Tuesday, July 17, 2018

In honor of Greg Hunt

This past Sunday, after 12 years of leadership, Greg resigned as pastor of Paseo, and we had the privilege of gathering around him and his family and praying over him.

As I have reflected on how God has used Greg's leadership to influence me, I am thankful for these principles that Greg has prioritized:
- Everyday sacredness. Every moment of every day, big or small, is holy because we spend it in the presence of God.
- Missio Dei.  We are joining God in His mission.  God is at work, and we are collaborating with Him in the renewal of all things.
- Make a difference by showing people practical love in your community around you.  It is not enough to say that you love God; demonstrate it by how you actively treat people with love and grace.
- The integration of missiology, christology, and ecclesiology are essential for a growing church.
- Homegroups are foundational for living out a discipling, nurturing, and apastolic culture.

I will miss Greg and his drive to "charge the next hill!", but I'm thankful that our friendship can continue.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the past eight years of walking through church leadership with Greg and the ways that you have grown me by working with him. I know that you will bless the next chapter in Greg's life, as well as Paseo's.  I love you.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Hosting the Holy Spirit and listening

As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
Ezekiel 2:2 NIV

Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet. He spoke to me and said: ...
Ezekiel 3:24 NIV

As followers of Jesus, we are blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Before Jesus, only a select few were blessed with hosting the Holy Spirit, but in Christ, we are all hosts.

One of the key benefits of hosting the Holy Spirit is hearing Him speak, personally.  The God of the universe wants to speak directly and personally into our lives, and He wants us to share our loving relationship with Him with the people around us.

Father, thank you for your presence, and thank you for speaking.  I want to be a good host, and I want to listen and obey.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Thankful for God's blessings through promotion

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as the Director of UTEP's Center for Inland Desalination Systems (as of July 1).  

I am realizing that it is the Lord who gives promotion.  Over the past several years, I remember many times at home in front of the sink with a pile of dishes and asking God to sort out my task list at work because I knew it honored Him for me to spend time taking care of my family.

On Saturday and Sunday, I spent time in prayer dedicating myself to the Lord in this position of leadership.  I am reminded of how it is my job to be humble and obedient and leave favor and promotion up to the Lord.

Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4 NIV

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:10 NIV

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 NIV

As I've been discussing this with Brandi, I have had some fears of inadequacy.  Sunday I told Brandi how at each stage of promotion, I have had fears of failing out.  I was afraid of failing out of college, then grad school, then not getting tenure.  At lunch on Sunday, I asked Brandi to speak truth over me, and she said that while this opportunity of leadership is new to me, God has seen it from before time, and He has good plans for me.  It is a lie that I am not good enough and that I am going to fail at this position because Christ is in me, and He is good enough, and He has already overcome sin and death.  

I will not allow fear of failure to undermine my joy and impact in this position. I know that it is God's will to do good things through me (Eph 2:10), and I walk in His grace and favor because I am a son of God.  I will humbly walk in confidence of the Lord's goodness.

Father, you are good, and you are loving.  Jesus, I live for your life to be manifested through me.  Holy Spirit, I want to walk in your supernatural anointing in this position.  Thank you for granting me favor.  I humbly acknowledge your grace, and I will continue to do so. Father, use me to touch people all over the world with your love.  Dispense your living water through me.  I love you.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

In honor of Tom Davis

Tom Davis passed away on April 25, 2018, and I had the privilege of speaking at his memorial service in El Paso two weeks ago.

I met Tom and Pollyana at an American Membrane Technology Association conference in Austin in 2009, and I was so excited to hear someone else speaking about electrodialysis!  Later, Tom invited me to apply for a faculty position at UTEP.  

Tom was sincerely enthusiastic about his work, and he believed in what he worked on.  He loved inventing and figuring things out. 

Tom loved sweets, especially cake, and when we would celebrate someone's birthday, he would have an extra piece of cake on behalf of one of our gluten-free colleagues.  Sometimes he and I would even have a third piece.

Tom was polite and showed genuine hospitality. He had a sincere smile and his whole chest shook when he laughed (like Santa Claus).   Tom loved to sing, and he was a good singer.  

The joy of the Lord was evident in Tom.   I want to be a joyful person like Tom.

Friday, May 25, 2018

I am a dwelling place, and I want to be a good one

Psalms 132:1‭-‬5 TPT
Lord, please don't forget all the hardships David had to pass through. And how he promised you, Jacob's mighty God, saying, "I will not cross the threshold of my own home to sleep in my own bed. I will not sleep or slumber, nor even take time to close my eyes in rest, until I find a place for you to dwell, O mighty God of Jacob. I devote myself to finding a resting place for you!"

I am a temple of God, and the Holy Spirit lives within me.  Like King David, I want to be passionate about God's dwelling place.  I don't want to be slack about me being a good temple.  I want to be a place where He enjoys resting.  I want to be a good host.

Heavenly Father, you are always welcome in my spirit, soul, and body.  Jesus, thank you for being an example of a good host.  Holy Spirit, make yourself at home, and please remodel or rearrange anything you want in me.  I love you, and I want to be a good host.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Justice and mercy through Jesus (God)

I was impressed this morning by the connections between Matthew 10 and Micah 7. Jesus said:

Matthew 10
34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
"'a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36     a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

The verse from Micah that Jesus quotes is bookended by statements of God coming to visit, which Jesus fulfills incarnationally.

Micah 7
4 The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright worse than a thorn hedge.
The day God visits you has come,
    the day your watchmen sound the alarm.
    Now is the time of your confusion.
5 Do not trust a neighbor;
    put no confidence in a friend.
Even with the woman who lies in your embrace
    guard the words of your lips.
6 For a son dishonors his father,
    a daughter rises up against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man's enemies are the members of his own household.
7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

And why did He come?  Because He loves us.

Micah 7
18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your love and mercy shown through sending Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for bearing our sins on the cross.  I love you.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Iterative implementation

Like multiple terms of a Taylor series are needed for accurate approximation, I am slowly but progressively implementing some spiritual revelations.

Last year at Brandi's parents' church meeting, some elders prayed for me for healing my back.  As they were praying, they shared a word of knowledge that I needed some deep emotional healing.  I have been trying to figure out what that is.  

I have been reading this book about birth order, and the chapter on firstborns has really resonated with me, particularly about the high self-expectation personality trait.  I have realized that I tend to say yes to many things because I feel obligated, and I am beginning to have the courage to say no to requests of me.

Recently my mom encouraged me to proactively release any bitterness or disappointment, which often come from unmet expectations.  

I have been praying a general prayer of release and declaring freedom of (1) any expectations that I have for other people, (2) any expectations of other people on me, and (3) any of my expectations of myself.  On Wednesday, I had to give a practice presentation to an inter-institutional research team, and I was very stressed about it.  I spoke to my mom that morning on the way to work, and I realized as I was talking with her that I needed to begin to apply this release of expectations to specific deliverables.  So when I got to my office, I declared freedom of expectations about that presentation, and my attitude began to shift from apprehension and anxiousness to genuine enjoyment.  

I can tell that I still need more terms in the series, but I feel like I am making progress.

Father, your approval is all I need, and you already approve of me because I am your son, and you see on me the perfect righteousness of Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for living a life of singular focus on love lived out through the will of the Father.  Holy Spirit, break off any expectations of me that are not from the Father, and remove any bitterness or disappointment from my heart.  I want to be free from disappointment, bitterness, and fear.  Those are not of you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.