Friday, November 26, 2010

A Mentor to Remember

A few years back my Nannie, dad's mom, passed away. She died of cancer. She had cancer prior to this time but was healed. Then I guess cancer decided to sneak back into her life.

Before I go into depth of why I'm writing about her, I feel like certain things need to be known about her. My Nannie was the best influence a person could be. She was a prayer warrior. She would get up at 4 o'clock everyday to pray for her family and friends along with other specific prayer requests. She was very involved in the church and was the single most giving person I have ever met, even to this day. She would always take my cousins, brother, and myself out to eat, on vacation trips and even shopping trips to tulsa or muskogee. As a kid I loved that because I loved shopping for toys.

But since I've grown up I can't remember a single toy or item that was purchased from those trips. All I remember was her taking her time and money to spend with her grandchildren. And I know what you're thinking. Every grandparent does that or something similar to it. The thing that she did different though was how she always mentored us on the ways of the Spirit. She always instilled in us how important it is to have a relationship with our Christ and to fuel that relationship we needed to meditate on scripture. She prayed with us. She prayed for us. She cared for us to a point of where I didn't think I deserved it. Making me fully realize what Grace was and how God shows grace to us.

Fast forward to when she found out she had cancer again, she began going through treatment. She took more pills than anyone should take in a day along with carrot juice/smoothies and other nasty ingredients that were supposed to help her tobe diagnosed. She realized though, from scripture, that God was telling her she only had a few months to live and that she should make the most of it. If you've ever read Tuesday's with Morrie it was something similar to that. She planned out her funeral. She started eating things she actually wanted to eat. She spent massive amounts of time with her family. As time progressed she began to get worse. Losing massive amounts of weight and getting weaker and weaker. I'll never forget walking into her bedroom and seeing her on a hospital bed with the hospice. I almost immediately burst into tears and had to look down at the floor to keep composure. She had tubes hooked to her wrists and nose while her eyes were closed and mouth open, looking like she was in enormous pain. It still makes me hurt just thinking about it.

A couple weeks later she passed on, which gave us all a sense of peace. At her funeral she had all her grandchildren on stage singing Chris Tomlin's "How Great is Our God". The funeral service was more of a celebration for our Lord Jesus. And I love that. Because we should be celebrating. She's in a better place beyond our comprehension and she knew her passing wasn't as important as celebrating the resurection of Christ who bridged the gap. But before she died she wrote every grandchild a letter. That letter has been hanging on my bulletin board ever since and I didn't read it for a long time until 2 nights ago. Since then, I keep it in my wallet as a reminder of a greater influence and how I need to let her legacy live on. It reads:

"Dear Nick,

Time has passed so very fast, you now being a Senior, getting ready to step out into a new season of life. It seems that only yesterday that I was offering you a baby cookie and you indicated to all of us about your intolerance of food. Through the years you have made me very proud of your faith and your life in our Lord Jesus Christ. It is most wonderful to have a grandson that you don't worry about straying down the wrong road. I have been proud of the many achievements that you have received from schools and the leadership roles that you have played in the lives of other children. I have loved the way that you have let me pull you aside and give you a kiss even when it might have been emberrassing for you. You have made me very special by writing and playing a song just for me. I know that God has had His hand on your life and will continue to guide you to a bright future. That future can only be bright if you grow to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your sould and all of your mind."

Love you Nannie. Tell Jesus I said hey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What I Am Most Thankful For

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and with everyone else on the cliche train, I figured I'd hop on board and list what I'm most thankful for.

I have a pretty awesome family. Parents that have never been divorced and a brother that has, with certain exceptions, a good head on his shoulders; and all of us are strong in our faith. A blessing to say the least.

I have a dad that has always been there for me and has taught me things needed in life along with a good foundation to set my morals and goals on. I find myself using the sayings he's instructed me on more and more as I grow up and I am thanksful that those were instilled in me that I may pass them on to my children.

I have a brother who challenges me to become more creative by having unspoken "let's see who can out design who" competitions. He's funny, and since he's a teenager, it's cool hanging out with him especially when working on projects. I can usually count on a good laugh with some awesome sarcastic comments.

I am a mama's boy so naturally my mom is one of my hero's. She always considers others before herself and has a love that knows no bounds. I can tell her pretty much anything, except for things concerning tattoos and such, and always have fun with her. Especially scaring her when she's in the bathroom ; ) If I could be as half as giving as she's been it'd be an ultimate victory. Whether she's giving her time by volunteering or money for a cause or even no cause at all, she is always giving. I feel humbled and bless to have such a great mom. Everyone has told me that guys usually pick wives that remind them of their mom and that couldn't be more true in this case. She shows qualities I value and would like to have in a future wife. Considerate. Giving. Compassionate. Humble. Nice. Good sense of Humor. Merciful. All qualities of a Godly woman.

I love my family and am soooo blessed to have parents that have raised me well and a brother who I can hang with. This is what I will be praying about when we all sit down to give thanks on our thanksgiving feast.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prayer —> Peace

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7

Definitely one of my favorite verses. As everyone grows older, things get tougher and more stressful. Kind of a given. And people have different ways to deal with that stress, some ways being better than others. A way I use to deal with it was punching on a punching bag until I could barely lift my arms. As a guy, that way helps a lot but unfortunately, due to weather and gravity, bag was eventually ruined so I had to find a new way.

This verse is one I have on the background of my phone. That way it's always there to remind me of the peace I have in our Jesus. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God." I love the fact God wants us to present our troubles to him. Any other God you read about in other religions, you will not hear of this. They are an entire different entity and people believe that they are beyond talking to.
But not our God.
Not The God.
How peaceful is it that we can instantly ask the Creator of the Universe to help us with our troubles and concerns. What better hands to put those in than the hands that created the holy ground we stand on. This peace "transcends all understanding". Granted, not all of His ways of dealing with our questions and concerns are the what we want but it is guaranteed it is the best way. This "guards [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus."

I've also learned that presenting our requests to Christ then leaving them in His hands and leaving us with peace in our hearts, it's a way of showing faith. Paul explains over and over again about faith and how it shows if we are "Christians" or not. Anybody can call themselves Christians but not everybody can live as Christians. You can stand in a garage and say your a corvette while muttering "vroom vroom" but ultimately you're looking like a complete idiot. Faith is how we show what we believe.

Also on a side-note, Justin Bieber won artist of the year.......if anything that transcends all my understanding

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Rock Turned Over

Too many rocks have been turned over
With nothing being found.
I've searched and looked
Under any rock that lays at my feet
For the qualities of His liking
As well as mine.
And as I turn over each Rock
Each pebble
Each stone
Two things lie that makes each stone
Harder and harder to turn over
For it leaves my heart aching
And my feet dragging
With a continued search
Of a suitable helper that fits
My Puzzle Piece.
But what happens when a rock is turned
And promise is revealed?
You smile because
You may have finally found
What those other rocks have not revealed.
But you struggle because that's half the battle.
Now you have to be accepted
And be what the promise under the rock
Has been waiting for,
Leaving you vulnerable.
You pace with sweat dripping
And thoughts wondering,
Knowing if you are rejected
A longer search awaits you.
You realize it's a never ending circle
Until you are accepted
And the two pieces fit together.
But I don't want to turn over another stone.
I feel the qualities under the last turned stone
Are the ones I've sought for
Under the Rocks
And Pebbles
That have been turned.
I feel that if rejection turns its ugly head
That it will make the next stones
Just that more heavy.
And I feel that I am out of energy.
I'm ready to leave the rocks behind
And use that energy to please You
To Love You
To Grow You.
Take this burden away
And end the search
For I am searching on a beach
Of waves crashing into stones.


Passion is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling. I love how it says powerful because that's exactly what passion is and how it is used. I attended a revival with a friend about a week ago and as I sat back and watched the choir sing and the congregation join in song, I wondered if there's any difference in churches like these and one's like LifeChurch, Northpoint, Mars Hill, or even Hillsong. As I sang and thought, there's not much difference.

The Church in retrospect is the same.

The Church is a group of believers coming together to praise our Dad and to lift each other up to do His work throughout the week. Though some may have intelligent lights, orange or marshall amps and an awesome pa system that's not what defines that certain group of believers. In essence, a Church of Christ service can be the same as a Hillsong service. It just boils down to if you're worshipping or not. Granted, maybe for people around my age, a Hillsong worship service would be more exciting and easier for me to relate to given their modern worship style but I can still worship singing in acapella with the rest of the congregation in a Church of Christ setting. This is where passion comes in.

A church with legit equipment such as lights and the equipment their playing can be awesome but without passion it is void. Whenever I am asked to play in Sunday morning services, our music pastor always tells us to enjoy the worship and be passionate. For that's when the crowd can get involved. We are all worship leaders, though some of us don't lead by singing and playing the acoustic guitar, how we worship can lead others to the narrow path. I believe that is why Hillsong is so known. Their passion is incredible and their hearts are sincere and full of the love of our Father. Seeing them "in concert" is an experience in itself because the passion overflows from the cup onto the people around them. I find myself now seeing if I am as passionate in different worship settings. Because I know if I'm not, my heart isn't right. My heart isn't worshiping our Jesus but the instruments and music being played for that purpose.

It's important to be passionate especially when dealing with worship and the Church. If you are not passionate about a God who pierced his hands and feet, wore a crown of bloody thorns, and cried out for our lives, then how are you worshiping. How are we worshiping. "Passion is a wildfire not needing to be put out, but to spread to the apathetic."