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.



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.


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.


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. " 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.


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


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.


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.


(from husky's blog. photo from sidelinepros)

Monday, October 11, 2010

more stuff from last week.


getting started.


completely joyed.