Saturday, September 29, 2007

I am writing today from Zagreb, Croatia. I got off the ship yesterday in Zadar and because my ticket got screwed up, NCL put me up in a hotel there in Zadar last night. I walked around the city and was so amazed at the history. It's off the Adriatic Sea and is known as one of Europe's "most beautiful gardens". I saw ruins from the 8th century and a beautiful old church that dates back to the 1200's.

Now I am sitting in the airport in Zagreb on a brutal 7 hour layover. I fly from here to Frankfurt, Germany and then home. I can't wait to be home and see my family.

The cast did a great job while I was there. They talked to me at length about how the crew views them. Many of them think they don't spite of the fact that they have to maintain their shows where the dancing and singing are rigorous and require frequent clean-up rehearsals to stay professional. They also do 10-12 hours of crew staff duty a week. They work so hard and they are such talented people. It was an honor to be with them. The shows look fantastic!

I told them that people will always think those things. For whatever reason, people in the arts are viewed in that way a lot. It's not uncommon to hear someone say, "What do you do anyway? Sing little songs here and there?" Ha! :) Anyone who's ever worked to hone a craft's one of the hardest things to do. The trick is, if you do it well, it looks easy.

My hat's off to all those who work so hard to make it look so easy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I am writing from Italy. Long story. I came out to consult with a cast on a ship out here in the Med. The jet lag is HORRIBLE! 7 hours forward is really rough when it's 8am and time to work but only 1am to my body.

Having said that, what can beat being in Venice? Last night I went with the cast into town and we went to the square. It was everything I imagined it to be. The pictures in my head were exactly the scenes I saw last night. We walked by the endless canals with gondolas everywhere, passing bookstores with cool leather-bound books, passing narrow alley ways that looked more like tunnels with crusted paint peeling off that looked like it dated back to the 1400's. We passed couples taking romantic strolls along the river (SHERYL, WHERE AAARRRRE YOU????!!!) We passed quaint cafes and coffee shops. It was like a dream.

Finally we got to the square. During the day there are vendors everywhere. But at night, it's filled with tables and chairs and waiters walking around in tuxes and tails. There were string quartets at different stages with grand pianos. There were very Italian looking people sitting and laughing. It was the coolest thing ever!

We ended up buying gelato and sitting on some steps. I was exhausted. But it was so worth it. This city and its history seem a world away from me. It's always good to step out of our reality sometimes and realize what a gigantic world God made and how we are woven into His story along with so many others who look and act very different from me.

More updates soon. God has been really speaking to me this week. I am reminded again and again how dependent I am on Him. Sometimes having to remember that is painful. But it's always amazing when we really see Him for who He is.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

There is JOY in the Lord, my friends. Deep, deep joy. I am discovering this joy that goes beyond reason through various circumstances recently. It is a brand new chapter in my journey. I've experienced times like this in other ways, but God is so real, so tangible to me right now. It's been an unexpected bend in the road, but I praise God for His sustaining power.

I am looking SO forward to seeing many of you at the ZOE conference in less than 2 weeks!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The words to this song are ministering to me today...

words and music by Reuben Morgan

Hide me now
under Your wings.
Cover me
within your mighty hand.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood.
I will be still and know You are God.

Find rest my soul
in Christ alone.
Know His power
in quietness and trust.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, You are King over the flood.
I will be still and know You are God.

Yes, I will be still and know You are God.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Stephen sent me a link to this video today. It really blessed me. I wanted to share it with all of you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I am sitting at my desk. To my right is a stuffed bunny--of the "Peter Rabbit" variety. If this were LOST right now, there'd be some cool underscoring of music and I'd be flashing back in time a couple of weeks.

It had been a really, REALLY awful couple of days. Details aren't necessary. Just trust me in saying that Satan was really finding joy in my brokenness. After a long day, it was time for Sheryl and me to put the kids into bed. As is our routine, we took turns laying on the girls' beds and as I settled into Ella's bed she asked me how I was doing. Kids are very perceptive.

I told her, "I'm kind of having a hard time today, honey."

She replied, "I know, daddy. I can tell," and gave me a big hug. Then, Ella reached over next to her pillow and picked up her Peter Rabbit and kissed it. She handed it to me and said, "Daddy, I want you to have this. You can keep it for as long as you need to. You can even sleep with it."

I had tears streaming down my face. Ella is a very loving child. But, this felt more like the hand of God through Ella. I took the bunny. I sat it on our bed and felt the comfort, the power, and the absolute beauty of a child-like heart of compassion.

The next day I tucked "Peter" into my computer bag...Ella checked just to make sure... and carried him to the office where he sits on my desk as a reminder of God's mercy in my life.

As I have contemplated God's presence this afternoon, I have been comforted by these words of Jesus: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

God reminds me...He's near.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


* I returned last night from Dallas where I did a retreat for the Christian Campus Center at North Texas University. Dan Cooke, an old Otter Creek buddy, is the campus minister there. It was a good trip--great kids and lots of great days ahead for that ministry. Here's a picture after the war games on Saturday. I am 3rd from the left peeking out from a mound of shaving cream.

While I was there I also got to see our old friend, Lea Brown. Lea moved this summer back to TX. We miss you, Lea!

* This morning David Fleer spoke at Otter Creek for Tim who is in Abilene. David always does a great job and always challenges. Today he preached on the prodigal son parable. He brought out the troubling parts of the passages. I thought it was awesome. Don't you think there was a reason why Jesus made the religious leaders so mad? His teaching was troubling and challenged people in their nice, tidy thinking. Thank you, David.

* Tonight the Sanctuary band led us in worship at our monthly service called "Celebration". It was incredible. There are some times when songs just hit me in a certain way. Tonight there were several that just knocked me over. It was a needed and wonderful time of worship.

* Conference calls and planning meetings are helping bring things together for the ZOE conference. We're SO close! The new CD "Overflow" should be released this week.

* I am watching back episodes of LOST. I am so hooked. Anyone else a fan? I am almost done with season 3. Awesome script, incredible character development, interesting and fun! I keep expecting to see Dante as a credit somewhere. But, the producers say...there's no connection. Thoughts?

Update on the completely finished with season 3. Um... ???

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Recently, Jeff and Anna Berry and our families went over to the Greek Orthodox Church for their annual Greek Festival. We have been going for years. We love the food, the music, the interesting people, the dancers...and the kids save their money every fall to be ready for the animals. They have a petting zoo as well as pony rides. Here are some pictures from our experience there...

Thanks for the comments on the last post. I am grateful for your friendship--even in the blog world. Have a blessed week!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Sheryl and I have been cleaning out everything. Well, at least it feels like it. We've cleaned carpets, bedrooms, junk drawers, cars (even car carpets), and closets. Funny thing...when you clean out areas you haven't touched in a while you find a lot of mess. Some of it needs to be filed away for later use. Some of it needs to be put back where it really belongs. And some of it just needs to be thrown away. The last few days especially have been spent ridding ourselves of trash.

While this entry is literal (we really have been doing these things), it is also figurative for my life right now. We're cleaning. We're restoring. We're growing. It's been a difficult week, but I am even more convinced that God loves me even when I fail Him (and that happens daily), I have the best wife in the entire world, and the loving heart God has given my kids is a gift beyond explaination. I am a work in progress.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

There is so much going on, I'm sorry not to have posted in a few days. Everything from Labor Day to dreams of prophesying tomatos. I could you ask for more?

We had a conference call today between ZOE Conference planners. All systems are GO and we are looking forward to the Nashville ZOE Conference in just 4 short weeks. (Hang on...let me grab my paper bag for oxygen...breeeeeathe)

The CD is coming. We've had some issues with layout and folio, but we're close. We appreciate your patience!

Who's coming to Nashville? :)