text messages as well as facebook and the blog. But I will give an update as soon as I get back.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TranSouth Champions - Twice!

These past two nights have been great here at the U! First on Monday night, the women's basketball team took to the courts against Trevecca (from the Nashville area). What started as a few close first minutes turned into total dominance by the Lady Bulldogs. We have only been beaten once this season, and that was back in late December/early January. Since then, we have been on a tremendous winning streak, and we are carrying that into the NAIA tournament next week, hopefully to become the '08-'09 NAIA Champions!

Then last night, students filled the gym for the second game of the week. This time the men played for the championship against Freed Hardeman University, a team just a few minutes from campus. They brought their student section to the Fred (our gym) and we had an all out student section battle throughout the game. But was it really a game? Again, it was for the first few minutes, when the scores were fairly close. But about midway through the first half, we stretched the lead out and there was no turning back at that point. The men won the championship, making us champions twice this week! They are headed to the big tournament as well, and if they play like they played last, then they have a good shot at winning it all as well.

Spring Break is right around the corner as well, and everyone knows it. Not only are we all in need of a break, the tests and papers are beginning to pile up for the "mid-term" section of the semester. I got one test out of the way today, but I still have two more along with a paper before I can leave campus next Saturday. It has already been a long semester, but Spring Break will be here soon.

And with Spring Break comes GO Trip for me. Next Saturday, the 21st, I will be heading to Hays, Kansas while we work at Fort Hays State. Plans are being finalized, and we discussed our schedule for the week during our last team meeting. We will probably know more tomorrow night, and I will be sure to post some of the things that we will be doing during the week before I leave for the trip.

That is the latest from the TranSouth Champion Union University.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

California, Vegas, and Atlanta

3 races have been run since I last posted about NASCAR, and these 3 races have pushed Jeff into the points lead for the current 2009 points. At California, Jeff had a solid run throughout the entire race. But with a minor adjustment in the pits and a tenth of a second slower pit stop, he came back out on the track in 2nd and could not pass Matt Kenseth for the win in the end. That second place finish however, put him 2nd in the points at the time.

Then came Vegas, where he had yet another good car. But a pit stop once again altered the finish of the race. In fear of not getting onto pit road slow enough and realizing that cars behind him did not realize he was pitting, Jeff narrowly missed the pit road entrance, which caused him to blow the front left tire when he began to race back around the track. This almost fatal mistake should have cost him not only the win but many positions on the track. However, Jeff salvaged a 6th place finish and took control of the points leaving Vegas.

Just 2 days ago, the drivers headed to Atlanta. And once again, Jeff had another dominant car, although he did not dominate the race. This time it was Kurt Busch that he battled, and he even led part of the race. This puts Jeff as the only driver this season who has led a lap in all 4 of the races. And once again, a mistake in pit road might have cost him the win. A dropped lugnut put Jeff back in the pack on a restart, and although he got back up to the front of the pack, he could not beat Busch in the final turn. So he once again settled for a 2nd place finish.

In 2 weeks, the drivers will head to Bristol and try to tame the world's fastest half mile. Jeff has had many good races in Bristol, including a win in the Fall of 2002 (a race that I attended). So hopefully he will snap his 45 race losing streak and come out with a win in Thunder Valley. Jeff Gordon is back this year, and right now he is definitely a contender for the championship.


Saturday, March 7, 2009


The second novel of my novel class this semester was Frankenstein, and I finished it this morning. Compared to Humphry Clinker, I enjoyed Frankenstein much more. Part of the reason why is because I feel it is much more enjoyable story, but the other reason is that it does not consist of all those letters like Humphry Clinker.
There are many misconceptions about this book, and unless you have read it before, you may have been told some false information. Frankenstein is not the monster. Because of movies and media, most people probably think that Frankenstein is the name of the monster, but that is not true. Frankenstein is the last name of the man that created the monster. The monster is never actually given a name. He is referred to as the demon or a wretch.
And the story does not revolve around the creation of the monster, or even around the actions of the monster. Those are events are present, but they are not the whole story. First off, this story is being told to another man, Walton, by Frankenstein (who recounts his life). And there is only a brief discussion about the creation of the monster. While the monster does kill other characters, more of the story is about Frankenstein and how he deals with the fact that he has created a murderer.
So in America today, we are generally confused about this story. But it does seem to be a classic and a favorite. And even the real story is good. I enjoyed reading through the real story of Frankenstein this past week. And I would definitely encourage anyone who has not actually read the story, written by Mary Shelley, to read it. I think you would enjoy the real story.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Total Commitment - Part 2

Picking up where I left off last week, today I want to look at both the risk and the results of Total Commitment:

The Risk

Here is a question - "What are ways that you see God at work around you each day?" Have you ever felt like God is working and doing things around you, and yet you do not seem to be involved? If so, the problem may be that you have put too much of the focus on yourself. When we our focus is not on God, He cannot uses us. But when He sees that we are committed to Him, He will be able to do big things in our lives.

But there is a risk when considering this type of a lifestyle. By living in this manner, you may soon realize that it is much harder than you expected. We may suffer ridicule, just like Jesus. We may lose friendships or relationships, as Jesus lost followers. There are many things that could happen as a result of living this radical life style. But is it not worth it? Our brothers and sisters across the world suffer each day. But the suffering does not stop them. They continue to proclaim His word. So there is a risk, but in the end, Jesus is there with us through it all, helping us along.

The Results

Here are 5 quick statements, that I feel are some of the results of a life of total commitment:
  1. God calls us to complete surrender.
  2. Find out where God is working and join Him (in the areas in which He has gifted you). (i.e. read Experiencing God)
  3. Get to know God more and more, never being content in your Christian life. There is always room for growth.
  4. Never doubt God's plans; remember God is in control no matter what happens.
  5. Let God use you for His glory.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Union's Snowstorm

We got a lot of snow this weekend at Union, but the sad thing is that I was not here to see it when it first fell. I had gone home for the weekend, and was able to get some good rest thankfully. But in the process I missed the snow on campus Saturday night. Now Jackson is 1 hour south of my home, and there was more snow in Jackson. Sitting at home, I think we guessed that we received about 3 inches. But when I left Sunday afternoon, most of the snow had already melted. Then, when I arrived in Jackson, I noticed that there was at least 3-4 inches of snow still around, even with some of it already melted. Some of my friends told me that they think we got around 6 inches of snow down here.

Well with below freezing temperatures last night, the melted snow that covered the roads refroze, causing some more problems this morning. So classes were delayed for one hour due to the frozen roads. But that is not the major problem we are dealing with today. The worst problem is that many of our sidewalks were never cleared off yesterday, and the ones that were refroze over night. So the walk to our classes this morning has been treacherous. People have been slipping and sliding all morning. A lot has melted over the past hour, but our sidewalks are still pretty slick.

It has been quite an adventure this weekend. Snow is always fun, and campus looked great covered with all that white stuff. But now that the snow has come and is beginning to go, I am ready for Spring. We finally had our one big snow storm for the winter (for West Tennessee anyway) and that means that Spring is hopefully around the corner. I am ready for warmer weather.