Saturday, August 30, 2014


Beau woke me up this morning (in the middle of a dream that I was an archeologist) and wanted to go for a walk.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldnt, so we got up, got dressed, then Jude woke up, got him dressed, and went for a walk.

On our walk, I picked what looked like a ripe desert willow seed pod to try to sprout some seedlings.  (I was previously successful, but when I transfered them to a planter, someone flooded it with water and killed them.)  On our way back to the house, Beau asked where plants came from, and I told him that plants grow from seeds.  He asked, amazed, "All plants come from seeds?"  I answered,  "Yes", a slight over-generalization, but I figured we could discuss rizomes, grafting, etc at a later time.

Yesterday, a former student came by my office to discuss preparation for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.  She also asked about maintaining your faith in a tough working environment.   I don't know that I had anything to say that was particularly revelational, but I hope that our conversation was a seed of encouragement.

Later that afternoon,  I was returning to my office from the lab, and I saw one of my colleagues standing in the hall with a stressed look on his face.  I asked him if he was taking a break, and he said that he had to step away from his computer for a few minutes.  I suggested that we go throw the Frisby outside for a few ninutes, which we did.  I hope that our brief chat and Frisby toss was a seed of peace and encouragement.

The amazing thing about planting seeds is that it really doesn't take that much work.  You can plant a lot of seeds.  (Now, three of the four soil types will not produce a harvest, but maybe we can be optimistic and realistic, simultaneously.) 

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to plant your seeds of Gospel truth and spiritual life.  Lord, may I be faithful to plant lots of seeds and trust that you will water them, grow them, cultivate them, and produce a harvest for yourself.  I want to participate in your kingdom. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, August 29, 2014

So that by all possible means

1CO 9:19-24 NIV

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.   Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

Is that really the way that I live?  Am I trying to connect with all people?  Or are there some who I don't really try to engage, either because of cultural differences,  or just because I am lazy. 

Am I running to win?  Athletes go into strict training, if they really want to win.

Heavenly Father, I want to press on toward the prize for which you are calling me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  I want to run the race with perseverance.   I want to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.   Lord, please help me keep my priorities straight.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

opportunity to impact

1 Cor 8

Yesterday, I think my classes went much better than my first class on Monday.  I hope that our introductions and discussions were engaging.

I was impressed with how many international students I have in my classes this semester - Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, and Iran.  I have an opportunity to impact students from four continents this semester.  That is pretty cool.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to engage people from around the world.  Lord Jesus, you have called me salt and light; I pray that I will be salty and bright.  May I be a useful vessel for you to dispense yourself.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good prayers

We had good prayer time last night at our homegroup.  I was really encouraged through praying together. 

And I think it carried over into my prayer walk this morning.  I felt like I really prayed what I was supposed to pray.  Not that I should be governed by feelings, but it is encouraging when you feel like you are connecting with God.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your kindness.  Thank you for always being with me.  Help me remember and be confident of your presence.  I want to walk with you and keep in step with you. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First day of school

1 Cor 7

I was nervous on Saturday and Sunday, but as I was driving to school yesterday morning, I was getting excited about teaching.  I prayed about my teaching, and I dedicated this semester to the Lord.

And then the computer didn't work in my first class.  Sure was frustrating.   I didn't blow my top, but I have to admit that it was pretty discouraging.  I hope my students don't think that I am incompetent.  And I hope that I can keep my chin up and maintain a good attitude.

I also need to work on not allowing frustration to turn into anger or bitterness.  The enemy likes to discourage.

Heavenly Father,  thank you for your faithfulness.   Please help me be faithful.  Deliver me from the world and my flesh.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. May I keep in step with the Holy Spirit. I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Spirit-filled, Spirit-led

1 Corinthians 2:4, 10-12 NLT

And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. ... it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets. No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit. And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

I am growing in the realization of how much we need to be tuned in to the Spirit.   We recieve the Holy Spirit in faith, but it seems to me that we need to actively submit ourselves to listen and obey Him.

His Spirit is in me, and I have the opportunity to know the thoughts of God.  That's pretty incredible when you think about it.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence through the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for revealing yourself to me.  Lord, may I be faithful to share you with others.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Romans 15

Friends are an important part of the growth process.  In this chapter, Paul lists many Brothers and Sisters.  Today, I am thankful for the people in my homegroup; they help me grow, learn, and they believe in me, even when I don't believe in myself.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the friends who have helped me grow in my walk with you.  I want to grow more; I want to know you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

great friends, great life

Romans 11

On Sunday, as we were driving into Austin, Brandi posted on Facebook a general invitation for all of our Austin friends to join us at a burger and ice cream place (with a playground) on Monday evening.  We were so blessed that several families came to eat with us, and it was so encouraging to visit with them!  After a few minutes of catching up, I thought it was awesome that our conversation naturally transitioned into discipleship and applied theology.  I also realized that 60% of the families that came had financially supported my mission trip to Ecuador a month ago.  Man, I miss these folks!

As I think about the Lord blessing me with another year of life, I think about how He has blessed me with so many good relationships.  First of all, He has blessed me with a relationship with Himself; I want to be genuinely grateful for His grace and mercy every day.  

I am so grateful for such a loving and forgiving wife; she has given me many second-chances.  I am also grateful for three healthy sons. It is a privilege to train these boys to be disciples of Christ.  And I am so thankful for parents who taught me to follow Christ, and for brothers who encourage me and challenge me in my walk with Him. 

I am thankful for a heritage of grandparents who followed Jesus.  I am thankful for the many people who have discipled me throughout the years: Rick, Neill, Russ, Jason, Mitch, Ken, Jon, Mark, RF, Greg, and Steve.  These men have made such an impact on me.  

And, I am thankful for a vocation of teaching, researching, and serving clean water and sharing the Living Water.

Isaiah 61  
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a ]2        to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Heavenly Father, thank you so much for great friends and family who love you and love us.  To whom much is given, much is expected.  Lord Jesus, may my life be useful and profitable in advancing your Kingdom.  Holy Spirit, more than any other year, I pray that this year I will listen to you daily, moment by moment, and walk in obedience as you pour the love and life of Christ through me and empower me to make disciples.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


ROM 6:3-7 NIV
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.   For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Wow.  Baptism is pretty important.  I would dare to say, necessary (but insufficient).  Of course, the first counter argument is the thief on the cross next to Jesus.  Not sure how to reconcile that.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the ordinance of baptism.  Thank you for the opportunity to be baptized into the death of Christ.  Wow, that is pretty incredible.  Thank you for the opportunity to be dead to sin and made alive in Christ. Lord Jesus, thank you for the hope of resurrection life.  Holy Spirit, thank you for living in me and empowering me to live the resurrection life.  May your life and power be shown clearly through me.  Forgive me for darkening your light, especially to my wife and boys.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Romans 5:1-5 NLT
Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Jude puked twice last night, and Rhett couldn't breathe because he was so congested.  I dont know how Brandi is so resilient, because I know that she is exhausted.

The Scripture says we can rejoice when we face trials of many kinds because endurance feels so good.  Wait.  That's not what it says.  Endurance hurts, but pain is temporary,  and it points us to eternal glory. And we are reminded of the suffering and endurance of Christ.  Our character is being shaped into the character of Christ, and He ahows His love and hope ever more clearly through us.

Romans 5:17 NLT
For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and mercy shown through Jesus Christ.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence, and thank you for strengthening us.  Please give Brandi strength. Jesus, thank you for your victory over sin and death.  Please help us live in awareness of your eternal reality, in spite of these temporary trials.  Please fill us with your peace, hope, and love.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Resting in Cloudcroft

Man, I need to do this more often. 
I need to spend more time with my wife and boys.  We went for a walk this afternoon, and it was so refreshing. I really enjoy holding Brandi's hand.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to come here and rest. Thank you for the hospitality of my aunt and uncle.  I praise you for the beauty of the trees, the crisp stillness of the air, and the golden sun on the horizon.  Please help me breathe.  Help me see past the stupid rat race and focus on loving you and expanding your kingdom.  Please help me see from your perspective.   I love you, and I want to walk with you.  I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sad day

Romans 1

We found out today that my cousin's baby died just a few weeks before full term.

It is situations like these when we must fight to believe that God is good and that His plans for us are good. We have to realize that our perspective of "good" is limited.  We have an opportunity here to continue to thank Him and praise Him in all circumstances. We have to set our minds on the spirit.  Relentlessly.

Heavenly Father, thank you for faith in Jesus Christ.  Thank you for the life of this child.  I praise you because I know that he was fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are sovereign over all things.  You are good and kind; you are faithful and just, even when I don't feel like you are. My perspective is limited, but you know all things. I choose to believe in you; I choose to trust you and follow you.  Holy Spirit, would you please minister your comfort and peace to everyone involved in this situation?  I trust you to work all things for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.