Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spiritual Discipline

I just recently finished reading a book by Gordon MacDonald titled, Ordering Your Private World. A great book, because of the wealth of wisdom and knowledge that it provided. One of the many life changing points that hit home with me was the need to have spiritual discipline. Spiritual discipline was something I never really considered or heard much about before this book. It makes sense that just as athletes train and are disciplined, we too must train and discipline our "private worlds", a.k.a our spiritual life..."If we are ever to develop a spiritual life that gives contentment, it will be because we approach spiritual living as a discipline, much as athletes trains his body for competition."

We must be spiritual disciplined if we ever expect to be the leader for our wives and children that God has called us to be. I realize now that I too, must be more intentional in my journey of becoming spiritually disciplined. Below are some spiritual exercises for spiritual discipline:

  • Solitude and silence (you must find a place of peace each and every day that is free of distractions so that you may meet with the Lord in "your garden." Will explain what our garden is in a future post)

  • Regular listening to God (Be careful not to make it a one-way street, but rather an open dialogue. Will give pointers on how to use journaling as a way to foster this dialogue in a future post)

  • Reflection and meditation (Take the time to reflect and internalize what God has laid on your heart during this time with Him. This stage is important, so don't get caught up with getting on with the day that you miss this)

  • Prayer as worship and intercession (Be sure to not make this solely a time for request on oneself, but rather a time to thank God/adore Him, confess, and to ultimately pray for others, i.e. intercession)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Social Chaos

People have asked why I've decided to leave, then come back to Facebook...

At first, like many, I viewed Facebook as a novel and refreshing way to re-connect with old friends. I rarely used the site and would accept the occasional "random" friend request that would pop up in my e-mail. Over the years, however, I realized that my time and energy was being wasted on this website. I found myself being occupied/obsessed with updating my status, or posting pictures, or just good 'ol fashion "Facebook stalking" For what? So that it might look like I live my life a certain way? So that it might look like my life is perfect? All these things screamed to me: fake and shallow

My feelings and concerns were later reconfirmed during a message by pastor Stanley when he challenged us to step up and stop wasting our time, because whether we want to admit it or not our days are numbered and we are only blessed with a finite number of days on Earth. And what was I using my extra time doing? Good 'ol Facebook. Now don't get me wrong, I'll be the first to say I waste time on SportsCenter some days, and other days waste time on my Fantasy football league. I think we need those things in life to keep us sane and make life enjoyable. My point is, when these things become your focus and primary time consumer, then it's time to step up and re-prioritize. 

Because of this realization I've decided that I need to live my days like they are numbered and use every ounce of my energy and "extra" time leading my family and furthering God's kingdom. Therefore, I've decided to use Facebook as an avenue to speak the good truth as well as a forum for dialogue on discussions about faith, being a dad, and life as we see it. I challenge you over the next week to record how much time you spend on social networking. Once this number is determined, make a commitment to devote this "extra" time to God and your family.

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalms 90:12)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I currently teach in an elementary setting. This job brings me much joy and humor on a daily basis. Obviously, there are days when this couldn't be further from the truth, but bottom line is I love my job. Everyday is different when dealing with 7 and 8 year olds and no day is ever the same. While most of the time they bring me humor there also those times where they teach me humility and perspective.

One of those instances came around a couple of weeks ago. One of the morning work assignments was a journal entry simply titled, "What do you want to be when you grow up and why?" A typical journal topic, that for the most part was bringing in typical answers. Answers ranged from astronauts to vets, to wanting to be a teacher. While looking up at the time and realizing that this discussion could last a few more hours, I started to wrap up the discussions and decided to give one of my students a chance to share, since he rarely participated in class discussions.

He began to start with that he wanted to be a scientist. I told him that he would make a great scientist. Before I moved on, I decided to ask him what type of scientist. He responded, something in medicine. I then asked him why medicine. He responded that ever since his mom died his goal in life was to come up with a cure for cancer. With everything I see and hear on a daily basis I rarely have a loss for words. This was one of those instances when I just stood there for a good 10 seconds and took a step back just to compose myself and fight back the tears that were about to flow down my face. After my pause I let him know that his goal was respectable and insiprational to me and thanked him for sharing his heart with the class. I also told him to never give up and he would reach that goal because of the passion he has.

To think these words and burden came from an eight year kid, totally blew my mind. It, however, put things in perspective, that there are a lot more important things in life like family. Thank you God for speaking so profoundly that day to me and thank you to my past and present students whose words have inspired me to be greater and put a perspective on my life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


This past November I completed a marathon. 26.2 miles of beautiful, poetic, running bliss...Ok, so that statement couldn't be further from the truth. My training started the previous spring and continued through the sweltering, humid, tortures summer that we've grown accustomed to if you have lived in Georgia any significant part of your life. Through the training and the aches and injuries that accompanied it, I always tried to stay focused on my main goal. Throughout my training I would always be asked, "what is your goal?" My response would always be "not to die" or "do it in 5:59 minutes," since the maximum allotted time was 6 hours. While I always made light of the situation I would always struggle through my training of what my goal was, or why was I doing this? Granted it was on my bucket list and I'll admit it's pretty cool to say you've completed a marathon as a random fact to someone, but why do it?

It turns out that I answered that why during the duration of the race. I had just passed mile marker 22 and it hit me like a train hitting a brick wall. That one word that professional runners call "the wall."I thought to myself there is no way that I can finish this race. Throughout the whole race, numerous spectators and ones by me would encourage me and cheer me on. I now looked as far as the eye could see and couldn't see a soul in front or behind me and I thought to myself "I'm done, I can't do this anymore." It was so quiet and I've never felt so alone in my entire life. I started to reflect on how alone I was and how this was a mere fraction of the isolation Jesus must have felt as he hung there on the cross. Pretty powerful stuff. It was also at that time that I realized why I was running.

To show to myself that I can be stretched beyond my weaknesses, to one day when life gets too tough to bear I can come back to this moment and take refuge that I can survive it. To one day when my son, or future children, go through various obstacles in their life I can use this moment as a springboard into conversations on how through God's strength and his perseverance in us we can accomplish anything as long as we stay the course and not give up.

Our Christian journey is a race. It is during these tough moments that God builds us and strengthens our faith in Him. But while finishing my marathon race resulted in an indescribable joy of accomplishment for myself, it is nothing compared to what we'll feel hearing our Lord tell us that we have finished life's race and "I am proud."

Great poem written by Rachael's boss and my running mentor, Dan Stonaker, for this race. He sums it up nicely. Thank you for sharing this with me after my race:

Running the Race

It is because of my weakness that I enter the race
It is because of who I am not, what I can not do
My body, my mind, my heart all weak, lacking
Too weak for the suffering, the pain, the doubt
Training them, readying them for the race
Planning, preparing, sacrificing for the coming race
The race is laid out before me, the time is now
The suffering, pain and doubt all battle against me
I am ready, I believe, I over come, I know I am not alone
A crowd of witnesses cheer me on, I hear my name
Some know me, some cheer not me, but for all victory
I have finished the race, still weak, yet stronger
It is because of my weakness that I enter the race

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raising a Modern-Day Knight

First of all I want to be the first to say that I hate reading. Don't know if it's my lack of focus, patience, or just my ADD kicking in. For most of my life I've enjoyed the math and sciences in school and it's not a coincidence that in teaching I love teaching these content areas as well. It seems, however, in these past couple of years I have really enjoyed reading. I think it has a lot to do with my maturity and growth and just allowing myself to be still and grasp and internalize what the author it trying to teach me.

One book in particular has really had an impact on me as a dad was Robert Lewis' "Raising A Modern-Day Knight." While there are some points that I might argue with or disagree with to a certain degree, most of the book provides great advice and a framework on the importance of father-son relationship, the effects  that has on your son later on in life, but more importantly how God has called us to a higher calling in being a dad and with that comes a great responsibility.

The author goes through your relationship, celebrations, and ultimately aligning God's will for your son, with you as an important facilitator of that. I highly recommend it to any dad with a son, and hope that you are blessed as I was after reading it.

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water...and behold, a voice of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am pleased." -Matthew 3:16-17