Monday, March 30, 2015

Encouraging feedback

Last week, a student came to my office to tell me that he had been offered a job.  He told me that I spoke at the first ASCE meeting that he attended, and I inspired him to focus on environmental engineering.  He told me that he sincerely appreciated everything that I had done for him.

It is easy to get busy with proposals and papers and forget what I'm here for.  I need to stay focused on helping students.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to impact and inspire students.  Please help me stay focused on being a servant.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Simple church

Last night, we had prayer and praise in our homegroup, and I felt like it was really genuine fellowship. It has been a while since I felt focused and united in worship and heartfelt prayers.  I felt quieted.

Heavenly Father, thank you for close brothers and sisters to walk with in pursuing you.  Lord, may we all go on to greater heights with you.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

take up your cross daily

I feel like the Lord is leading me through a tough season right now.  My boys are young, and I need to be consistent in spending quantity and quality time with them.  I have a lot of work responsibilities, and Brandi has been very patient with me and understanding of the sacrifices in time, but I can't take that for granted.   I have several new research projects, and I am working on a few other proposals, but the pressure to publish papers is greater than ever.  And on top of all of that, I am serving in leadership with my church.

Yesterday, I felt really stressed at work.  Last night, after having dinner with my family and going for a walk, I heard a song on the radio that repeated the phrase, "I will stand my ground."  I felt like the Lord was helping me see that, in the middle of competing pressures of life, as disciples of Christ, we must persevere.  I think this is communicated in Luke 9:23-24.

23 Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

We face death all day long, but we will overcome.  We must persevere; we must remain faithful. Consider it pure joy. This is how we grow.

Heavenly Father, I still haven't actualized the joy part, but I think I can see that you are trying to help me grow in maturity to be joyful in all circumstances and to deliver me from my immaturity of whining about life's difficulties.  Lord, may your peace and joy attend my way, and may the death of my flesh reveal your Spirit within me.  Lord, I believe you for the victory over sin and death, and I trust that you will give me the strength to persevere.  Holy Spirit, anoint me with your presence, authority, and power, and may I be an agent of the Kingdom.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

you can't stop growing

I made some malt-o-meal for Beau, Jude, and myself this morning, but Jude didn't want to eat it.  I told him that he needed to eat to grow.  He said that he didn't want to grow, so he didn't need to eat it.  I told him that God made our bodies so that they are programmed to grow.  If you don't get the food, exercise, and rest that your body needs to grow, then you will get sick.  

I think there is a good spiritual analogy here.  You can't coast in your relationship with Christ.  If you are not getting enough to eat, then you will be malnourished and sick.

Heavenly Father, please help me get the food, exercise, and rest that I need to grow in spiritual maturity.  Especially the rest.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why I do what I do

I have had conversations recently with several friends about what motivates me to be a workaholic and consistently overcommit my time.  I am a people-pleaser.  I want people to like me.  I want people to think that I am reliable. 

Unfortunately, I don't usually see how, by overcomitting, I am stealing time from my relationship with God and my relationships with my family.  Brandi has already sacrificed a lot for me to invest in my career and professional development.  And I have missed a lot of time with my boys.  I can't keep living this way.

I have to learn to define boundaries.   I really need to sort out what God has called me to do and how to respond in obedience.  Then I would have a clear understanding of what I need to say "no" to so that I can say "yes" to what God wants me to do.

Heavenly Father, please help me know you, listen to you, and obey you.  Lord, please help me care more about pleasing you than people.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.

Friday, March 13, 2015

my wife is a pastor

The thought just occurred to me this morning in the shower that my wife is a pastor.  She pastors three boys almost 24-7, and she serves as a coordinator for our local Mothers of PreSchoolers (MOPS) group.  She shepherds several ladies within our congregation, checking on them throughout the week, sending them encouraging notes, etc.

The Apostle Paul was a bivocational evangelist during part of his ministry, and I guess Brandi and I are bivocational team.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Brandi.  Thank you for how strong she is.  Lord, please bless her with encouragement and renewed strength.  Bless her with wisdom and tenderness as she shepherds our boys and other ladies.  Lord, please speak to her and give her fresh words from you to share with those whom she shepherds.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

feeling like a failure

Wow.  Almost two weeks without writing a blog.  Not good.  Haven't been so consistent in my prayer walking, either.

Rhett's first birthday party was pretty good.  Invited our home group.  It was good.

Well, my attempt at planning a three-day quasi-camping trip was a failure.  Didn't click the "confirm" button on the camping cabin reservation, so we only spent one night in a motel instead of two nights in a cabin.  Got to White Sands on Monday and played for about an hour and a half and then it started raining.  Hiking trail that we drove an hour out of the way for on Tuesday was closed.  

God sort of answered one of my prayers.  Rhett slept through the night several nights ago.  But he hasn't since then.  I guess I need to be more specific in my prayers.

Heavenly Father, I am tired.  I'm tired of being tired.  I want to believe that you are good and that you have great things in store, but it is tough to believe that when so many people in the Scriptures experienced so much pain.  I just want to know the objective function that I should be optimizing.  Obviously, it is not pleasure or pain, but some mysterious combination.  Maybe righteousness?  Glory?  It would be really cool to see you do something nice.  I wish I was more mature than that.  I don't want to sound like the Pharisees asking Jesus for a sign to prove that He was from God.  But I would like to see you move the way you did with Jesus and the Apostles.  They healed people, cast out demons, and preached the Kingdom.  Wouldn't it be cool if we were doing what Jesus did?  Holy Spirit, please make something happen.  I love you, and I pray in the name of Jesus.