November 29, 2007

Not Interested!

I spent some time the other morning reading in Galatians 6. When you get to verse 11, Paul takes the pen from the person he's been dictating the letter to and by doing so says, "The rest of what I've got to say is so important I'm gonna write it myself."

In verse 14 Paul says that because of the cross of Christ "my interest in this world are long dead...." This is not something shocking for us to hear Paul declare. We're used to this idea - at least hearing someone like him proclaim it - and it's something we've grown used to knowing we should desire. But then he continues on and he catches me off guard. He says "...and this world's interest in me died long ago." Stop and think about that for a second.

What the heck does that mean? Doesn't that cut against the grain of Christ's mandate to me to be a "light in the darkness"? I'm supposed to have something others see and desire, right? I was just plain flat stumped by this one. Then I think it hit me. The world, and the one who's been given free reign to wreak his own bouts of havoc on it, doesn't bother with those who are clearly, without a doubt, sold out.

Think about this. Do you imagine Satan to be convening with his cohorts around the table about their newest plan to bring down Billy Graham? Can't see it happening. I'm pretty sure they stopped investing any of their time or energy in Billy a long time ago. They know where he stands and that he will not be shaken or fall from the foundation. No, the enemy - the world - spends time waiting, prowling and watching for those who just can't seem to make up their mind.

It's like commercials. Like that BEEF, IT'S WHAT'S FOR DINNER commercial. Do you think that ad is aimed at vegetarians? No way. They're not trying to convince a vegan to chow on some cow. They know there are these millions of people out there who at one time tasted that mouth-watering ribeye and that they must might be able to convince them they need to come have another bite. They're aiming at the undecided.

So, have you decided? Is it crystal clear to the enemy - to the world - where you stand? Or is the only thing that's clear is that you just can't make up your mind?
I wan't to be in that place where the enemy finally says, "We're not wasting our time with Mayfield anymore. It's just not worth it. Not interested!"
Have you made up your mind?

Dig Deeper:
Galatians 6:1-15

November 27, 2007

Life on Planet H-Trae

There's a parallel universe...somewhere on the other side of the sun. We don't want to talk about it or act like it's there because then we'd have to reconcile what would happen if they came and took our stuff or ate all our pie. But trust's there. And crazy things happen in the upside-down world. Things that just wouldn't work here on the "big round ball".

For instance, athletic coaches, country clubs and job supervisors hear things like, "No, I'm sorry. I won't be there because I'll be at a church event" or "I'm sorry but this (game, job, position, blah blah blah) really is not the most important thing in my life."

There are days here on earth that I just wish...for once...I could hear those words come out of someone's mouth about something. I know, I must live in some sort of plastic bubble or I'm detached from reality. Probably. That's where I've always been most at home. Help me out here. Am I crazy? Am I - at 35 - just way too old fashioned? Say it isn't so. But what is it in people's lives these days - especially Christians - that sets the standard and determines the priority?

Maybe that parallel universe isn't really there. Maybe I'm just making the whole thing up. But I'm starting to wish...and hope...that it's out there somewhere.

November 23, 2007


Thankful. Yes I am. So many things to be thankful for. Have you made a list? I think you should. It's helpful everyone once-in-awhile to just put pen to paper and put it out there for your eyes to see - here are all the reasons I have to be grateful, thankful and realize that I am blessed.

Here is my shortlist of what I am thankful for:
My amazing wife who loves me, encourages me & supports me.
Libby & Nathan - my 2 beatiful children who make me want to be a great Dad.
My family - ALL my family.
Dad - that God has chosen to continue to grace us with Dad being here!
My new home. A roof over my head.
Clothing on my back. Food on my table.
Hot water. Cold water. Water period.
That I can run. 22 miles yesterday in fact. 26.2 here I come!
Good music. Really good music.
My jeep that gets me from A to B.
Great friends. Brent, Shawn & Mark - who keep me accountable.

Jesus - thank You for saving me, calling me, redeeming me and allowing me to be called Your own. If we have You, how can we be anything but thankful?
I am thankful.

November 18, 2007

Now is the time

This morning we began our worship service with our Pastor letting the congregation know that a man in our church family was struggling with cancer and needed our prayers. The important thing is that the man was asked to come to the front with our Pastor, his wife and family were asked to join him, and our church family was asked to come and surround the family and lay hands on him.
Without hesitation, 100-150+ people got out of their seats, came forward and "carried each others burdens". It was a beautiful sight.

The music, message and everything else in our service this morning were important, but I believe those first few minutes are defining. They reveal the heart of who we are. They expose the heart of our Pastor and our family. Thank you Father that we have come to the place of recognizing that you have called us to pray. You have called us to lift each other up. Remember, PRAYER is the greater work.

How often does someone share their need with us only to have us affectionately reply, "I'll pray for you." What a load. What a big fat load. When someone lays their burdens out on the table, exposes the hurt or the need, carrying that burden means picking it up then...immediately. WHY do we wait? WHY do we waiver? Are we afraid to pray? Do we not have the time or the patience to just stop and do the greater work?

I thank God for my Dad who always set the example for me to pray NOW. On the phone, in the office, in the airport, at the table. When someone needs prayer...PRAY. I thank God for our Pastor who constantly sets the example that there is no greater work for us corporately than to surround those in our family and approach the Father on their behalf. Prayer is the greater work. Now is the time.

And if the schedule has to be disrupted, if plans have to be put on hold, if the music has to be it. "Always pray".

November 16, 2007

It's Just Hair

Last night my daughter made a serious impression on me. Several months ago we began talking about Locks for Love, the organization that takes peoples hair and uses it to make wigs for cancer patients. Hearing about this, and knowing that her Papa had cancer, Libby spoke up that she wanted to do that. Morgan and I were a little apprehensive, thinking it would be long and hard for Libby to grow her hair out that long. That'll teach me to ever doubt my daughter.

We have a nice long pony tail in a plastic bag that we're sending in honor of my Dad. And Libby has a cute new haircut. But probably most of all I've been taught 2 important things from a 5 year old: 1)if you care too much about what you look like you'll probably miss the heart of who God wants you to be and 2) life is about loving other people. Period.

I can't wait til next week when my Dad arrives and sees this new haircut. Something tells me he'll care a whole lot more that my daughter cut her hair off than he does about losing his.

November 14, 2007

Shake it up!

So here I am, sitting in my office...staring at the screen...sitting in this same black chair...tick tock...tick tock.... Is it just me or do we all get in this funk every now and then where we feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day? I'm looking around thinking, "When did I let all this junk start piling up on my desk? Why are those stupid boxes still sitting in the corner? Why on God's green earth do I have a pair of roller blades in my office? Am I here? Is this really me?" Sort of sounds like a Talking Heads song.

I pride myself in being an advocate and an agent of change - in my life and in the lives of people around me. But there are times you just seem to let it go and all of a sudden...there you are. In the funk. Floating on your back in the cesspool of complacency, enjoying a siesta. Could someone get me one of those drinks with an umbrella in it?

So I've decided that it's time once again for some change. Those who've worked with me or been around me enough know that when this happens it's best to stand at a distance and look out for flying objects. I'm not sure what will have to go...or what will have to change...but something's gotta give.

This is who we are. We get comfortable and if we don't do something about it the rest is history. Not the kind of history you read about in books, but the kind that causes you to wake up one day and wonder, "When did I start wearing these ugly pants and combing my hair this way? And why has no one stopped me?"

I beg of you - WAKE UP! Shake it up. Throw yourself a curve ball (if that can actually be done) and shock some life back into the soul.
And by the way, does anyone need a pair of roller blades?

November 12, 2007

My Secret Life

I read this morning in Romans 2:16 where Paul tells us that " day God...will judge everyone's secret life." (my paraphrase)

There will come a day when we are judged by our creator and redeemer for the things we did in private, the thoughts that filled our mind, the things we thought no one knew about. These are the times & things that define who we truly are. As I read this the only thing I could think was, "I don't want a secret life!"

Here's the solution: accountability. [Oh, here he goes again. If I hear this accountability hoo ha again I'm gonna be sick.] Sorry. I had a small Jim Gaffigan moment there. Yes, accountability. And in case we're questioning what that really means, it's open, forthright, honesty with someone you can trust. It's the guardian of your integrity.

We can expose the things inside ourselves and ask God to purify our hearts, change us and give us a desire to run after Him. Or we can just wait for the day when all the "secrets" will be brought to light. And we can answer for it then.
I think I'd rather shorten that future Q & A time down a little.

For more:
Ephesians 5

November 8, 2007

The Greater Work

Just recently I read in My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers makes the statement that "Prayer does not fit us for the greater work. It is the greater work." Ouch.

I think most of us see prayer as this vehicle that gets me WHAT God wants me to have or moves me to WHERE God wants me to be. As if prayer is the great "assister" in the grand scheme. Prayer is not the vehicle, it's the destination. God desires me on my knees, on my face, communing with Him.

I often find myself wanting more to be used by God for His purposes than wanting to hang out at His feet and fellowship with Him. I'm missing the point.
Prayer is the greater work.

Ephesians 4:6-7
Matthew 26: 40-41
Mark 9:29
James 5:16
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17
2 Chronicles 7:14


November 4, 2007

What Sunday Mornings Tell Us

Over the last few years I have wrestled with the issue of "the Sabbath". What I mean is, I've struggled with how heavily I'm supposed to hold people responsible for being at "church" - you know, showing up at the building - and to what extent that is someone's personal responsibitity and choice.

In Romans 14 Paul says that one person thinks "one day is more holy than another, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter." This was a brick upside my head a couple of years ago to back off and get off other people's case. But, there are so many other scriptures that talk about honoring the Sabbath (take Isaiah 58:13 as one example). The issue for me: how accountable are we to hold each other? Is it someone else's business? I'll leave it with a question mark.

All of this being said, I've come to a conclusion this morning. Regardless of what someone's decision with what they do on Sunday morning matter what they do, where they go, how long they sleep...Sunday mornings tell us something. They reveal priorities. They reveal to us and the rest of the world what our priority is and what we consider important. Here's what I mean. A family may not be present on Sunday at your service because their son/daughter is playing soccer. But what if that family (yes, the family) has intentionally invested in that soccer team to build relationships and impact lives for the Kingdom - are they using their Sabbath wisely? I would tend to think, Yes. But if you're at home, in your bed, and you just couldn't seem to drag yourself out because of that late night you had and all that stuff you've got to do today...well, you think about it.

And is it possible to be a leader in any regard when your presence and contribution is as inconsistent as the weather in Texas? Can people follow you or count on you when they don't even know if you're going to show up? Again, think about it.

Paul said that "Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter." Do you? Have you prayed about what you do with your Sabbath? Where you spend it? How you feel at the end of it? Have you communed with God? Have you had fellowship with God's people? Or do you finish your weekend in need of another weekend...and on and on?

Sunday mornings tell us something. We may not want to hear it, but they do. What are Sunday mornings telling you?

November 2, 2007

The Weight of Ministry

I remember in February of 1991 when I walked down the aisle of my church and made it official to the whole world (the whole world of Fielder Road Baptist Church, anyways) that God was calling me to surrender to full-time ministry. I remember the joy from making that public knowledge - the accountability and encouragement that came with it. I remember how elated my Mom & Dad were, believing for years that God was preparing me for something special. I remember a lot of memorable and amazing ups & downs that came along with this over the next years, all affirming that God had indeed brought me into this world to serve Him.

But I also remember in 1992 I was playing the drums at a statewide college conference in Texas. A pastor-friend of my Dad's was there and had heard about my decision to go into full-time ministry. After the conference was over we had a chance to talk for a few minutes. This is where he stunned me. I remember like it was yesterday his words: "Brian, I want to encourage you; if you can do anything else in this world and love it and enjoy that."
In other words: if you can be a disc jockey, an architect, a teacher, a coach, a dentist...ANYTHING...and enjoy that instead. Don't go into full-time ministry.


I remember thinking, "My Dad's gonna sock him in the mouth when I tell him what he said." To my surprise, my Dad didn't want to sock him. He wanted to thank him. And I was one confused collegiate. Pastors running around telling people, "Run for your lives...don't do it!" Was he serious?

Fast forward 15 years. I can recall right off the top of my head (which doesn't happen easily anymore) at least 5 conversations I have had in recent years where I have expressed this same advice and encouragement to young people seeking the Lord's will for their lives. WHY? Because - as I have been reminded of so clearly these last few months - if God has not called you, shaped you, prepared you and set you on fire to do this - to serve Him and PEOPLE - you will go down with the ship. The mutiny will crush you and suck the life right out of you.

Jesus didn't equate himself with a shepherd for no good reason. He's asking, "Do you have what it takes to be a shepherd? Do you have the patience? The perseverance? The humility? Do you like sheep? Do you love sheep?"

"If you love me...feed my sheep." I have no other Plan B...nothing. And there are so many days (and nights) when I just wish God would drop me a Plan B, give me a loophole or an escape route. But it doesn't come. And in the end, I would have no idea what to do, where to go, or WHO I was pretending to be.

Humility. Patience. Perseverance. Compassion. Brokenness. Passion.
These are the things I ask for. These are the things You have asked of me.
These are the desire of my heart.

Stinky Shepherd