Monday, November 8, 2010

NEW BLOG ADDRESS!

peoples of america. and beyond. the blog has officially moved here.

or you can just go to www.secondhandimages.tumblr.com

THANKS and I'll see ya over there!

g

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

secret church. future of forestry.

okay people, secret church is tonight and thus, i'm beyond stoked. i'm at the point where i just want to fast-forward 7 hours or so to 6:20 so we can start. there's just something about being quiet and still and focusing on something or Someone else. the students look forward to this more than i do, i think. we have this every 5 weeks or so and it's always such a blessing. it's toned down. raw. simple. and through this, God moves in HUGE ways. right now, we're praying for two countries in particular: saudi arabia and bangladesh. these people MUST know Him. a couple of our students have been consistently teaching the group about these countries and the people that live there. tonight, we all come together to focus on the Father and ask Him to be mighty in their lives.

the talk tonight focuses on the woman in luke 21. her act was applauded by Jesus and contrasted against the men in the temple and their "flowing robes." gal had guts. she had faith. she really, truly believed that Jesus was who He said He was. she believed Him enough to surrender everything. two coins never taught so much. check it out.

oh, and we just booked these guys for december 15 at s'crest! save. the. date. as if i wasn't already bonkers about Christmas...

Future of Forestry Christmas Tour 2010 Promotion from chris loope on Vimeo.


g

Thursday, October 28, 2010

header picture.

some of you have asked what the picture at the top of my blog is all about. some of you have not. i will answer both of you. the shot is of my grandfather's golf cart. it's old. it's been flipped. driven into the ground. mud-ified. all by myself and my family. the old golf cart is one of my favorite memories from being a kid back home. thus, a bit before i left, i took a picture of it. it's good to know where you come from and the kind of legacy you hold. what do i mean by that? well, every time i see that golf cart it reminds me of popie, dad and george. gotta be like them. not to mention liz, mac and robin. we destroyed that thing as a family! good times. great oldies. i just remember mom and sweetie looking out the window most likely thinking, "our kids are all nuts." love that. the picture simply serves as a good reminder because my memory is mucho stinko.

there.

g

Monday, October 25, 2010

bowties & southern belles.

it's been a busy day and its only 1:30pm. car wouldn't start this morning. or yesterday. shout out to markus copeland and the electricians of his company for bailing me out both times. google 'em. copeland electric. ask for trevor. he's in charge. oh, and thanks to hays for getting me at the shop this morning. not having a car can be brutal. i need to be more thankful for the small mercies. like getting to spend time with crazy hays. the kid smiles and laughs more than anybody i've ever met and it's contagious.

i've been telling our high school kiddos and parents to get ready for wed. night.
this week we're covering why Jesus told the crowd to hate their mother and father if they wanted to be His disciple.
my first reaction was to laugh. i guess that's just me. i think i laugh when i hear crazy, serious, but completely far-fetched ideas! this has gotten me in trouble in many a staff meeting, but it's just part of me. i laugh. oops.

He's gotta be kidding. right? is Jesus kidding? joking around?? or is he incredibly serious? and if He's serious, how do i hate my parents? now, i could've answered that last question in a nanosecond around 9th or 10th grade. dad would yell at me from the bottom of the stairs to put on khakis and something that resembled a clean shirt and get to sunday school. i hated sunday school. and thus, i hated the person that made me go.

but, i don't think that's what Jesus is getting at. turns out, dad was right. they talk about Jesus in sunday school and thus, i needed to be there. i later found out who Jesus was and thus, liked sunday school a little bit more after that. parents are usually right. think of the song "hank" by ben rector. perfect illustration. go listen. let me say this, i am blessed to have incredible parents. and i'm not just saying this because they are two of the 3.5 people that read this thing. they are good. my parents have taught me more about Jesus than any sermon or sunday school class ever could.

dad laughs, wears bowties, and is bald. mom has brown hair and is a feisty, southern belle who wears heels to intimidate opponents. (okay, the intimidation part isn't true...but it's FUNNY). dad likes the movie, 2012. it is the absolute worst move of all-time. for serious. brutal. dad made all of us watch it together on the sb trip home last year. four. hours. long. we made fun. mom defended dad's movie choice the whole time. mom loves dad like that. mom always tells the truth. always. even if it hurts. dad is the proud owner of a red-ryder BB gun. mom won't let him shoot it in the house. mom makes her own drapes and changes the furniture around every 3 weeks. mom likes hardwood floors. so does dad. they are brilliant. mom went to tennessee. dad went to vanderbilt. because of this, mom usually wins games and dad usually loses them. mom likes hats. big ones. kentucky derby ones. i firmly believe these hats were used to embarrass me at church as a kid. dad likes lemonade. weird lemonade. mom does not. dad takes photographs. mom takes exception if you eat the last of the raspberry sorbet that's in the freezer. mom prays. dad prays. mom likes convertibles but hated my old wrangler. dad likes green lawn mowers. mom eats fish. dad catches them. mom likes listening to some group called manheim steamroller all Christmas long. dad loves the amy grant christmas cd. who doesn't? mom didn't like "elf" when i first made her watch it. neither did dad. they have since been converted and we watch it all Christmas long. over and over. mom likes shopping in downtown franklin. dad goes with mom for moral support. mom likes puckett's. dad loves puckett's. dad asked. mom said yes. oh, and i'm pretty sure dad was a hippie. he did have a mustache.

my parents are legit. and thus, i'm finding it so incredibly difficult to hate them. and this whole "hate" talk comes from the guy who says we must "love our enemies" and even "pray for them." some would say that this is a "bible contradiction." the fact is, it isn't. Jesus is employing hyperbole here. i pulled up the little dictionary on my mac here (because macs are cool like that) and hyperbole is simply an exaggeration or a use of magnification. WHATTT????!?!

here's the point. Jesus is telling us to LOVE Him in such an way that our closest relationships on earth look like hate in comparison.

first thought: that is one INCREDIBLE love.

love for Him is magnified. 'till all others look like hate.

wow.

take a minute and sit back in your chair. think about that. really. sit and think. it's a love i don't fully know yet. why? because i truly love my parents and i have trouble comprehending loving Jesus in a way that would make my love for my parents seem hateful.

but, i must find that love, because i truly want to be His disciple.

i'm working my way through that thought this hour. and the next. and for a long time. i pray this moves in your heart, too. please be praying i communicate this effectively to a room full of high school kiddos on wed. night. they must know this if they want to truly follow Jesus and not just go to sunday school.

thanks for listening.

g

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

preppy kids. old war buddies. rich young ruler.

okay. long time, no blog. my bad. forgive? THANKS.

the last couple days have been so interesting. simply, it's just conversations i've had that i didn't plan on having. God moments for sure. like this morning, for instance. i walked into sugar brown's and there sat the man, the myth, the legend, the dusty thompson. if you don't know him, DT loves all things prep. like nice socks and sweaters matched with the perfect scarf. he was on the rowing team at princeton and daily plays chess on the south lawn while drinking tea. herbal tea. with a crumpet. buttered, but not over-buttered. okay, that last part may be a tad inaccurate. anywhose, somehow he was in-between meetings and we got to catch up on all things life. from the power of the Gospel and ways to preach it and live it better, to preppy kids from the south, to the beauty that is the rangers beating the yanks last night. he doesn't know it, but things that he said in that 15 minute, between meetings convo, was exactly what i needed. so encouraging. don't tell him but i'm writing stuff he said down so i don't forget. i realize now that God planned this morning out. i mean, i know He does that, but this morning made me keenly aware of the truth. He's sovereign like that. even in the small stuff. bb talks about that a lot. "see God in the small things, garrett" he'll say. well, he's right. FINALLY. 'BOUT TIME!

(insert smooth transition here)

well, this week, we're taking what Jesus says to the rich young ruler in mark 10. in reality, Jesus is by far the most beautiful One over all the earth. He is to be our most prized possession. prized over our earthly money. our earthly drive for popularity. our fame. our glory. He is to pursued over all of that junk.

Jesus wasn't being rude to the young rich guy. in fact, Scripture tells us He looked at him and LOVED him. He loved the rich guy enough to tell him the hard things. that's what people who love us do. they speak truth into us whether it feels good at first or not. "hey...umm...in order to follow me, you have to give up your wealth."

just like last week, it comes back to whether I love and yearn for things of this earth or things of Heaven.

i struggle. but, these tough sayings are re-shaping my heart. i think they're re-shaping our high schoolers, too.

in a biblical tragedy, the rich young man walks away from the Savior of the world. just walks away. sad. i've got to learn from this. i'm so scared of making the same mistake. i fear i make that same mistake, day in and day out. i'm sick of it. the heart focused on Jesus wants more...the heart focused on Jesus is completely unsatisfied by the things of the world. but, completely filled by Him.

will i risk everything for Him? give up all my stuff for him? is that was Jesus is asking? what does that mean for a high school kid? do they have to give up their stuff for Him? is what Jesus tells the rich young guy for everyone? anyone? you? me?

how do we know? well, God speaks to us. just like in Scripture.

you might remember my blog last week on old war buddies. if you don't, scroll down and then come back and read this. well, God apparently knew all about that talk, too. check. this. out. there's this older guy i met last week. my best guess is that he's really close to being 90. just a guess. he reminds me of my popie in nashville. that's where my guess comes from. we talked about fishing. DUH. after that, we wrapped up the quick chat (because we're guys and quick chats are what we do best) and i walked away. as i was walking away, i couldn't help thinking about how the older gent hurt his leg. i didn't want to ask him how he hurt it because i didn't want to be awkward. i heard he was in the first world war and i've also heard that many who've experienced this have a tough time talking about it.

i went back and asked.

he started sharing his story. he was in snowy, germany during the war. he was just a boy with a gun. he said it was a cold that i haven't known. he went on to say he was walking through a field and stepped on 3 mines. wow. then He said something that i am still wrapping my brain around. he talked about how he was alone. after the blast, nobody in his squad was near him. he was in a hole. the enemy all around. not a friend in sight. his leg was in bad, bad shape. true story. then he said, "God came to me." i was like, "what?" again, he said, "God came to me." he talked about how God just showed up in that hole. wasn't an audible voice, but in the way that only our God can, told him that he knew he felt alone out here in a foreign land with no friends around. God told him that He was with him and that He would give him strength to make it through. "after that, i wasn't scared at all," he said. so what did he do? he climbed out of the hole and drug himself half a mile through the german winter until he found his commander. "i knew He was with me...He told me in that hole that we was."

HE SPEAKS. thus, we can know and understand His will for our lives. the Spirit can help us understand the Scripture and how to apply it to our lives. and that includes what Jesus told the rich young ruler.

truly, God is someone worth risking everything for. when we get close enough, we learn he is so worthy of our trust. more than anyone else.

we're going through all these questions tonight at 6:20pm. see you kiddos and parents there.

g

ps. secret song for today is mat kearney's first cd. the best. nothing left to lose. if you don't have it...go get it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TONIGHT.

jack just came in the office and the whole thought finally came together. thanks jack.

it all makes sense. luke 9:57-62 that is. stellar.

if you think about it, it makes sense. if this book (the Bible) is really true, there is an INCREDIBLE sense of urgency. it's true that people who die without knowing God spend eternity apart from Him. and because of this truth it makes loads of sense that knowing Jesus and letting others know Him is light years more important that where i'm sleeping tomorrow. or who might conduct my dad's funeral. or saying goodbye to the fam one last time. people MUST know. the message is URGENT. i have become lax.

it's that important to the Father. you are that important to the Father. honestly, now it seems like a no-brainer.

it starts like this...He wants to know US that badly.

-forget a roof over your head, I must dwell within garrett, forever.
-have someone else do the funeral, I've got to change garrett's life.
-don't say goodbye, i've gotta let garrett know I'm his Savior.
(put your name in place of mine now)

completely humbling to understand this now. He pursues us like that. what love. and once we accept that love,
He uses us to join the beauty of the process...

-forget a roof over your head garrett, I must dwell within every heart of that tribe in africa, forever.
-have someone else do the funeral garrett, I've got to change your neighborhood.
-don't say goodbye garrett, i've gotta let your greatest enemy know I'm his Savior.

He wanted to know YOU so badly that He would tell a man to become homeless. tell another man to let someone else bury his own dad. and yet another man to leave without saying goodbye. it was urgent. He's after something. you. and everyone you know.

it's just crazy to me that He said all that knowing that I would come to know Him, someday. even at that point, He knew my name. knew yours, too.

Jesus is forceful here because He knows more than any of us, how important we all are to the Father. He is jealous. "in a good way!"

thanks jack.

g

ps. secret song(s) is rachel ruth's record. all of it. on itunes. SO GOOD.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sunrise. apple pie. old war buddies.

this morning is almost chilly. longsleeve t-shirt weather. perfect. the sunrise is stinking BONKERS.

last night was student visitation. simply put, we pack up in cars and take some grub to HS and MS kiddos who have come to see us. it's the least we can do. just so you know, these visits usually last around 10 minutes per visit. there's no time limit. there's not a said time that we're told to be there. just saying it's usually around 10 minutes because we visit around 6 or so which is dinner time and we don't want to bother anybody. last night was different. i was with jeff, tiff, and hays. we had no idea what we were in for. the first house was full of life and kiddos. the family couldn't have been sweeter. we spent close to 15 awesome minutes with them and walked away with big smiles on our faces. i was so encouraged by them and look forward to seeing them again. we got in the car and headed out to the next family. as we were about to pull onto their street, we saw familiar faces that had just been to see them and had just brought them a pie. well, we had a pie for them, too. so we brought 'em another one. knocked on the door and for the next hour and half walked through the Gospel. we didn't teach. they cut up the pie that was meant for them and fed it to us. even added whip cream and limeades to drink. the man began to teach us about all things that surround his job in the city and seamlessly walked into the Gospel. he taught us last night. walked through the book of Exodus. chapter 24 to be exact.

my favorite thing john mayer has ever said is that his bass player, pino palladino, knows music like they were old war buddies. great line. incredible comparison. i've never been in war, but i get the picture. this man seemed to know Jesus like they were old war buddies. trusted Him. knew Him. really, really believed He was who He said He was. gosh, i want that.

we all got in the car and just smiled. the whole night was such an incredible experience.

(insert complete randomness here)
on the way home, we decided that warm vanilla sugar was the best smell in the history of the modern world and since tiffany was with us, we decided to end the night at a shop that had the warm vanilla sugar smell. well, they were closed and so we went next door to a clothing store and they had seersucker pants for 12 bucks. yes, 12 bucks. SALE. i have never felt more southern. for maximum effect, i have decided to drink sweet tea out of a mason jar every time i wear them.
(end of awesome randomness)

fast forward to now. i'm completely humbled and stuck. tomorrow night's talk is through luke 9. luke 9:57-62 to be exact. READ IT. then you'll understand where i am. it's tough. that's exactly why we are studying it. studying Him. i want to know Jesus. i want to love Him and follow ALL the things He says. i want the whole "old war buddies" thing. this text is difficult. difficult to live and i'm finding even more difficult to preach. why? because if i'm not living it then i don't deserve to preach it. my life must be better off stage than on stage.

three men approach Jesus. seemingly, completely willing to follow Him. and Jesus tells them three things that you won't find in any church growth manual. in fact, to me, it seems the Son of God does His absolute best to tell them to walk away. david platt says that the disciple's jaws had to drop every time Jesus told the crowds these things. not exactly a ministry builder. or, is it? (note: it's not about the number of people we have in our churches, but the kind of people we're producing."-platt) HE'S RIGHT.

three different situations. seemingly the same thought throughout. Jesus proclaiming Himself as the absolute most important responsibility they could ever have. for Him, we should risk it all. He tells the first man that He is the Son of Man and even He is homeless. thus, that dude will more than likely be homeless. He tells the second man to forget about burying His dad, telling him the most important thing is the kingdom of God...let somebody else do it...there are more important things. and finally, the third man wants to say goodbye to the fam before he goes off and Jesus says you can't look back. what does all this mean? what does it mean to be a follower of this Jesus? it means a lot of things. it means placing the Son of God at the top of my "satisfaction quotient." i mean really placing Him there. no matter what. no matter the situation. no matter the call.

what would i do if i were one of those three guys?

this is what i'm walking through. there is a STRONG sense of urgency. and that's an understatement. when it comes to souls and their eternal home, going to the hard places and preaching salvation is more important than any house. any roof over my head. any funeral. more important than seeing my family one last time. that's the truth He wants me to know. i don't have it all together yet, but there is a stirring in me to know this Jesus. to TRULY follow. TO HAVE HIS HEARTBEAT. to walk through this text. to struggle through it. this is not a passage i can sprint through. this one's felt like mud for the last couple days. it's been a struggle to even put one foot in front of the other. but i know it's good. i know He's good. it's stretching me. it's tough. brutal. but He is King and i want to know Him so much more than i do right now. like old war buddies.

g



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(from husky's blog. photo from sidelinepros)

Monday, October 11, 2010

more stuff from last week.

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getting started.

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completely joyed.

g

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

eat my flesh? drink my blood?

He doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t misspeak. His words are calculated. weighed. perfect. He means exactly what He says.

“I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” – Jesus Christ

WHAT?!

tonight is the first night of taking on some of the truly hard things Jesus said. i figured this would be as good a place to start as any. if you take this verse without the context and at face value, the Son of God can come off as some crazy leader who belongs in some of the ever popular movies that are out these days. just so we’re clear: the Son of God is not a vampire. i’m not hating on those movies, guys. just making it known that you won’t find Him in the twilight series. we’ll get to why He mentions drinking His blood in a few. remember, He’s calculated. perfect. doesn’t make mistakes. this is not a statement that somehow got through the “perfect” filter that He now wishes He could have back. he doesn’t do that. He’s better than me.

He meant it.

why?

because eating His flesh and drinking His blood was the absolute best way to put it to a group of people that had to hear it just that way or they may not get it. well, they got it. many may not have liked it at the time, but they got it.

check it out. john 6:53. just earlier (52 verses to be exact) Jesus had just fed the jewish crowd with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. 5K filled with bread that won’t last. i bet the little tots with high metabolism were hungry an hour later. that meal didn’t last. they needed more. thus, like we probably would, they kept following Him. not because they saw the miracle and realized He was the Son of God, but more likely because they got hungry again and free food is LEGIT. ask any college student. but, Christ was out to show them that He could fill them spiritually as well, which was so much more important to Him. thus, he mentions himself as the Bread of Life. and as for the blood? i think there’s several reasons Christ goes here. one, He’s clueing them in on the fact that soon, He will spill His blood for them. reminds me of when david writes psalm 34. “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

but is it deeper than that?

YES. after Jesus tells the crowd at the synagogue in Capernaum not to “work for the food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life”(6:27) the crowd asks for the sign. you see, they’re going back to the bread of their forefathers. exact same attitude as their descendants. seriously, read exodus. remember the manna that God made fall from heaven to quench the hunger of His people during the leadership of Moses? the Jews at this time believed that this same miracle would manifest again in this time. Jesus then tells them that He is the true bread from heaven and how “he who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never go thirsty.” (6:35) they're looking for one kind of bread. Jesus is offering them and you and me another. one that satisfies. quenches.

it goes ever deeper. did i mention it was during the second passover festival that Jesus says all this? it's one of the biggest events of the year. He knows the crowd. knows the time. and thus, He knows exactly what to say. to attempt to understand this completely, you and I must know why the Passover is celebrated by the Jews in the first place. the Passover celebrates when the LORD freed the Hebrews from the hands of Pharaoh. this is found in the book of Exodus during Moses’ leadership and right before the manna fell. remember the plagues and the staff of moses and all that jazz??? the gang finally got free, right? well, during that time, it was said that the Hebrews left so fast that the bread they were cooking didn’t have time to rise. it stayed flat. it got them through the exodus. thus, the primary symbol of the Passover holiday is the bread. the bread is the staple. the centerpiece. the jewish custom is to actually eat an incredibly important meal that commemorates the passover. it's called the seder meal. reminds them of the freedom God gave them in escaping the Egyptians. the primary food of the meal is the bread. the first part of the meal is the drinking of the wine.

Jesus is brilliant. knows this. gets this. then offers himself as the primary person in the history of the world in the exact way the Jews will understand. He is the staple. their bread won't last. neither will the wine. but He will. He is proclaiming Himself as the Messiah. the Centerpiece.

eat of Him. drink of Him.

they may not like it. many of the Jesus’ own disciples didn’t. but they got it.

right before chapter 7 starts, Scripture says that many of the disciples deserted Jesus. walked away. i love how david platt says it's tough to build a huge following when the Leader keeps telling people to eat Him and drink His blood. but, it's the right way to build true disciples.

and then check this out. during the initial Passover, what was placed over the doorframes to protect God’s people from the 10 plagues?

the blood of a lamb.

so, so incredible.

in that day, if you’ve got the lamb, you’re protected. you’re covered by it’s blood.
Jesus inserts Himself as the Lamb of God. the Bread of Life. that is why we're told to eat His flesh and drink His blood. only through His body are we satisfied. only by His blood are we covered.

it’s a tough saying. but, it’s the right one.

for them and for us.

g


ps. that's why we have the Lord's Supper now. it reminds us of the blood and body of Christ. given for us. it reminds us to give ourselves back to Him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

pen pals.



can't begin to tell you how cool this is. just wait 'til a room full of high schoolers write this little guy back!

g

chooseday morning. drop off. walking.

i've been told to blog more. so here i am. just dropped the tman off at trinity. there. you. go. we waited in line as actual parents dropped off their kids. pretty funny stuff. moms waved goodbye. dads waved goodbye. so, in order to "look cool" and "fit in" i yelled "BYE SON!" as he grabbed his basketball gear and closed the door. he smiled. i chuckled out loud. we're cool like that, i guess. well, he is. he gets it from his parents.

david platt is kicking my tailgate right now. never met the man, but he puts me in my place and i'm so grateful. he's not a punk about it. he's actually cool about it. but, sometimes, i take my earbuds out in anger. seriously. not at him. but at my own selfishness. my own sinfulness. he says stuff like, "would you rather be comforted in your sin or confronted by it." God is using david in my life. he's in my ear right now. it's an older talk he's got about possessions and the "prosperity gospel." gosh he's right. i've got blind spots.

blind spots are faults i have that i don't see until God uses someone to point it out. or the Holy Spirit. He uses both. i'm learning this is a good thing.

it's always good to have someone shoot straight with you. (hahahaha platt just made me laugh out loud. in a public place. people are looking at me. haha oops...i'll tell you what he said later) but honesty is best. may hurt at first. but that hurt can become a good in our lives. i've gotta have people like this in my life. and not just in a podcast. you guys make me better. you may not even know it. thanks.

people know that my thing is soft heart=full heart and i'm getting more questions on where i am. daily. moment by moment.

so, honestly, at this moment my heart feels soft. at least i think it does. is that proud? i'm not trying to be. but, i do know it can get MUCH softer. i'm also not dumb enough to think it can't harden at the slightest thing. i have a tendency to do that. i'm also smart enough to know that there are plenty more blind spots i don't see yet.

i just want to be in Him. walking with Him. Scripture says for in Him, we live, move, and have our being. i like that.

wanting that today.

g

ps...thanks to all of you who expressed care and concern for my shattered phone. apple replaced it for free. but added a $215 shipping charge. interesting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

secret song. part dos.

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tonight. sunday. next wednesday.

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today is wednesday. not gonna lie, pretty excited about that. had christmas in a cup this morning and now i'm running on a powerade slush and a couple hamburgers. no red bull today. sorry brower. yeah, mom and dad, i'm eating pretty healthy today. needless to say, i'm ready to blog. i have a jacket on. this is GREAT news. it's rainy and a tad cool in the LBK today. this is so HUGE. so needed. the routine has been broken. i love the rain and the way it makes the air smell. so good. ben rector is in the background singing "i'm ready for change." yes, today is a good day. and it's barely started.

we've got some really great things happening over the next week. we've got 6:20 TONIGHT and it's been blowing up. i'm smiling so big right now. gotta keep praying. and praying. and praying. it's ALL Him. God is really molding the hearts of our kiddos and they're really getting it. our visitors are getting it. visitors are bring visitors to God. goosebumps. sunday, is the annual red and black day and i'm cool with that. dad, i vouched for black and gold day, but turns out vandy isn't on the radar out here. but tech's cool and i'm pumped. baron is coming to speak on sunday morning to our student ministry as a whole. turns out people like him a little bit and i've found that he's a pretty good dude who really believes that Jesus is who He says He is. he's not a great ping pong player yet, but that will come. picture rafa nadal...that's me. picture john mcenroe...that's him. feisty lil guy. but really, i can't wait to watch the Lord breathe life into us through him. and then there's a flag football tourney and more food than you can shake a stick at (what does that even mean?) afterwords. seriously, anybody got a idea where that line comes from?

(enter smooth transition here)

and then, next wednesday night at 6:20 we're diving into the "tough" sayings of Jesus. what did He say? why'd He say it? is He being serious? what does that mean for us? how do we change because of it? i'm pumped. i'm ready to dig into it and find the answers and help kiddos walk through what His statements mean in their life as HS students. and secret church was a blessing last week. thanks to jack for coming out and being so willing to share how Jesus is working in his part of the world. i think we've gotten more feedback from secret church that any other thing we've ever done. God is moving.

some of you parents are wishing by now that i'd hurry up and explain what the talk is on tonight. well, here you go! tonight, we're tackling what biblical leadership looks like and how we all get there. get this...the more and more i study the great leaders of the Bible, the more i realize they weren't great. let me explain. they weren't great. the God who moved through them WAS. look at moses. stuttering old shepherd. look at joshua. barely a man. rahab. simply believed. gideon. same story as joshua. habakkuk. only hope was God. john the baptist. he was the messenger. not the messiah. paul. he ran out of energy. called on God for His. you get the picture. but one must take a look at what made these people LEAD the way they did. here's my belief...

SOFT HEART = FULL HEART.

every one of the hearts of these people had to be softened enough to allow God to move through them. they had to wage the inner war within themselves of whose glory really matters. every great biblical leader fought the battle. God became the most beautiful thing they'd ever seen. they HAD to be around Him. seriously. survey the leaders above. and then take a gander at your heart. i've gotta take a look at mine. solid leaders MUST have soft hearts to the glory of God. and when our hearts are soft, we can be filled by a God who waits to fill us at every moment of the day. God cannot use a hard heart. a hard heart produces a prideful spirit. and that gives birth to sin because we think the power is in us alone, when the whole time, it's been Him. look at Jesus. when all the disciples were arguing about who was cooler in the temple and asked Jesus who the "greatest" was, Jesus does something that i need to preach to myself over and over.

He calls a little kid over. a snot-nosed kid.

He tells them you gotta be like this little tot right here.

just fyi, i'm no kid expert. i measure kid ages by if they're taller than a coffee able or not. it's brutal. you guys who know me know that. but, i do know that a kid knows his father. knows his mother. has to be near. doesn't waver. doesn't ask serious questions of how all this stuff works. doesn't worry. kids can be so caught up in loving ma and pa, that nothing else matters. worry isn't even on the radar. He wants the same with you and me. i don't think toddlers are worried about their popularity. or social status. they just want mom and dad. can't do anything without them. in this case Jesus is showing them and us that He's our Father and that He's enough. to rest in His arms. to reject our unending quest for status and popularity. search Him. find identity in Him. when our hearts do that, they soften. and when we meet with Him, they grow even softer. and without even realizing it, you're at peace. you are full. no popularity contest will ever grant that. no bf or gf. no magazine. no amount of money. no new set of clothes. no accolade man can give. but, somehow, simply and beautifully, Jesus does that.

i believe every leader God used in Scripture went through this. God softened them. it sounds funny, but God softening us can often be pretty painful. we must let go. THAT'S HARD. it's a journey. but leaders walk it. they just jump in. like a 15 ft. high dive into the sovereign beauty of a Father that has chased you from the very beginning. it's not of us to be great leaders like we see all over Scripture, but it's Him working IN and THROUGH us. soft heart equals full heart. that's how our students become leaders.

by looking like toddlers.

kind cool, huh?

g


ps. secret song is halo from beyonce. BOO-YAH.

ps C. the first ps is false. but FUNNY. it's actually here...perfect with the rain out and i'm a liker of the grainy video style. it's andrew ripp. his album came out yesterday. dave barnes produced. ben rector and steve moakler are the other guys in the video. if this song is any indication of the whole record...well...then it will be purty purty good. how's that analysis for ya? i know, i know...you're welcome! LOVE THIS SONG. GOD. IS. GOOD.



ps FOUR. thinking of testing THIS.
thoughts???

Saturday, September 18, 2010

believe.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

secret church & legend following.

it’s 7:53am. lubbock is b-e-a-utiful this morning. i almost didn’t recognize her. the sunrise was so stinkin’ good. the LBK has cornered the market on the whole sunrise, sunset game. it’s God being all creative and such and i fear i’ve missed too many. but, all i’ve got is today and today was worth it. it reminds me of who’s in control and the beauty that He possesses. oh, and when i got to sugar brown’s our HS girls bible study was meeting. at 7am. YES. so, so, so GOOD. makes my morning, every wed. morning, when i see that happening. so stoked to have our HS gals and our interns who breath life into them! may they be light and hope in all their different hallways and classes today.

tonight is secret church. PUMPED. we’ve adopted what david platt has started at brookhills and put a student spin on it. thanks david. (like he reads this thing). anywhose, we take battery powered coleman lanterns and place four or five of them throughout the HS room. no other modern electricity. the AC gets a break. the chairs are put up. the mac stays off. no soundboard. no screens with words. it’ll be our first one of the year, which is awesome. and funny. why? because it’s so fun to watch the faces of all the freshmen who haven’t experienced one yet. we make them take their shoes off. truth is, when you go into a family's home in parts of the world, you've probably been walking through some "tough stuff." and who wants "tough stuff" in their house? not this guy. so, you take your shoes off out of respect. and because it would make our mothers smile and tell other mothers how good we kids are. nights like this have become a favorite. we model it after the way so many of our brothers and sisters have to worship around the world. in secret. underground. hiding. in fear. we sit on the floor as a big ‘ole family and pray for our bigger family. we simply ask God to move powerfully through their situation. God's mission through them becomes our focus. they’re our brothers and sisters…we’ve got the same Father. for the last three weeks, china and mongolia have been our focus. the facts state that their are more than 186 million folks in china alone who don’t know Jesus as savior. 186 MILLION. however, prayer IS changing china. growth there since 1977 is "unparalleled in ALL of history." dirks has come up big in leading our missions moments. he’s becoming a pro. such a sweet thing to have students teaching students about God’s activity around the world.

the talk tonight is simple. it’s short compared with other nights. maybe 10 minutes or so. why? there's lots to do. the Scripture for the last three wed. nights has focused on how God moved in and through moses and how He does the same for us. tonight, moses gets to see the promised land. but that’s as far as our boy gets to go. God foreknew it would now be joshua’s turn. joshua? joshua. you know…the kid who was in the tent of meeting with moses? YEAH, THAT KID! he heard all the conversations God had with moses. why? God was preparing him. he got the chance to listen to the heart of God day after day after day. think about it. pretty crazy. (truth - you and i have the same chance. every. single. day). it was now his turn. joshua may not have known it, but the Father sure did. God asks joshua to step up. will he? won’t he? will we? won’t we?

the words of the Lord to joshua at the beginning of the book named after him are so rich. so applicable. taste and see. i almost want to make it required reading for everyone i know for every single morning. imagine following a legend. imagine following the greatest leader in the history of a people group...

put yourself in joshua's shoes.

look at college sports. (i know…i’m sorry). when legendary coaches leave, it seems impossible for the new guy. think bobby bowden. bob knight. and whoever gets to follow jo pa or coach k at duke. that's four HUGE fan bases. four HUGE "people groups." florida state. indiana/texas tech. penn state. duke. new guy's under a microscope. haters show up in mass quantities. “does this young guy have what it takes?” “can he recruit?” “can he win ten games and send us to a bowl game so we can talk trash to our friends?” "can they win over the crazy fan base?" -think israel here.

in a way, the Lord simply says to joshua, “i’ve got you.” God’s not worried about him following the legend. never has been. why? because it’s NEVER been about moses. it’s always been about Him. it’s God’s power that generates success. it’s God’s Word that will flow from joshua’s lips. it's ALL God. all the time. God simply needs joshua to be willing. trust the Provider. it’s never really about the person. it’s ALWAYS about the Provider.

God’s got you. whether your following a legend or not.

g

ps...word on the street is that jack is coming to secret church to share some wisdom tonight. CAN'T WAIT.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

6:20. sunburns. tryouts. glory.

okay okay. IT'S WEDNESDAY! that's pretty exciting for a couple reasons. (1) wed. night worship is TONIGHT at 6:20 and i couldn't be more excited. add 7 exclamation points to the last sentence and that's about where i am. it's truly a blessing to hang out with and teach students the Gospel. i pray i do that well today. we've moved the time back 20 minutes because so many kiddos are getting out of practice later these days...that means we need a new logo, too. let the creativity flow. (2) today is a little chilly. and overcast. that's a day-maker right there. it actually feels like fall and not like my skin is about to melt off like at the game on saturday. bonkers i tell ya. sunburn galore. and (3) is simply that vandy plays lsu on saturday night and we are one day closer to redemption. espnu at 6:30, y'all. believe.

TONIGHT, we're going through perhaps one of my favorite stories in all of Scripture. like the last three weeks haven't been blowing my whole world up, we're now at the point where moses' face shines gloriously (LITERALLY...i'm serious) because he's been with the LORD. exodus 34:29-35. pretty incredible stuff. he didn't even know it at first. just kinda walked down the mountain and everybody just kinda stared. part of me thinks that he might have first asked them, "dude, do i have a booger hanging out or what?" his own friends and family were afraid. "dude looks weird." oh, and i almost forgot to mention that before he came down from the mountain, he spent 40 days with the LORD...without food or drink. and it WAS enough. repeat, He WAS enough. the LORD sustained him. i don't believe that's merely a symbol, either. i believe it actually happened. He was enough.

after everybody quit freaking out about our boy's face, moses spoke God's truth to them. interestingly enough, moses put a veil (i always picture a white wedding one...weird) over his face? WHY? it's a good question. it kept happening. whenever moses went to speak with the LORD, his face would shine. radiant. glorious. he would then speak with the people and again, the veil would go over his face. CRAZY. it seems like the glory would fade...it wouldn't last. why?

it wasn't intended to.

i remember the scariest moment of my life. at that point it was at least. i felt God was calling me to preach for a camp called crosspoint which is the little brother camp to fuge and mfuge and all the other lifeway camps. it's a sports camp. I LOVE IT. it's aimed at middle schoolers and after teaching tennis all over the country my first year, i just felt the Lord was calling me to speak. i didn't believe it was Him at first because i hated public speaking. got a "D" in my freshman speech class at samford. sweated through two shirts. BRUTAL. but, i really felt called to do this. so, i did. there were tryouts. tryouts? tryouts. "how do preaching tryouts work?" you ask. LIKE THIS...you enter an incredibly large sanctuary with a talk that you've prepared. you shake hands with a guy you've never met, but heard all about and then you walk on stage and deliver the goods. man you've just met is the only soul in the room. and he sits in the back with a laptop. the very back. last row back. and you preach to an entire room of empty chairs. he told me to pretend like the room is full. nice.

i tried. don't remember much of what i said. i just remember that the radiant face of moses was what i talked about. i don't remember any "amens" or "that's good" or "yeah boys" from the back row. when i finished, i think i just said, "that's what i got." i said that because it felt weird to pray at the end of that message, ya know?? but, i really thought it would've been pretty hilarious to pray over all the people in the room. maybe he thought i'd be extra holy if i did that. i digress.

we had a meeting in the back row. i never thought i'd see a red pen run out of ink after one use. NOT KIDDING. i sat there sweating. when i'm nervous i sweat. sorry. he told me he liked what i had to say and said some nice things. but, then he let me know i forgot the ENTIRE rest of the story. he wasn't rude. he was like an older brother. like an older brother that's about to tell you that you have just BOMBED your interview. he simply said that there's another part to the story. he talked for forever about the fading glory and the glory that doesn't fade in 2 corinthians. when i shared only one part of the story, he pulled the whole thing together. and while i was thankful he did that, i went home crushed. i shared a story when i didn't even know the ending! i was at belmont at the time, but i drove back to the 'rents house to tell them the news. bummer. but, here's the cool thing...i learned the end of the story...

in that moment with the preaching guy, i needed to be teachable. humble. listening. not speaking. inside is was so down from messing the whole thing up, but what he was telling me was REVOLUTIONARY. the veil and the fading glory of moses' face symbolized the old covenant that God made between Himself and Israel. more importantly (in my opinion), it gave a glimpse of a coming Messiah. it's another foreshadowing of CHRIST...of a NEW covenant that would last forever! and that is available now. to you and to me. pretty cool stuff. how do i know?

2 corinthians 3:7-18. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. it's so beautiful to me how the entire Word of the Lord weaves itself together. crazy crazy good. read it for yourself - "if the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! for what was glorious has no glory now in comparison to the surpassing glory. and if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!" we don't need a veil. the new covenant that has come through Christ last forever. it is ever glorious and ever making us glorious through Him. we can shine. we can be radiant. the key to us having that is spending time with the LORD. i'm not saying that my face will be burning after i meet with the Lord and people will stare because i'm some kind of weirdo. what i am saying is that the new covenant has the power to change my oft hard heart to the point where i'm truly focused on Him and truly joyed with His presence in my life to the point where His glory is on my lips. it becomes Him instead of me. He fills me. He satisfies. He is all.

oh, and crazy thing is that God works despite our presentation. one of my favorite things about preaching. i got that job. He used it to radically change my life. have faith and cling to what He says. trust it. trust Him.

g

ps. secret song for wednesday?? okay, i'll give it to you. none but jesus. it's a hillsong tune. brooke fraser sings it. it's on repeat right now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

go time...almost.



YOU GOTTA SEE THIS! (continuation of yesterday's blog)

i had totally missed this. CHECK IT. okay, at the end of chapter 33, there's the part where God hides moses in a rock to protect him from being consumed by His glory, right? what if i told you that specific rock is called the Rock at Horeb where God made water spring forth in exodus 17? keep following me. that rock is a foreshadowing of CHRIST. how? read 1 corinthians 10:3-4. Paul is talking about the Israelites in Exodus and says, "they all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." when he (we) deserved the see the full glory and wrath of God which would have consumed us, He placed moses on the rock. the foreshadowing of Christ's New Testament arrival is found all through the Old Testament. we're actually hitting one of those moments in a couple weeks. just didn't know there was one tonight until now. LOVE. THAT. matthew henry says, "It is in the clefts of this rock that we are secured from the wrath of God, which otherwise would consume us; God himself will protect those that are thus hid. And it is only through Christ that we have the knowledge of the glory of God." it ALL points to Christ. wow. i've gotta chew on that for a while.

dude above's ready for tonight. prep is to the point where i've studied all i can and i just can't wait to tell them the story. too. much. fun. the Scripture tonight does just what d platt says it's supposed to. it confronts us. and it softens our hearts toward His plan and His heartbeat. i'm praying that the students who enter the room tonight feel the Holy Spirit so strongly before worship even starts. how cool would that'd be? i hope they find tonight to be the place where the can leave all their struggles and walk out with none but Jesus. YEP!

g

ps dos. as far as secret song stuff goes, i'm tempted to put on "pennies from heaven" from the elf soundtrack as loud as it will go. however, since other people apparently have offices here, it's "all i can say" from a really old crowder record. oh, and after that it's "dimly" from justin barnard's fightsongs record. can't go wrong either way.

ps five. new 'crest shirts are in the works. seven options i think. and yes, there is a longsleeve in the mix. ur gonna want one. or seven.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

chooseday a.m.

currently drinking pumpkin spice chai. i've changed it up today. i know, i know...watch out. i'm feeling pretty rebellious this morning. it's fall in a cup i've decided. oh, and it rained super hard, super early this morning. perfect. i woke up to it hitting the window and fell back asleep to it. in case you didn't know, rain is a goooood thing...for farmers and for sleeping. at least that's what i've heard on the radio. i'm still working my way through this character study piece on moses. i've got questions. what was it about him that God would speak to him as a man speaks to his friend? i want that. more than anything else. so, what was it about moses that God chose to lead him so clearly? why did moses get the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night? here's my guess. no, here's my theory. i really don't think it was as much about who moses was as it was about who God is.

moses wasn't perfect. God came close. he struggled. God came close. got confused. God came close. had moments of weakness. God came close. He desired to use moses, to meet with the old shepherd. to breathe life into him as the leader of His chosen people. now, i've found that moses truly desired the King of Israel. he made time. had to have it. life depended on it. the lives of others depended on it. God found favor with moses. He loved him. see exodus 33:7-12 for all of that. last week with the kiddos, we covered the tent of meeting. what it was. why it was there. why moses needed it. why we all need it. every day. we found that God would, in fact, speak with our favorite old shepherd face to face...as if you were right here at sugar brown's talking life with me. CRAZY. but, oh so true.

and here's what's cool for this week. we learned all about the tent from the outside, but now we're getting the inside scoop. when God could have chosen to simply let us know about the tent, He chooses to open the door and let us in.

hear me say, i love college football. it's hard to talk about fall without mentioning it, really. perhaps the most powerful memory from being a kid was riding in the car from our house in brentwood to the stadium in downtown nashville. as a young lad, dad would drive and i would stare at the leaves because the fall season back home is stop and stare worthy. more colors than a crayola box. they're changing every day. from green, to yellow, to fiery red, to brown. i remember our vanderbilt car flag flapping in the wind and smiling the whole way to the game. the air was cool, but still warm enough to wear shorts with your favorite hoodie that 5x too big. that's the BEST. i remember walking on the field and touching the grass. even pulling some out of the ground and putting it in my pocket when i got older. i know, i'm a huge nerd. i remember the smell of the grills from the parking lot and the haze they'd all create in the north end zone. i remember the red sea of people in the northeast corner when bama or georgia came to town. i remember our old stadium shifting whenever anyone scored. listening to the visiting band play their fight song and they're fans going crazy more times than our fans went crazy. we didn't win many of those games, but i just remember walking in and out with dad...as long as he was with me. i wouldn't leave his side the entire game. the one time i did, i got wrecked by mike gandalfo who played linebacker back then. (that's a whole 'nother story). i love college football. most see it from a distance. with dad working with the program all those years and me interning with athletics there after college, i got to see the inner workings. go to practices. watch the guys fill up the "water cows." (thanks allison for teaching ryan and i that term). well, i was watching ESPN the other day and it showed the behind the scenes of alabama football. they're the enemy. but, i couldn't help but watch the inner workings of something i had only seen from a distance. i wanted to know how it functioned. i wanted to know who the players and coaches really were away from the games and the glitz. i was glued. i wanted to know what it's like for them. it was almost as if the curtain was pulled back and we were allowed in.

and that's what God does for you. and me.

check the end of chapter 33. HE LETS US IN ON THE CONVO...in the locker room you could say. and by doing that, He invites us all into the sacred spot. He lets us know it's possible for us to have that, too. instead of merely telling us what the tent was and why it was used, He takes us in. behind the scenes. in doing so, He gives us the inside on who He really is and who moses really is. i'm glued. you gotta read it. it's God's convo with moses inside the tent. moses doesn't want to go anywhere without God. he really says that if You're not going to come with me, then i don't wanna go (33:15). kinda like me with dad all those years. at least that's the way i see it. and then the last part of that chapter has completely changed my scope of the glory of God. moses asks to see Him. to see His glory in complete fullness. God's response to the old shepherd reveals that God is by far, the most glorious One over all of creation. every other pales in comparison. go read this part. do it. and then come back.

louie giglio has always preached to us to "never buy the lie that there is anything better than Jesus." he's right. everything else pales in the glory comparison. every other love pales in the glory comparison. think about it...our King is too beautiful for us to even fully view!!! WHAT?!?! even seeing His back is more wonderful and more glorious than any other kind of beauty (33:21-23). He actually has to protect moses from the extent of His glory! unreal. how beautiful. the sad part is the fact that my heart tends to chase things and choose things that have no glory compared to what i have read in exodus 33. glory is due Him and Him alone. at the moment i'm simply trying to put myself in moses' shoes. after seeing that, what would i chase after? what would i find to be beautiful? would i still choose sins that i realize aren't glorious? what would become important in my day to day? would i still buy things that i don't need? what would become important and what fluff would fade? all i'm saying is that every time i think about the glory of God, it makes me want Him. OVER EVERYTHING ELSE. it takes me deeper. and while i go on that path, the things i've previously held to be glorious and honestly, more glorious than Him simply look...DUMB. and utterly, SINFUL.

i repent.

talking more about this with the kiddos wed. night. excited is an understatement. i've been changed. may that start in me this morning.

g

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

tonight.

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ready. expecting. praying. hoping. laughing.

it's impossible to walk away from a genuine encounter with Jesus and not be changed. it's impossible. i want authenticity and i want to be changed. please be praying that our hearts are soft enough that He can mold them into ALL He wants them to be.

gosh, that'd be cool.

this is the first wed. night of the new school year. time to set the tone! thankful for moses' example of what that truly looks like.

g

oh, "AND WHAT IS A WED. POST WITHOUT A SECRET SONG?!?!?" you ask? well, i'm GLAD you asked. tonight there isn't one. i know, i know. you're tearing up. please don't. i'm sorry. tissue? it's just that sometimes i've learned that it's good just to be still. tonight is one of those nights. as mike would say, "to just be still and breathe with Jesus." i just want to feel Him there. to hear Him speak. how precious the whispers. good stuff.

Monday, August 23, 2010

moses and changing leaves.

permission to ramble?

THANKS.

it's been a while. so long in fact, that i forgot my username and password to even use this booger...AHEM...blogger. it's not that i haven't been writing or thinking. contrary to popular opinion, i been doing BOTH! (insert wink here). i'm actually writing a book. only not really. but really, there's been a lot going on. for instance, i just got off the phone with my little sister and she apparently lives in texas now. bonkers. and i just filled my car up with a couple footballs and baseball equipment. oh, and a hoodie. why? because catch at the park is what FALL is all about. and sometimes it gets cold. that's why. this time of year is crazy, but it's also my favorite. really, the only problem i have with fall is that life adds a little bit of a routine. i struggle here. tis' true. routines and i fight. i want different. spontaneous. my heart doesn't yearn for a routine. or a schedule. i'm not knocking a schedule or organization here. i'm simply speaking out about how if i let it, the routine can weaken my heart. i don't want my walk or my life to feel "routine." let me correct myself...my walk and my life are the SAME THING. same thought bubble. my walk is my ENTIRE life. there. i said it. now, i've realized lately that God feels the same about my routine. hear me out. i'm not saying that God doesn't want us to be consistent in our relationship with Him. He WANTS consistency out of you. out of me. oh, does He ever want that. i'm not talking about consistency, i'm simply speaking on the fact that i have the tendency to get complacent in my routine and when i study Scripture i find nothing complacent in the way God looks at me. i want to somehow learn to love Him the way He loves me. think about it.

here's what i mean...i want to love God with my all. but with the crazyness of fall, i always remember my past struggles to keep it fresh. i always get "too busy" for Him. even saying that becomes routine for me. i hate that. what a cop out. the truth is, without Him, i'm NOTHING. i have nothing. i don't want the same struggle this time around. i want to believe and not doubt. to trust He's there, even when it FEELS like He might a skipped town for a bit. truth is, He never left me. or them. all this stems from Exodus. it's kicking my tail. platt says the most important time with God is the time that no-one else sees. BINGO. he's right. the most important moments are when it's just me and Him. this will always be my favorite time. don't get me wrong, i love preaching. speaking God's truth to people is truly something i don't deserve to do. and i love sitting with kiddos and breathing the Gospel into them...i do. but my favorite is when it's just me and Him. and i can honestly say, i don't think that's selfish. i actually think it's biblical. i'm in awe of the God who moves in Exodus. the events spoken there talk of a King i (we) don't deserve. it's a God who defies routine and invites adventure.

it's a love that shouldn't be ours, but through the Son, is.

for whatever reason, i started in Exodus 13. i've been going from there. trying to make my way through it. stopping. thinking. writing. i keep getting frustrated with Israel. i think i actually called them "a bunch a dummies" out loud in my house. real mature garrett...i know. i keep wanting to give moses a "good game" and tell him to hang in there. i'm serious. i keep wanting to tell Him it's worth it. just hang in there.

then, in the way that only Holy Spirit can, He reminds me that I look like Israel.

i hear God speak clearly, and then three days later i forget what He said. i even begin to wonder if He's even there. i'm just like them. He's not a jerk about it, don't get me wrong. He's actually kind about it. funny thing is, i actually LOVE Him more for calling me out. it's His kindness that leads me to repentance (i have so much to learn). it's crazy to me that most times, i want to put myself in moses' shoes, when my feet rightly belong with the masses of struggling Israelites. in 13, they cross the Red Sea. they even make a keepsake so that they remember what the Lord did in their midst. THEY SAW IT HAPPEN. they actually saw the manifestation of God in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. and when evil was after them, God planted Himself firmly between His people and the enemy. He did that for them. and does that for you. every. single. day. moses and miriam even co-wrote a tune about it. and three days later, Israel forgot God. seriously. 72 hours later, they forgot the character of their Creator. forgot His ways. forgot His love. i do this. they complained. they failed to believe the God who had just parted the waters could provide for their daily food. i look just like this. and what did God do? gave them bread. Scripture says it actually showered down on them. He provided. again and again. literally, showering blessings upon them...upon us. i wonder how many times He's done that for me, and i never even noticed. gotta wake up. every good and perfect thing is from Him.

i'm almost done. promise.

last thing. what i love about moses is this. the tent of meeting. stop reading this and read this.
moses had to have the time that no-one else sees. it was his favorite. the only way He could make it through was the strength he gained from these meetings with his Father. "the Lord would speak to moses face to face, as a man speaks with His friend." he DOES speak. he DOES move. he DOESN'T leave. my hope is that the madness of a scheduled fall will not overwhelm. my prayer is that i remember what He's already done and trust Him with the future. and when evil may try and derail my path, to remember that He places Himself between me and the evil one. He does that for us. i won't fear simply because i have already talked with Him face to face. there, he calms me. there, He sets the tone for my life. there, He renews my spirit. and after that, there is no room for fear of any sort. just adventure.

g


ps...shorter posts coming. sorry.
ps dos...you just read part of the rough draft of the talk with the HS students on wed. night.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

saturday.








Thursday, August 5, 2010

the graham crackers.

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(more on this later) - i was on a soccer team as a kid. this one's called the graham crackers. dr. graham sponsored us. GENIUS. i scored a goal here. pretty stoked about it. i stuck my tongue out when i shot as a kid. the fam never let me hear the end of it. still doesn't. i found this picture in dad's darkroom a couple nights ago. good times. come to find he also took pictures when i played goalie. i found pics of where i was getting the ball out of the back of the net. thanks dad for keeping me humble. those will not be posted here for two reasons...(1) it would make dad's day and (2) my goalie shirt is longer than my shorts and it makes me look like i'm NOT wearing pants. (enter smooth transition here)

///////

here we go...i'm in nashvegas for my grandpa's 90th birthday party. crazy. when i got here, he was mowing the yeard. AHEM... yard! did i mention that yesterday was the hottest day in nashtown in 3 years? no? okay...yesterday was the hottest day in nashville in 3 years! i've been here since monday and i realize that i have been a failure at updating the twitter thingy since monday. my bad.
(monday)
nashville es good. it's been fun and restful at the same time. i've been all over the place. monday i got the neatest chance to jump in the studio with josh and watch him finish the NEW album out soon. it is absolutely my favorite stuff he's ever done. i simply can't wait to have it both in the car with the windows down and in my ears before i go to sleep. it works both places. not many records do that. this one DOES. JUST SAYIN'. and there may or may not be an ice cream scoop in the background. but really, i got to sit and listen and watch the guy do work. incredible.
(chooseday)
got rest. went to kairos at brentwood. i knew the Lord was stirring my heart during the day for what He wanted me to learn that night. seriously. i felt Him so much during that day. just kept telling me He going to show up that night. well...He showed up. i have pages of notes. i could talk about this night for hours. really. i will spare you, but ask me next time you see me.
(wednesday)
i have no idea what we did. my memory is legit. sorry. fast-forward y'all.
(thursday)
7:30am at the lake. we struck out. three of the greatest fisherman you will ever meet caught 0 fish. they danced in front of us. cruel. i drowned my sorrows in buckets of shark week. and chick-fil-a breakfast. oh, and we went to puckett's in franklin (my absolute favorite place to grub) for lunch. their sweet tea was a fistful of awesome and i got the pulled pork sandwich on corn cakes with mashed potatoes. MONEY BABY. so good. we came home after franklin and then i got to head to mafioza's on 12south with the richardson's! connie. eddie. mclaine. coolest people. great times. it was a good day. and then mom and i got to sit out on the back porch with the lantern lights and lightning bugs. it was cool out by then. nice.
(friday)
today we went to moe's. we don't have one in the LBK anymore, so today was a must. mac had to go to whole foods and he is currently cooking his version of pf changs mongolian chicken and the whole house smells wondermous. mom and i were feeling booklike, so we went to borders and then lifeway and we picked up some books. why? because it makes us look smart and we look really cool walking around the store. DUH. all kidding aside, i got two of mark driscoll's new books. one on doctrine and another about religion and it's inability to save. they both come highly recommended. looking forward to this. oh, and mom gave me a haircut. she loves me as i am, but i got the feeling she'd love me just a bit more if i looked normal. and she also said, "gar...you need a haircut." i was tipped off. so, she cut all my hair off. oh well! times they are a changin. tonight, i plan on eating a TON, watching a movie, sitting outside listening to the bugs, and finishing my message for aug 15. could really use your prayers for that one! there you have it. and i'll try to update on twitter starting tomorrow.

i took some pics on the trusty iphone and they are below. scroll down y'all. and i may or may not have posted a haircut pic on the twitter thang. schwelcome.

g










Wednesday, July 21, 2010

camps. glory. ephesus. us.

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photo by kerry ritchie

so, here's a blog post. i thought it might be good to take a blog break for the summer. however, due to popular demand (2 people), the blog is back. this summer has been a blur. 5 out of 6 weeks we were on the road to start the summer. CRAZY. we're kinda starting to settle back in. i'm not sure if i like that or not. i love road trips. too much fun. i'll post more pictures as time allows.

today es wednesday and thus, we have high school worship at 6. PUMPED. maybe even nervous. yep, nervous for sure. love that feeling. i love being changed by the Word and then getting the beautiful privilege to watch God change others as well. i'm not perfect at all, but i love when I know He's changing me. and it's completely freeing to know that i can't change them, but He can. He in me can (paul's great theology in colossians). again, i love this calling. tonight, we start ephesians. it's thick. rich. it's a wave. it's probably paul's best literary work. dude could flat out write. you've got to break down every sentence to attempt to snag the weight of all the Lord is saying through paul. i'm asking for help. i need prayer for tonight. i need to be clear with the kiddos on what paul is saying to us. tonight we're barely making through the first part of chapter one. here's the jist...

my hope tonight is to set the table. i long to give the right background about the church in ephesus so that the kiddos know exactly why paul is engaging this particular community the way he is. the goal is to intro and explain the story God's writing to ephesus and then for the kids to chase His story and their specific part in it this week. it's a formula that's worked lately. colossians two weeks ago at noah's and then galatians last week. our kids have been asking GREAT questions and i've been digging and learning the answers. I. LOVE. IT. let's keep the formula for now...

what i've found about ephesus is that paul loves this church. he should. he planted it. no joke...his 2nd missionary journey. at this point, he's writing them from jail. even in his hardship and plight, he's looking out for everyone else. humility, personified. most of the people in ephesus hail from a hellenistic background where they've been running after magic, sorcery, astrology, among others. paul's encouraging them to run after the true God. he's breathing into them the FACT that God has actually picked them and is consistently changing them to do good works for His glory. incredible. the fact is simply that in every moment of our lives, God has been chasing us. wanting us. moving anything to get to us. paul goes on to tell them that they've been doing some really great things as a church, but it seems as though Paul wants them (and us) to remember the Catalyst for doing good things. first things first, right? paul is throwing TONS of weight on our primary task being a love relationship with the Savior of the world...he's championing the supremacy of Christ in all things. what does that mean? for me, i think it means day in and day out, inviting Jesus to mold, change, renew, and redeem our oft hard hearts to look more like His. we do good because we are truly loving, hearing, tasting, and seeing all that Jesus is. louie describes it as "putting Him at the top of our satisfaction quotient."

God is inviting (1:4) the people of ephesus and the surrounding region into the story of God. ephesians has been labeled a "circular" letter meaning it wasn't just meant for ephesus. it's for everyone in the region. all are invited to know this. he's letting them know that God has a beautiful role for them to play. they're not excluded. they're invited. we're invited.

here's the tough part. and here's where i'm nervous.

paul let these guys and gals know everything he could in this letter. poured his heart out. they heard all about God and more than likely walked and talked their way through all the thickness of this theology. they showed up to church. maybe even small groups. went to the gatherings. knew all the words to every song...

and in revelation, 17 books later, God lets this faith family know they've lost their first love. really? yes. their hearts grew hard towards Him. they knew all the lingo, did many good things (2:2), but God still "held this against them." seriously. check it out yourself. study up. they let their idols have their worship and God wasn't getting His glory. we can say all the right things and even do things we know to be good and righteous, but if we aren't sinking our teeth into the Son of God and tasting and seeing that He and He alone is good, then we're missing all that God wants us to see.

He alone is worthy. Christ is supreme. and out of that relationship, good works flow. but it's Him first. that's the formula. it's the same thing that Jesus talks about in the Gospels. He's the vine. we're the branches. apart from Him we can do nothing. my hope is that I explain this with great clarity to the kiddos tonight and throughout the week. may He continue to be our greatest love.

anyway, that's me trying to flesh this intro out. thanks for listening. feel free two add your two cents!

g

ps. secret song for tonight is "in the middle." mat kearney. yep.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

for His glory.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

i'm alive.

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i know all three of you that read this thing are wondering if i fell off the planet. i didn't. i'm back. sort of. here's a quick recap of the last four weeks.

belize. vbs in lbk. abilene. san angelo.

there. you have been recapped.

it's been crazy busy. camps have been great. i can't write all that's happening because that would take forever and there are much more important things to be reading! next monday at 4am we leave again to go play in the rockies. buena vista. noah's ark. can't wait. i'm expecting God to do immeasurably more than i ask or imagine. He's BIG. He can do it. we are completely full for the trip and i'm PUMPED. LET'S GO!

oh and there was an incredibly good lighting storm last night in the lbk. we all just sat in the driveway. come to find that's pretty normal here in tay-haas. now at sugar brown's with the boys. bluegrass music is on and the door is open. oh, and it looks like it might rain all day.

good morning!

g

Monday, June 14, 2010

picture show.



kudos to baron for the picture show.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

so thankful.

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32 carriers of glory. i love these people. thankful to be on the team.

g

ps. photo courtesy baron batch. check out husky's blog for all the trip pics. it's on the column on the right. click the link. believe it or not, i barely took any pics. seriously. b took care of that and then some. kid's got a little bit of talent. a little bit. i taught him everything he knows...about photography, tennessee culture, basketball, tennis, soccer, how to throw a spiral, dumptruck linebackers, ping-pong, life, all things apple, hot sauce, and music.

there. i said it.

in all seriousness, thank for the pics bro. incredible.

Friday, May 28, 2010

this is happening.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

expecting.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

follow us. do it.

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Friday, May 21, 2010

ready.

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10 days. you guys can snag all the updates from the trip on twitter.
the link is www.twitter.com/sc_students. you don't have to be a member
on twitter to get the updates. just type in the link. i'm gonna try and update
as often as i can during the trip! thanks for praying!

g

Thursday, May 20, 2010

breathe in, breathe out.

life’s busy right now. for all of us. it seems everybody has too much on their plate.
it can be completely overwhelming at times. at moments like this, i think it’d be great to
respond to everyone’s normal question of “how are you?” with a response like, “i’m
more stressed than i’ve ever been in my whole life. my brain might explode soon. that'd
be weird, huh?! thank you for asking. how are you ma’am?”

(i think silence would be her response)

i mean, that’s honest. i worry. we worry. i worry about the dumbest details. and this morning
i found hope. hope in freedom from worry. the hope isn’t in my words…it’s in His. jesus is
preaching to the thousands and to you. and me. it’s a great reminder from our King that He’s
the one ordering our steps. i’m cool with that. He knows much better than i. the key is
remembering who we belong to. the more time we spend with Him, the more we love and trust Him.
it's a pretty simple formula.

He says -

therefore, I tell you. do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body,
what you will wear. is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly
Father feeds them. are you not much more valuable than they? who of you by worrying can add a
single hour to his life? and why do you worry about clothes?

see how the lilies of the field grow. they do not labor or spin. yet I tell you that not even solomon
in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. if that is how God clothes the grass of the field,
which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you
of little faith? so do not worry, saying, “what shall we eat?” or “what shall we drink?” or “what shall
we wear?” for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need
them. but seek FIRST His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you
as well. therefore, do no worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has
enough trouble of its own.

matthew 6.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

titus part dos.

mornin y’all. es wednesday. the door of the shop is open. it’s cool and overcast out right now.
it’s a sweet morning. i wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. unless, it was on the front porch of
a farmhouse sitting on a swing watching the sun burn off the fog. when i worked crosspoint sports
camps in college we were at maryville college in the smokies for a couple weeks and i would try
to get down to the tennis courts super early to have that time to simply watch that and read.
weird, i know, but it's really pretty cool. ever since I was a kid I thought that would be the best
way to wake up. anywhose, they made an extra vanilla chai at the shop this morning, so i got one
for free. again, it’s a good morning. and my early meeting was so good. so stinking fun to watch
Jesus work in the lives of my little brothers. and a bunch of our high school gals were gathered in
the other corner of the shop to learn more about jesus. yes. i told you it was a good morning!
the talk tonight is out of titus 2. i don’t do this often, but a rough draft of the talk is below. it’s
the shortened version. in my mind, this may be the best way to go tonight. it may seem long,
but when spouted out, always comes out shorter!

-------------------------------

i’ve recently come to the realization that jimmy john’s is my favorite sandwich place in town.
i. love. it. it’s healthy and I can get out of there for around six bucks or so. not bad. i get the
club lulu. it sounds like a party. it is. get it? club lulu? i'm laughing. anyway, it’s got bacon
and thus, a must. i probably eat there three times a week. seriously. it’s that good. last week,
i picked up the usual sandwich after our usual thursday night pickup bball game. on the way
home, there was a man with a sign that said “war vet who needs help” on the side of the road
at the traffic light. in that moment, i became convinced that Jesus wanted me to give that man
my sandwich. my famed club lulu. the cure for my hunger. the one with all the bacon. if
you’re thinking i’m about to come off conceited or arrogant because i’m telling all four of you
that read this booger that i gave this poor, hungry man my sandwich, I’m not.

i didn’t.

and it broke me.

i was two lanes over and decided I couldn’t get to him in time. in time? what was i gonna do?
go home and eat. what a joke. there was no deadline. i could have gotten it to him if i wanted to. i just didn’t
care that night. i guess i wanted some sort of safety. looking back, i despise safety. c.s. lewis
didn’t describe God as safe did he? no. he said, “He’s not safe, but He’s good.” in that moment
I didn’t love the poor. and as much as I say I love the poor and have a heart for those less fortunate,
my actions thursday showed I love myself. that night exposed a “blind spot” in my life as david
platt would say. after all, holiness is defined by what we do and not what we say. on the way home
i remembered what i read a day or two earlier. platt says, “no matter what we say/sing on sunday
morning, rich people who neglect the poor are not the people of God.”

wow.

take a moment. he's right isn't he?

i was humbled. and at the same time, angry with who i really was in that moment. now let me say,
i’m not rich by my culture's standards. BUT, by our world's standards and compared with that man
who needed help, i had all the wealth this world could ever offer. if i can eat three square meals a
day i'm in the top one percent and thus, i'm rich. and I wanted my wealth more than i wanted to help
him. how selfish. sounds drastic. but, this is Truth.

fast forward. the next day, i got a call from dad and we began to talk. obviously, we’re rugged men
of the outdoors and so we talked about vandy baseball and our three game series in starkville against
state. we talked about the pitching rotation and how we really needed to win on the road to ensure
our place in the sec tourney. we then talked about how we hoped the vols didn’t make it since they
kill us in football and simply because they are everything that's wrong in the world. hahaha...mom...
we love you! it then turned to work and then to the flooding back home. to give a hint of
background, dad’s a photographer who happens to have a rare eye disease that greatly limits his vision
to do some everyday things. like driving. he can’t do it right now. hasn't for years. but he may one day!
the disease is called histoplasmosis. you’ve probably heard me talk about this before. well, the fam lives
in nashville and the whole town is attempting to get back to their feet after the big ‘ole flood. thankfully,
our house was spared but there were tens of thousands of others who weren’t as fortunate.

the next thing he said shocked me. he said that work would be slow on monday and tuesday and
that because of the slowdown he would be helping volunteer in the city. he wasn’t bragging. it’s
not his way. he just loves people. from the rich, to the poor in spirit and in possessions. he just
said there was an opportunity to meet at a church parking lot (he doesn’t even attend this
particular church) at 7:30am and simply head out for the day to help his city with a whole bunch
of people he’s never even met. pretty radical I’d say. dad knows he can’t see well right now at all.
it may be brutally hard for him to drive a nail into a wall because of the veins clouding his retinas.
he may have to ask a random guy on the team for a ride home because he can’t drive. loads of
obstacles it seems. so what? if it means going to lanes over, it means going two lanes over. he
chooses not to let it stop him and thus changes the community. and my heart at the same time.
he sets the example so that I can better do the same.

and I realized this week that it’s the same with paul and titus.

titus is the "true" son. paul is the leader. the dad.
paul looks out for titus. has a heart for titus. leads titus.
titus tries to listen. he may stumble, but wants to be better. soaks in everything dad says.
paul is constantly teaching. titus is watching. maybe even taking notes.
paul picks titus up even when he doesn’t know titus has fallen.

isn't it nifty how God knows and works out everything according to His divine appointment.
the Father is all about the details. your details. my details.
in the second chapter of paul’s letter to titus he simply tells his true son “in everything set them an
example by doing what is good. in your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech
that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing
bad to say about us.”

we could spend a whole talk on those two verses. we have.

paul exhorts titus to set the example. truth is, we don’t even have to speak to set the example. remember,
holiness is defined by what we do and not what we say. don’t miss the strategic pattern of disciple making
here. first, paul is transformed by the power of jesus and that leads him to set the example for titus. in
turn, titus is changed and is now leading the charge for the Gospel in the city of Crete. it’s titus’ turn.
paul is telling him it’s his time. paul’s passionately pursuing jesus in his city, while titus does the same
in his. it’s the Gospel way. set the example. you get the hint here that paul knows leading is a
struggle. he knows there are moments of failure. and moments of great victory. and when he didn’t have
to take the time to write his letter of encouragement to titus, he did. he cared. he acted. and here I am
so many years later being changed by it. paul is passionately pursuing jesus. that propels him to care.
and because he cares, he acts.

setting the example is vital. you may not even know people see you as an example. but we are ALL
called to be the example. we are ALL called to look like Him.
there's not much safe about that. i like that. safety doesn't fit what my heart really loves. it doesn't make
my heart beat fast.

a lack of safety challenges me to be more than i am. to be what only He can be...in me. (read colossians)
in a way, i’m thankful for blind spots. they remind me I’m broken and in desperate need of the great Savior.
they humble me and actually help me hear the Spirit better. they bring me in tune with Him and make me
more like jesus.

-----------------------------

secret songs are 24 oceans and on fire. switchfoot. couldn't pick just one.

g


ps. 1 - "when everything inside me looks like everything i hate, You are the hope i have for change,
You are the only chance i'll take." -jon foreman

ps. three - belize meeting is at 7:15pm tonight y'all!