So Beautiful | First Impressions

I haven't finished reading Leonard Sweet's new book So Beautiful but, as soon as I dove into it I new my reviews would have to span over a couple of blog entries.

So Beautiful is a challenge to the church to realize their DNA. "Just as DNA's three strands make life possible, three other elements work in harmony to make life not just pretty, but beautiful. And it's in the church where we find the greatest expression, the ultimate fulfillment, of these three components to a beautiful life".

The three components Leonard is taking about are easily remembered as M.R.I. (M=Missional, R-Relational, I=Incarnational). These are in contrast to the more common A.P.C. model of church (A=Attractional, P=Propositional, C=Colonial). One might do well to understand that while APC is a model, MRI is an already existing unrealized way of being.

In unpacking the Missional strand of our undiscovered DNA strand it's said that "Being missional is not something you do to get something done, like grow a church or sign the suceed-creed. Missional is who you are, because it is who God is." Therefore since we are all created in the image of God and God is missional we are indeed missional. We must simply unlock these aspects of our already existing DNA.

This is just a quick look at a portion of So Beautiful. I can't wait to see where the rest of this journey takes me.


The Unlikely Disciple

So I just finished reading The Unlikely Disciple by author Kevin Roose. The summary is basically this: Kevin, a journalist and student from Brown University, decides that he wants to explore the Liberty University up close and personal and undercover for a semester. He wants to see what Liberty students are really like. He want's to know how things work at Liberty and how it all comes together. His experience was honestly quite similar to mine. The dorm life was the same the people were the same. It's truly an honest inside shot of Liberty's student life. While I don't come to all of the same ending conclusions that Roose does about Liberty... I give him serious credit from coming from an objective standpoint not to beat down Liberty but to give an honest perspective. I laughed as I identified with many things on campus and remembered some experiences from my own dorm life. I cried when remembering the late great Dr. Jerry Falwell. I was sitting in the Thomas Road Baptist Church sanctuary having just come on staff not long before as Dr. Godwin choked out the words "... a giant has fallen ..." I watched the monogram flatten a large section of beautiful landscape on the mountain... and in the end I also have to credit Dr. Falwell for changing my life. In almost all cases for the better. I'm so thankful for one man following God's call on his life. It only takes one.

The Next Steps Determine So Much

I'm searching for the right way to go. I'm praying to God for the right steps to take. I'm asking for wisdom. I'm seeking His face. I'm hoping He makes clear the path to follow and the journey to make. This song seems like a fitting cry from my heart. Oh God, Where Are You Now? (In Pickerel Lake? Pigeon? Marquette? Mackinaw?) by Sufjan Stevens.

Oh God, Where Are You Now? (In Pickerel Lake? Pigeon? Marquette? Mackinaw?)
Oh God, hold me now
Oh Lord, hold me now
There's no other man who could raise the dead
So do what you can to anoint my head

Oh God, where are you now?
Oh Lord, say somehow
The devil is hard on my face again
The world is a hundred to one again

Would the righteous still remain?
Would my body stay the same?

Oh God, hold me now
Oh God, touch me now
There's no other man who could save the dead
There's no other God to place our head

Would the righteous still remain?
Would my body stay the same?

There's no other man who could raise the dead
So do what you can to anoint my head

Oh God, hold me now
Oh Lord, touch me now


Rescue Is Coming

The song Rescue Is Coming by David Crowder Band has been resonating in my heart this morning. I don't know if it's that the news this morning had Jon & Kate all over the screens replaying the painful situation they're going through or the fact that my coffee is a little on the biting rather than smooth side but, something about this song is echoing around deep inside my bones. The acoustic crooning melody at the end of the song really draws everything back to a beautiful beginning as the song repeats and repeats in my iTunes Library. It started playing this morning in the car as I drove to work and it's been on repeat ever since.

A Collision (and it's companion EP B Collision) are my favorite albums by David Crowder Band. Really it comes back to the same reason I named this blog and my band "The Great Rescue" because rescue, true rescue, can only come through knowing Christ. On the cross Jesus performed the greatest rescue attempt of all time and succeeded. All we have to do is reach out and take His hand. As Christ-followers we also look forward to the rescue from this world to be taken into God's Holy City to spend eternity with the One who loved much. Rescue is coming... and Rescue is here.

There’s a darkness in my skin My cover’s wearing thin, I believe I’d love to start again, go back to innocent And never leave  Don’t give up now A break in the clouds We could be found  There’s nothing wrong with me It’s just that I believe things could get better And there’s nothing wrong with love I think it’s just enough to believe  Don’t give up now A break in the clouds We could be found  Rescue is coming Rescue is coming Rescue is coming Rescue is coming  And there’s nothing wrong with you And nothing left to do But believe something bigger And there’s nothing wrong with love I know it’s just enough to believe  Don’t give up now A break in the clouds We will be found  Rescue is coming Rescue is coming Rescue is coming Rescue is coming now


They Said, "I Do" And They Really Did.

So I just got done watching the season premiere of the show Jon & Kate Plus 8. I'm kind of speechless. I just feel such sadness in my heart for their family. The entire show it just felt awkward to watch. Everyone by now has heard about the situation with Jon possibly cheating on Kate but, to watch the two of them interact tonight on screen, or rather not interact, was heart wrenching. This is the family I've been watching for five years now. For five years we've watched them laugh and cry, purchase Hermit Crabs and German Shepherds... we've fallen in love with the kids and with Jon and Kate. They've become part of our family. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I was holding back tears. It's just so hard to watch two people... well... yeah.

I'm so fortunate to come from a home where my mom and dad are still married and still very much in love with one another. They have their squabbles, believe me I've been there for some rough ones... but, in the end what matters is that when they said "I Do" they really did. They committed to this thing for the long haul and understand fully what it means to sa
y that "love is a choice". I'm so very thankful for their example. My wife Kristin's parents are also still happily married and loving life and each other dearly. I pray to God that I never take for granted the example they have set for Kristin as well. As we both come up on our second anniversary on June 30th (I know it's a little ways away but, the show really got me thinking about it all), I can look in her eyes and know I'm here for the long haul. No matter what life throws at us... I'm here. I'm committed to loving her with all I am for the rest of my God given life.

In fact today marks two years from the day I asked my wife to marry me. While my plans got radically changed from proposing at Maymont Gardens in Richmond to Virginia Beach with King Triton not far off looking down on us. I pulled a ring out of my dingy man purse and asked Krisitin if she would do me the honor of spending the rest of our lives together. Every morning I wake up and am in awe that she said yes. I'm so thankful to God that he placed her in my life and can't imagine doing this thing with anyone else. She was shaped and formed and planned before either of us existed by God to be my wife. I'm so thankful and glad that God knows what He's doing.


I've Been Thinking A Lot Lately About...

I've been thinking a lot lately about this thing we have called a "relationship" with God. It makes me thankful I have a God who stirs in my heart and moves and speaks to me and calls me to know Him more. I'm thankful that my God doesn't sit on fluffy white clouds with lightning bolts and little Angel Soft Cupids flying around trying to sell toilet paper. I'm glad my God is intimate with me and knows me and longs to know me more.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what Francis Chan talked about in his session at the Innovate Church Conference this week. Specifically about opening God's Word and reading it like it's the first time you've ever read it. Reading it while putting away preconceived notions and looking for the "obvious truths" in the text. What are the obvious conclusions we come to? An example of this he gave was simply "Do you mean to tell me you read the Scriptures and when you are done the obvious conclusion you get is that you need to say a prayer to ask Jesus into your heart?" The truth is that this is not what we see Jesus saying about following Him. Jesus calls us to a deeper relationship with Him in which we abandon everything and run whole heartedly toward our God.

I wish I could lock myself in a room with a source of water and a vegetable tray and my Bible and just go cover to cover on the Bible. I want so badly to do this... I just have to plan it out.


New Song - "Burn In Us"

I just sat in a session at the Innovate Church Conference with Francis Chan. He spoke about returning to a child-like faith and about hearing the Spirit's leading on our lives. He encouraged us to dig into the Word of God for all we are and to look at the obvious truths. His words on the Holy Spirit really touched to the core of me. I came up to the office really quick and demoed it out and posted in The Great Rescue Facebook Page. You can go listen to it and become a fan if you like. It's in our media player under the BOXES section. It's just a rough demo but, whatever. I just had to write it, record it, and post it. I had to get it out there. It was like there was a sense of urgency. I had to do it. May you be blessed by it where ever you are.

Burn In Us

I feel a stirring deep within, in my heart I know it's You.
I feel a power moving deep within my soul it's You.

Let Your fire fall, let Your voice be heard
Move in us, burn in us.
Let Your fire fall, let Your voice be heard
Move in us, burn in us.

I feel a fire burning down into my bones it's You.
I hear the Spirit calling me to be more, it's You.

Let Your fire fall, let Your voice be heard
Move in us, burn in us.
Let Your fire fall, let Your voice be heard
Move in us, burn in us.

May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done
One earth as it is in heaven
For Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory
For Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory
For Yours is the kingdom the power and the glory

Let Your fire fall, let Your voice be heard
Move in us, burn in us.
May Your Kingdom come, may Your will be done
Move in us, burn in us.


Spirituality | "What If God Was One Of Us?"

Joan Osbourne in the late 1990's wrote a song entitled "One Of Us" the songs took of on the pop charts for it's catchy melody and lyrics that almost anyone could relate to. Regardless of whether or not you thought God existed or believe that God was Jesus Christ, Buddha, Allah, or Barney the Dinosaur, the song begged the question: "What if God was one of us?"

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question
And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets
And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome
And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if god was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

The author of this song begins with her own questions about God but, the listener leaves with his or her own completely different set of questions. Spirituality by author Carl McColman leaves the reader feeling the same way. At the author's own admission "So I can promise you this book won't give you all the answers. But if it helps you to ask a few questions here and there, then as far as I'm concerned, it has done its job." (pg.xii).

Spirituality is the author's own personal diving into the questions of God from, sometimes, and objective standpoint. While the author does a good job of trying to be objective, there are times when his Episcopal background comes through and one sees reference to the teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. While it's difficult to separate out one's beliefs when writing such a work Carl has done a great job. The book does bring up a great number of questions with know answers and has drawn me closer to God as I continue to find the answer's I'm searching for in the truth of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus.

Spirituality is thought provoking and challenging. A good read.


The Furious Longing Of God | Pt.2

Luke 11:1-4 NCV - 1 One time Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his followers said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his followers."2 Jesus said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, may your name always be kept holy. May your kingdom come. 3 Give us the food we need for each day. 4 Forgive us for our sins, because we forgive everyone who has done wrong to us. And do not cause us to be tempted.'

Reading through Brennan's chapter on "our Father" has been a truly settling experience this morning. Once again there's not a whole lot of "new" material here but such good truth to be reminded of. In the chapter Brennan focuses on prayer. Specifically how Jesus taught His disciples to pray, beginning with "our Father", or "Abba".

"Abba means in literal English: daddy, papa, my own dear father." "Pagan philosophers such as Aristotle arrived at the existence of God via human reason and referred to Him in vague, impersonal terms: the uncaused cause, the immovable mover. The prophets of Israel revealed the God of abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in a warmer, more compassionate manner. But only Jesus reveled to an astonished Jewish community that God is truly Father."

Brennan uses this beginning notion of "our Father" to ask the question "Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy's lap?" There is a beautiful calm in know and loving God as our Father.

There are so many horrible stories of "fathers" who haven't lived up to their Godly example. So many who have hurt in more ways that I care to elaborate on here or imagine those they were charged to care for. If God is our Abba, our Father, then the greatest single act of rebellion against his character would be for a father to not act like one. To not offer the love his family needs and deserves. I'm so sorry for any of you who have experienced that type of a man. I do not understand nor have I experienced that. But, know that Abba loves you. You belong to Him. He welcomes you with open arms into a sweet embrace of his furious love for you.

For the next few days I will be doing as Brennan instructs. Maybe you should to. Find a chair. Sit quietly with palms turned up and pray with the rhythm of your breathing, "Abba, (as you inhale) I belong to You (as you exhale)".

It's so necessary to remember these truths.


The Furious Longing Of God | Pt.1

Galatians 2:20 (NCV) - I was put to death on the cross with Christ, and I do not live anymore - it is Christ who lives in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself to save me.

"In a fascinating footnote to that verse, the Jerusalem Bible adds: "The living acts of a Christian become somehow the acts of Christ!" (Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing Of God, 2009, 31.)

If you hadn't guessed it, I'm reading through the book The Furious Longing Of God by Brennan Manning. I got it through a viral blogging site and it's my first book I've received from them that I've been able to read here recently and beginning blogging on. I would have to say that so far this book is leaving me very refreshed. It's not telling me things I didn't know or unlocking some new spiritual truth but, it's refreshing some things in my heart and in my mind I haven't thought on in quite a while. It's good to be reminded of God's love for me. Of how He longs to know me and be with me. He longs to have such a relationship with me that I am completely replaced and that my actions reflect Him completely.

One of the things I have enjoyed the most about this book is the questions at the end of each chapter. Sometimes chapter questions are simply to have the reader review what He's read. Here Brennan lays out questions that cause you to dive deeper into what you've just been reading. In the chapter on FURY, the first question particularly started digging deep into my heart: "There is the "you" that people see and then there is the "rest of you". Take some time and craft a picture of the "rest of you". This could be a drawing, in words, even a song. Just remember that the chances are good it will be full of paradox and contradictions."

I was immediately reminded after reading through that question of a song by Switchfoot in which singer Jon Foreman croons "This is your life are you who you want to be? This is your life is it everything you dreamed that it could be when the world was younger and you had everything to lose."

There is the YOU that people see then there is the REST OF YOU. What do you look like? Are YOU who YOU want to be?


The Importance Of A Team

There are few things in ministry that are as important as surrounding yourself with a good team. Aside from personal growth and accountability, maintaining one's own relationship with Christ, surrounding yourself with those who eat sleep and breathe serving our Lord is vital.

For the next few days I'll be in Charlottesville, Virginia planning out the upcoming year with our student ministries leadership team. We basically come together and evaluate from top to bottom what student ministries looks like. We scrap the things that aren't being effective and build more into the things that are growing and resulting in life change. Our goal is to win students to Christ, grow students in Christ, and send students out for ministry in Christ's Kingdom. If one of our programs or environments doesn't meet that criteria we scrap it. I've been spending quite a bit of time praying for these few
days. There is so much that hangs in the balance with what we plan and how we plan it out.

Our time today was awesome. We got a lot of stuff out on the table and set a pretty decent foundation for where we'll be going tomorrow. We got the chance to unwind and relax a bit with dinner at the Mellow Mushroom followed by some good games of bowling. I love this team.

Who's on your team? Are they hindering or helping the work you are doing?


A Stupid Choice Of Late Night Espresso | A Random Post About Nothing Much

I brewed some espresso tonight, aside from that being an reference from The Office and Café Disco, in order to stay up and finish writing my last paper for a distance learning class this semester. It was my last remaining assignment and now it's complete and submitted.

Well... I finished the paper a lot faster than I thought I would. So I grabbed a copy of Breaking Dawn (Book 4 in the Twilight Saga) that I borrowed from Tammy about 9 months ago. I've slowly made my way through the series but with classes and all picking up here lately I haven't had any time for personal reading. I made it through about 300 pages before setting it down and trying to sleep then being unable to began blogging - stupid choice making the espresso I know.

Well anyway I re-autofilled my got my iPod Shuffle a.k.a. "The Padlock", my 160GB Classic is called "The Vault", and have been listening to it the last few hours. It's a really good mix. I'm pretty please with it so far. At this moment Everything For You by The Rocket Summer is playing right now... I like the way this song grooves.

I've also generated quite the chronic headache tonight. I took an Excedrin earlier and it helped a lot, but now my head is splitting. Possibly a mix of the stupid choice of late night espresso mixed with the fact that I need a new prescription for my glasses.

So I've started yawning over and over again in the last few seconds... I'm taking that as my cue that my body may be finally ready to fall asleep. Needtobreathe is closing the night out on The Padlock.

Goodnight all.

If you have a Twitter and you're not following me you should. - @thegreatrescue

Jars Of Clay - Worlds Apart

This is by far my favorite Jars of Clay song and a great performance. Just wanted to share it with you guys.

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
"dull the nails that still remain"
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
"dull the nails that still remains"
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart


"Pee Pee Hands!"

People who dont wash their hands after they use the bathroom channel my inner 1st Grader I want to chase them down yelling "pee pee hands!" I mean really. How much effort does it take to walk over to a sink put some SOAP on your hands and sanitize yourself. I mean.... think about how many other people have flushed that toilet or urinal that HAVEN'T washed their hands. What kind of "down there" germs are on your hands from other people. I mean..... wow. There aren't many things that gross me out... but this is the last straw. I've counted 3 people today that I saw did not wash their hands. I'm not like hanging out in the corner of the bathroom counting or anything but, just while I'm in there. 3 people with germ covered pee hands. Makes me think twice about shaking hands with people. Bumping knuckles may be it for me now. Gross.

MUTEMATH | Spotlight Music Video

These guys never cease to amaze me.


Spiritual Disciplines | A Conclusion

Well it's been a journey that's for sure. I've taken part in four spiritual disciplines as described in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. I've completed each discipline three times and blogged on everyone chronicling by experience and what I've learned about the discipline itself. Some of this came from Foster's book itself some from outside sources and some from the beautiful pages of Scripture itself.

If I could use one word to describe this journey it would be growth. I feel like I have grown and stretched myself in my faith and in my methodology concerning personal worship experiences. While I thought some of these exercises pushed the "biblical" limits just a bit I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bath-water. I've taken every moment of this as a chance to learn and grow closer to my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. He's why I do this, regardless of the fact I had to do it for a class assignment, I wanted to know Him more. I wanted to hear His voice and understand better His leading. I honestly feel these last 21 days have helped me in those areas. I'll definitely be repeating some of the practices. I found some of the meditation and solitude practices to be my favorites, but thought I was able to articulate what I learned best from study and saw the most growth from fasting. Overall it's been a great experience. One I am glad to have journeyed through.

Study | Pt. 3

During this time of study and exploration I will be examining butterflies and moth's emerging from their state of Chrysalis. I'm hoping to liken this state of emergence to the life of a Christ-follower.

When I first heard the word "chrysalis", what came to my mind was images of a weekend youth retreat at my home church in North Carolina. I'm not sure the weekend retreat was called that, it may have been "metamorphosis" or something similar. However when I googled Chrysalis one of the first things to come up was a weekend "Christian renewal movement" called Chrysalis. Now, I'm not trying to judge a book by it's cover but I am, Chrysalis looks to be stuck in the early 80's trying to appeal to a modern generation of teens and young adults. They need some serious revamping of their website and material. None of that really matters. The reason the camp is called Chrysalis is that it compares itself to the state of chrysalis that butterflies and moths enter into their cocoons. Here's a video of a Monarch Butterfly emerging from it's chrysalis state.

In this cocooned state a caterpillar transforms from being something wrinkly and gooey and yucky looking to something that is truly breathtaking to
behold. The same is true of the Christ-follower before Christ we are covered in the filth and dirt of our own sin and wrinkly gooey yuckiness. Then
Jesus washes us clean with his shed blood and transforms us into something beautiful. We are made glorious. It's such a beautiful thing to be known
as one who as been washed clean by the blood of the lamb. I'm remind of the words from Steve Fee's song Beautiful The Blood off the album We Shine.

I never knew death could be so sweet
I never knew surrender could feel so free
I never seen such meekness in majesty
That the blood of Jesus was bled for me

And now I sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful the blood flow
How merciful the love show
The King of glory poured out
Victorious are we now

Never knew through these nails would love unfold
And never knew these wounds would heal my soul
I've never seen such beauty and sorrow meet
The blood of Jesus was bled for me

Now I'll sing freedom for all my days
It's only by the power of the cross I'm raised
The King of Glory rescued me

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

How beautiful you are
How merciful you are
How glorious you are
Christ the Savior

Study | Pt. 2

For this time of study I'll be watching my sucker fish OS X Leopard. I want to figure out what exactly the purpose of a sucker fish is. Are they really called "Suckerfish"? or is there something else they're really called. Do they really just lay around on the floor of fish tanks across the country with nothing to do? What can I learn from these little fish that can teach me something

So here I sit, and here my little sucker fish sits. I decided to google him just because all I know is that he's an algae eater fish. Here's what I got. Plecos, Hypostomus punctatusare, widely known as "the" algae eater at the fish store. Though it is seldom they tell you that they grow to be a foot long and will destroy your plants as they get bigger. They have also been known to get a bit more aggressive as they get older. They do a decent job of cleaning the glass. Bristle nose and rubber mouth plecos may be the best choice for a planted tank. The bristle nose stays a bit smaller than its cousins and is a nice addition to any planted tank, eating many forms of algae.

Plecos, or the Sucker-mouth Catfish, are ideal in a very large tank ( 300 liters and up ), with other large feature fish. Include some drift wood for them to use as a resting place and retreat. They are nocturnal so it is usually best to feed them at night time. Omnivorous. They do eat algae. As well green foods such as lettuce and peas, cucumbers, plus vegetable-based flake foods. Will also accept small live or frozen foods. They will eat any fish that can fit into their mouth. Also, they have been know to latch onto the side of larger fish. They can be quite destructive when moving around the tank, lashing plants and dislodging rocks with a swipe of their powerful tails. Plecos will often eat the plants in the aquarium. They grow up to 60 cm, need a pH around 7 and temperature 25'C (http://www.aquariumalgaeeaters.blogspot.com/)

There's a lot to this little guy. A lot I didn't know. For one I didn't know I should be feeding him algae flakes or tablets. I didn't know he could grow quite as large as they say or that when he gets that big it's possible he may even eat my other fish.... yikes. This guy could be just like a monster. At times we all have monsters in our lives don't we. There are all things laying dormant on the bottom of our tanks that we feed and let grow until they take over our lives. At first they seem small and helpless, we feed them and enjoy them. Then before we know what happened they have destroyed everything we hold dear and snack on the bright and colorful healthy areas of our lives for lunch. What area's in my life are monster's lurking in the deep laying shallow and quiet, but growing. What are those things that could potential destroy all I love? I must not become victim to this bottom dweller. If I let it go unchecked. It could ruin everything.

Study | Pt. 1

"The Discipline of study is the primary vehicle to bring us to "think about these things." Study is tied most closely to the discipline of meditation. "Meditation is devotional; study is analytical". It's true that both study and meditation overlap in someways. The third journal entry I did by meditating on God's creative artistry in each of the fish in my fish tank would be tied closely to me studying my fish. However studying examines in more intricate detail the fish and from there creates a framework for the meditation to take a deeper shape. Foster explains that there are four main steps that make up the discipline of study: Repetition, Concentration, Comprehension, and Reflection. Ultimately study requires humility in that "we must be willing to be subject to the subject matter."

For my three times of discipline tonight I will be examining three different items in hopes of getting a better understand of them in order to better understand God through them. Foster calls this the "Study of Nonverbal "Books". I will take from the example in the chapter by watching multiple YouTube videos of moths emerging from chrysalis, as well as re-examining my sucker fish, OS X Leopard, in order to better understand what makes him tick, and finally I'll be listening outside for the bullfrogs that have decided to spring forth from their tadpole state in the pond behind our apartment and researching a bit on them as well. Each of these three will come in the form of a separate blog. I hope you'll enjoy journeying with me.

For my first experience I decided, since my internet speed was lagging like crazy, to head out to my back porch once again and listen to the American bullfrogs that have taken residence around my pond. These frogs sing in chorus. It's like they call out in rhythm to each other. One deep throated frog will call out to the others and they respond in higher pitched ribbit noises. I opened my back door and listened for a bit only to hear nothing. The frogs for whatever reason aren't singing tonight. I wonder if that's how we seem to God sometimes. There are moments in our lives where He calls to us and we answer back to him in a chorus of praise. There are also moments when God calls out to us and we don't answer back. We dive deep under the mud and ignore God. We sink down deep into corners of our hearts we haven't surrendered over to God and we hold on so tight that we don't even answer God when He calls for us. The truth is that God love us and has a plan for our lives to give us hope and a good future. All of that can only happen if we have faith to trust in God and answer when He calls. When has God called to you recently when you have chosen not to answer Him.