Coming Together – March 28th, 2019- 20 years ago I was a freshman at Texas A&M University and a member of the Corps of Cadets. The Corps of Cadets is a student military organization where nearly 40% of cadets will be commissioned in the United States Armed Forces. The other 60% or so would like myself go on to live civilian lives, but many of the values, core beliefs and lessons from that experience would shape our lives forever. One lesson I have learned from that experience is that when we encounter great challenges in life we are often better together than apart. I have never been a fan of running. I know many people who are and when they share with me their fondness of the "hobby" I begin to… Read More
The Questioning Crowd – 2/22/2019- I believe one of the most difficult challenges presented to early followers of Christ was to love their enemies. In Luke 6:27-28 Jesus says, "But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." The most common human response to this is "why?" Why would we want to love our enemies? Why would we bless those who curse us? Why pray for those who abuse us? I don't have many enemies but there have been people in my life that have not treated me with the respect I believe all humans deserve. If I had my wish, all people who disrespect others would receive the justice due to them.… Read More
The Expectant Crowd – 2/15/2019- It was my freshman year and a beautiful fall day on the Texas A&M campus, I was walking to my engineering 101 class when I heard the sound of chaos up ahead. As I approached the Memorial Student Center I noticed a crowd surrounding a table in Rudder Plaza. The university was handing out free "Maroon-out" t-shirts to students and apparently, they were pretty popular. The school had sent out a university-wide email that these items would be available on a first come, first served basis until supplies ran out. There was no line and no order to the mess. People were expecting free shirts and very clearly I could see they were getting upset. Shirts were everywhere and people were slashing through them looking for… Read More
Pressing the Crowd – 2/8/2019- I have to admit something sort of strange about me. I get highly anxious around crowds, but not all crowds. I can very easily attend a Texas A&M football game where over 100,000 people are present, but going to the shopping mall on a busy day completely stresses me out. The frenzy and the crowd is not much different, yet I still can easily do one and stress out over the other. I have tried to rationalize this and the only thing I can figure out my comfort with uncertainty. At the football game, I know where I am going, where I will be sitting (or standing the whole time), and I am very accustomed to the traditions. At the shopping mall, however, there is… Read More
Greater Gifts: Being Needy – 1/27/2019- A few years back I had visited a young man in the hospital who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. It was one of the most challenging moments for me as a pastor, but that was nothing compared to what that young man and his family experienced. The young man shared his story with me and how although his diagnosis caught him by surprise there were signs. For quite some time his body had been giving him signals that something was not right. For a couple of years, he had been having headaches, fatigue, problems sleeping, and nausea. He constantly dismissed the signs as just the stresses of life (job, family, money, etc.) and refused to get help or see a doctor until the final signal… Read More
Greater Gifts: Discovering and Activating Your Spiritual Gifts – 1/18/2019- Somewhere in my mom's collection, there is a photo of five-year-old me in the backyard of my childhood home dressed in nothing but a He-Man shield and sword. Yes, nothing else! I am very sorry but even though the shield and sword cover what needs to be covered in that photo, it will not be shared in this blog post. I do want to share with you my fascination with He-Man as a child. For those that do not know what I am talking about, let me share briefly who He-Man was. In the early '80s, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe was a toy line and comic book series by Mattel that eventually became a Saturday morning cartoon series (I sure do miss Saturday morning… Read More
Greater Gifts: Grace to Us – 1/11/2019- And just like that the Christmas decorations have come down. I love Christmas season and I am always a little bit sad about it being over. Does the joy have to end just because the decorations have come down? What do we have left to remember the about Christmas season as it ends? The gifts! This past Tuesday was the first day back at school for my boys after Christmas break. My oldest son was excited to return to school with his new Pokeball Plus and Harry Potter t-shirt. My youngest son was excited to tell all his friends about his new Kids Kindle Fire tablet and to wear his new Star Wars t-shirt. That is what happens when you receive a gift that you… Read More
The Life of Christmas Present – December 14th, 2018- "Enjoy it while it lasts." This is a statement that has been echoed throughout time to many of us as we are experiencing a new born child, a new career, our youth, or many other wonderful things. It is a statement made to us so that we take a moment to pause and appreciate what we have in the present. Why is it so hard for us to appreciate what we have in the present. Is it that we are stuck in the past or maybe because we are looking forward to the future? In my opinion it is that we are limited by our perspective. In "The Christmas Carol", after being visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by jolly… Read More
The Ghosts of Christmas Past – December 7th, 2018- What is your fondest Christmas memory? Mine took place one Christmas when I was 8 years old. It wasn't because it was the Christmas that I got a NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), but it was that I spent that Christmas Eve and day with my cousins at my grandparent's house. We had just finished watching, Santa Claus: The Movie, and decided that we would try to make our own Christmas movie that year. What I do remember about our Christmas movie was that it was about a young boy that wanted Santa Claus to bring home his military father from overseas. As I recall that Christmas I have several regrets. I regret that we didn't record it or at least take pictures of that night. I… Read More
Bah! Humbug! – November 30th, 2018- Charles Dickens' immortal classic, The Christmas Carol, is a staple of the Christmas season. It is a story that has been told and retold in many different ways from a black and white, silent film in 1908 to a modern day CGI film produced by Disney in 200   9. What is your favorite film adaption of the classic? Mine is and has always been Mickey's A Christmas Carol. It is an adaption I enjoyed watching as a kid and still enjoy to this day watching it with my boys.   No matter what adaption you enjoy the greatest message of the story is the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is an old miser who responds to the joy of the Christmas season with, "Bah! Humbug!" He doesn't… Read More