Feeling Linky, Punk? 1.8.15

Feeling Linky, Punk? Here’s some links and vids you may have missed recently:

  • Ever wonder how airplanes dodge those pesky thunderstorms to land? Here’s a rad look at how they do it at the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport:


  • Turns out we’re not the only ones. Check out these penguins who like to use iPads as part of “penguin enrichment.” Cool story:

<p><a href=”″>Cool Hunting Video: Penguin Enrichment</a> from <a href=””>Cool Hunting</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

new day

Every New Day

A pivotal band in my life, Five Iron Frenzy, has an old song about growing up, getting older and recapturing the newness found in Jesus. Healing, help and true life are found in His grace. Some may have forgotten or neglected this freedom found in the gospel. I know I desperately need reminding of His goodness, always. Let these words sink in as we face a new year and a new day.

“Every New Day”

When I was young, the smallest trick of light,
Could catch my eye,
Then life was new and every new day,
I thought that I could fly.
I believed in what I hoped for,
And I hoped for things unseen,
I had wings and dreams could soar,
I just don’t feel like flying anymore.
When the stars threw down their spears,
Watered Heaven with their tears,
Before words were spoken,
Before eternity.

Dear Father, I need you,
Your strength my heart to mend.
I want to fly higher,
Every new day again.

When I was small, the furthest I could reach,
Was not so high,
Then I thought the world was so much smaller,
Feeling that I could fly.
Through distant deeps and skies,
Behind infinity,
Below the face of Heaven,
He stoops to create me.

Dear Father, I need you,
Your strength my heart to mend.
I want to fly higher,
Every new day again.

Man versus himself.
Man versus machine.
Man versus the world.
Mankind versus me.
The struggles go on,
The wisdom I lack,
The burdens keep piling
Up on my back.
So hard to breathe,
To take the next step.
The mountain is high,
I wait in the depths.
Yearning for grace,
And hoping for peace.
Dear God…Increase.

Healing hands of God have mercy on our unclean souls once again.
Jesus Christ, light of the world burning bright within our hearts
Freedom means love without condition, without a beginning or an end.
Here’s my heart, let it be forever Your’s,
Only You can make every new day seem so new.

Listen to the song here. Warning: this is “ska” music. Horns, upbeats and grooves. You’ll love it (or should).



A Day in December

It must have been heartbreaking to witness. A young mother-to-be, “great with child”, searching for a single moment of comfort after a long journey only to find none. Ready to give birth but with no vacancy to be found for her and her growing family. Nevertheless, God would fit the Gateway to eternity inside an unlikely crib that day so that heaven itself may be filled. And none would be turned away who enter by Him. What seemed tragic gave way to the triumphant.

What a humble entrance into finitude it was when “the word became flesh and dwelt among us”. The small, tender King’s first dwelling among us was that of a feeding trough for beasts. Beasts he created. Probably a filthy mess. No place for a King. But Jesus came to save people who are filthy and marred. Us. Cloaked in flesh He would remain clean, obedient. He would be the Bread of Life in that manger. That trough. And people who came to Him would never hunger or thirst again.

What a miraculous thing we celebrate in December! Heaven invaded earth. The Author entered His epic story. The Creator stepped into His creation to save it. But this Baby who was born tender and mild would be the Man who would die brutally and torturously, forgotten by His Father. Ultimately, this day in December is not really about a day. It’s about forever. Eternity. It’s about how God so loved that he gave us Himself. The greatest gift of all. A gift that should change all of our days. Jesus.

Students Follow People, Not Programs

Some good thoughts for me and my fellow Youth Pastors…

Gospel, leadership & #stumin

“Follow me as I follow Christ”  is what Paul encouraged to the Corinthian church. Jesus said it to his disciples as well “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” in the gospel of Mark. The commonality in both of those statements? People are encouraged to follow, as long as it’s pointing to Christ.

Students are attracted to your programs, but it’s not what will make them stick. What makes a student stick? Relationships. People connecting with other people as they follow Christ together in community. Today I propose a few ways to connect your students to people, not just your programs:

  1. Campus Ministry: One of the greatest ways to connect students with people and not just programs is to connect with them outside of the programmed time…on their turf. Being on a local middle/high school does just that. You can’t take your Wednesday Night worship service to…

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Gulf Restaurant Confessions

I’ve been to the Gulf of Mexico beaches during peak summer months and attempted to eat at a restaurant like many other Southerners. I’ve endured the chaos, mind-numbing wait times in small confined places or outdoors in the humid, scorching heat. This is my confession as aggregated and exaggerated from many failed and successive dining experiences there…

I confess…

I’ve waited 3 hours for a table.

I’ve heard the dreaded words as I gave the hostess my name:  “It’s going to be a.. (long, dramatic pause)..3 hour wait.” Heart drops. Brow sweat ensues. “But I’m hungry, like, now.” echoes in my head.

I’ve dredged through the sea of hungry humanity as I found a place to stand or sit or squat or lie down and die because I’m so hangry. And wait.

I’ve seen the looks of hopelessness on the disparaged faces of other sun-burned Southerners. I feel like I can read their minds…

“How much longer?”

“Surely, any time now we’ll get called.”

“Is my shoe leather edible?”

“My toddler is a tiny, ferocious velociraptor right now due to lack of nourishment! Where’s the Goldfish?” (the cracker not sea creature)

I’ve identified with those self-imagined thoughts that I think others are having in their own heads…or whatever.

I’ve been at the end of the list. The last person on the clipboard that is filled with others who are tasked with waiting.

I’ve seen the pleasant, contented faces of those leaving the restaurant.

Their belly’s full, laughing heartily with their loved ones. Life is good. They are quite literally full of happiness from a  hot, delicious meal and probably about to go putt-putt, go-kart or buy salt-water taffy from a massive souvenir/air-brush t-shirt store the size of an airplane hangar without a single care in the world.

I’ve smelled the fresh, hot bread sitting on the tables from the parking lot while I wrangle my rowdy kids, feebly biding time by counting the cars and cigarette butts for a change of scenery.

I’ve seen the looks. The evil eyes glancing my way as my electronic coaster vibrates and lights up like a flashing neon sign saying “The wait is over! You’re so special! You’re overpriced seafood dinner awaits you!”

I’ve rejoiced and celebrated all the way to the hostess desk! Moonwalking, ska-dancing and jazz-running all the way there!

I’ve been full. And it’s been worth it.

I’ve left the restaurant, passing by the others waiting in a silent, morbid type of restaurant purgatory.

I’ve seen other tiny, ferocious velociraptor-hangry toddlers throwing rocks at their parents and other patrons to pass the time during the wait.

It’s over. We came. We saw. We ate.

Fall pic spann

Autumn’s Gospel

Rich, vibrant hues overtake the sky and landscape during autumn. The muggy thickness of a sweltering summer sweeps away for an atmosphere of crisp, cool vibrance. There is finally relief from the taxing heat that beats down for so long. Just in time.

Then there is a burst, a celebration, of life and color. Trees go from something common to something breathtaking. The leaves foreshadow the beauty and freshness of spring with every burnt orange, bright yellow and blazing red imaginable. Even their crunch beneath a foot tells a story. The sky is on fire each evening as the sun dismisses itself from its low course. An entire spectrum is revealed. A gorgeous gift. It is all something of a grand finale for a time of year. And it’s beautiful.

Even after autumn has fell, while the world around us goes dormant, there is a promise.  One of new life and color coming in the months ahead. Hope in the midst of gray. The joy and freshness of this promise is sometimes obscured, forgotten in the depths of winter. Yet even during the depressing depths of the harshest cold, roots still run deep. Life is gathering beneath the surface, waiting for the right time. Shape and form remain, giving a glimpse of what’s to come. At the proper time the renaissance of spring commences, bursting forth the same color and life that bade our fall farewell.

There is a designed beauty in nature’s way of change this time of year. There is a kind of death for it, but only a brief one. Soon comes a glorious rebirth marking new purpose, a resurrection of beauty. And that is autumn’s gospel.


*photo courtesy of Jim Spann

dirty harry

Feeling Linky, Punk? 9.15.14

Feeling linky? Here’s some awesome stories and videos you may have missed over the past few weeks. Click and enjoy!

  • Mario Brothers, with all sound effects, as played by a very talented violinist:
  • Here’s what it looks like when a GoPro Camera is strapped to a soaring eagle and it flies, majestically I might add, over a soccer match. Pretty sweet:



Sick And Saved

In a foreign country with a foreign disease that has a 65-90 percent mortality rate. That was the plight of 2 American doctors earlier this month. They had contracted Ebola while serving others less fortunate in west Africa. Dr. Kent Brantley and Dr. Nancy Writebol were placing the needs, health and well-being of others above their own when they contracted the deadly virus earlier this summer.

They were released this very week after treatments here stateside. Brantley (who serves with Samaritan’s Purse) called it “a miraculous day” as he addressed the media from Emory University Hospital. Both he and Dr. Writebol (who serves with Serving In Mission) made some statements about their ordeal that should resonate well with us. When facing pain and even death, their faith provided a calm confidence through it all. In a time of uncertainty and unrest, they were certain of the One who can bring true rest and peace.

“When I was being put on that plane to come to the US, I knew I was leaving my home where all my things would be destroyed. I was saying goodbye to David, not knowing if I would see him again. I was getting on that plane unsure if I would be alive when I got to the US to see all of you. It was that moment when I cried out and knew, “Jesus, you have to be enough. Jesus, you are all I have—you are enough.” – Dr. Nancy Writebol

“As I lay in my bed in Liberia for the following nine days, getting sicker and weaker each day, I prayed that God would help me to be faithful even in my illness, and I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified,” – Dr. Kent Brantley

These words cut me. The phrase “enough” just wrecks me. What is “enough” for me? What am I selfishly pursuing that I think will eventually (or immediately) bring me to “enough”? It’s a question of true satisfaction. There’s nothing that exists that can bring me to that point. Except for the slain Lamb of God. Jesus is enough when facing death and disease and he’s enough when enjoying heath and prosperity.

If my thoughts are “…in my life or in my death, He (God) would be glorified…”, then not only is Jesus “enough”, he is simply all. there. is. 


Check out the full stories here. Photo cred included:

Christianity Today: Ebola and the Glory of God: An Interview with Nancy Writebol’s Family including Nancy’s Comments | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer.

Samaritan’s Purse Website: ’A Miraculous Day’.


5 Lessons Learned By A New Huntsvillian

Now that we live here, I’m finding that I love me some Huntsville, Alabama. Although, I officially live in Hampton Cove. Which is kinda officially the OXR. Which is to say “Owens Cross Roads” in an ultra cool way that sounds like you’re ahead of the zeitgeist. This city is such a unique place. A hidden gem of the south if you will. My family and I feel like we are beginning to get settled into life here. Many of you have saw to it we feel welcomed. We are so grateful for your hospitality and love! In learning about the culture of the city and outlying areas, we have noticed several things that make Huntsville unique:

  1. Engineers. Are. Everywhere. I’m learning to stop asking “So what do you do?” when meeting someone new. Instead I shall opt to cut down on the chit-chat by starting with “So what exactly do you engineer ’round here?” after saying “hello.”
  2. My use of “It’s Not Rocket Science” as a phrase has been re-evaluated. We are “The Rocket City” for a reason. NASA calls Huntsville home and I’ve now been privileged to meet many incredibly gifted people who are actual rocket scientists. But don’t worry. They’re some of the coolest people on earth…and beyond (see what I did there?). When in doubt of using the aforementioned phrase, they are qualified and can theorize, analyze, calculate and postulate (or whatever) if something is, in fact, rocket science on my behalf. That’s dope.
  3. Random, Nerve-Racking Explosions. With Redstone Arsenal so close and the proximity of the mountains, the sounds of the testing rumble around the south side of town in a way that makes me concerned the San Andreas Fault runs right under Bailey Cove. They keep you on your toes, thus your cat-like reflexes are sharpened for any HSV situation. These reflexes will come in handy when you need turn on a dime into Rosie’s (Big or Little) for some chips and salsa or catch the right exit on the Parkway.
  4. Something called “Chacos”. It’s a shoe-like-thing that straps to your feet. Most folks I speak to either can’t live without them or they rub their feet raw when worn too long, causing them to semi-loathe their trendy footwear. Still questioning if I should venture in. I could instead grab some nice running shoes from Fleet Feet for the price. Still debating with myself if it’s some sort of shoe/sandal conspiracy to make all feet look the same…I’ll let you know what I find out. They exist in other cities but are a thriving industry in the HSV.
  5. Traffic. Traffic. And did I mention traffic? Patience is a virtue quickly learned when behind a slow-poke heading over Cecil or just about anywhere else. Most times I could use Doc Brown to hover-convert my car to get out of it. (Shameless reference to one of my favorite 80’s movies in case you’re wondering) Maybe one of my rocket scientist buddies can help me out with that.

Still more lessons to be learned…


Photo credit –

N for Christian

Stand With Our Iraqi Family

In case you weren’t aware, there is anarchy in Iraq. Last week, as terrorists took over, the condition of the country deteriorated. Our brothers and sisters, Iraqi believers, are being executed, severely attacked and driven out of their homes. They are begging for our intercession on their behalf before our almighty God. According to Christianity Today last week:

“Thousands of Christians have fled Iraq’s second-largest city as an Islamist terror group solidifies its control over Christianity’s main remaining stronghold in the struggling nation.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), an Iraq and Syria-based Sunni offshoot of al-Qaeda, took over Mosul (pop. 1.8 million) earlier this month, the BBC reports.

Most of Mosul’s remaining Christian population of 3,000 fled for safer areas, according to World Watch Monitor.”


Our brothers and sisters in Iraq need our support. And not just in Mosul. The past week has been a terrifying one in the country. The Baptist Press also issued a statement addressing the crisis and calling for action:

“Most pressing is a situation the White House calls a “looming humanitarian catastrophe” unfolding on a mountaintop near the Iraqi city of Sinjar, home to the country’s Yazidi religious minority, where some 50,000 Yazidi refugees are trapped with limited food and water. On Aug. 3, Sunni extremists known as Islamic State or ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) seized the city as Sinjar’s Yazidi population fled fearing massacre. Many Iraqis without transportation escaped to the nearby Sinjar Mountains, a barren heap of rock where daytime temperatures can top 120 degrees.”

Here are 2 ways the BP is urging believers to act:

“1.  Most importantly, pray. God has ordained prayer, and He hears our pleas. Here are the prayer points released by the BP today:

    • Ask the Lord to awaken the world to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Iraq and to provide pathways for Christians and others to respond.
    • Ask God to miraculously protect the Yazidis and other Kurds who fled into the mountains; ask Him to provide a means of rescue and temporary homes for the refugees.
    • Pray that ISIS leaders and soldiers would experience the love of Jesus Christ and that their lives would be transformed.
    • Ask God to preserve and embolden the small remnant of believers in Mosul and Kurdistan, so that one day through their witness, every Iraqi might have the opportunity to hear the Gospel.

2. Give. When it comes to crises like this, sufficient resources are critical.

Help respond to Iraq’s refugee crisis by donating to the International Mission Board’s general relief fund or by texting imbrelief to 80888, which will donate $10 to that fund. To give through Baptist Global Response, visit or text bgr to 80888.(More info here)”

dailymail_iraq_prisonersIn case you’re surfing around the web and see it, the ACNS (Anglican Community News Service) has shed some light on the use of the Arabic letter N (pictured in the header above) in digital media:

Yesterday, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby changed his Twitter and Facebook profile picture to the Arabic letter N as a sign of solidarity with Iraqi Christians. The symbol – meaning Nazarene, or Christian – is being painted on Christian homes by IS supporters to mark them out for attack; and is now being adopting by Christians around the world as an act of support.” 

Please read the entire stories below. Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters, both young and old, as many are suffering even now.

Thousands Flee as Terrorists Take Over Iraq’s Christian Heartland | Gleanings |

Iraq: Hell has broken out here and nobody cares.

The Blog » Iraq.