Monday, August 29, 2011

With or Without You

Michelle and I spent the weekend in Birmingham, Alabama (yes, that is where they love the gov'ner). Kenny Conley and his team from Gateway Community Church from Austin, TX put on a Children's Ministry Conference called Illuminate #illumin8 that we were able to be a part of. We had such an amazing time meeting people and making new friends who are so passionate about God and kids.
At the morning session Michelle and I were able to just participate in worship, we were not leading or in charge of anything. That is not something we get to do very often. We were able to just enjoy worshiping through music. The music was being lead by worship leader Chuck Hooten, and the message was given by Jim Wideman. As we were there God really impressed on me something that I have always known, but have not thought about in a while. God doesn't need me to do His work for Him. So often I get caught up in set lists, and planning and where we are going and who is playing with us etc. that I forget that He is in control. He doesn't want me doing things for Him, He just wants me.
I really felt God saying "I just want you. I don't want you doing stuff for me, I just want YOU." I have always known this, but it really hit me this week. He will continue His work with or without me, but He wants me to be open to His leading. He wants me to offer Him myself, not my stuff.
Just some of the things bouncing around in my head this week....
Until next time.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

     Hello.  My name is Justin and I am an ice chewer.

     Chewing ice has become an obsession. All I think of day and night, is where can I get my next cup of ice to crunch and chomp.  I like the way it feels...I like the sound of it...I like the tongue numbing cold...I like the release of tension it gives me.  I have my own rating system of where I can get the best ice to chew.  I even have down to a science how long to let the ice sit and how much liquid it needs for optimal chewing depending on where I get the ice.  Chewing ice is my obsession.  It is my only vice. (Well, I guess except for Dr. Pepper, but that's not bad for me, right!?!)
     I have been an ice chewer for most of my life.  I did it off and on when I was growing up, and even stopped for a while, but here in recent years it has taken over my life. I have heard time and time again how bad it is for my teeth, or that I need more Iron in my diet, or that it is just not socially acceptable, but that doesn't stop me.  I spend so much time chewing ice thinking about chewing ice, that Michelle (my wife) has become concerned.  She has asked me over and over to stop, and I try, but I just can't seem to get a hold of it.  I have woken her up by digging in the freezer to get a cup of ice.  I have even taken my cup of ice in the other room so that she wont hear me chomping on it.  It is taking over my life.  As I sit here writing this I am deep into a large cup of wonderful Starbucks ice.
     I am realizing now, that if I spent as much time thinking about how can I worship and serve God today as I do on where my next cup of ice will come from, my day would look very different.  Instead of focusing on myself and my desires, I would be focusing on the people around me and how God could use me.  I would be able to see a bigger that I am not the center of.  One where God would be guiding my day, not my search for the next cup of icy goodness.  I would also be a lot less cold.
     So, today I am making a vow to officially stop chewing ice.  Yes, I am going off ice cold turkey (or would it be warm turkey?)  I am choosing to spend my days differently.  Instead of obsessing about my next cup of ice and spending time chomping it down, I will choose to use that time focusing on God and how I can be used by Him. I will need His help in making this transition to a non ice chewer, and I know that I can trust in Him to help me make it through this.  It sounds like such a simple thing, but I know for me it will be a big change.
     OK. So here we go!  Last cube...crunch...chomp... BURRRR!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The A-Team

     WOW! What an incredible summer!  We had such an amazing time with so many wonderful people!  We spent a lot of time in Truck Norris, and covered a good portion of Texas and Oklahoma, and all the while stayed healthy and happy!  Michelle had so many hats to wear this, merch sales, bass player, back-up singer, road manager, video blog maker and wife, and she ROCKED them all!  I am so honored that she chose me! Gabi was especially wonderful! It is so much fun to see her grow up and discovering God's plan for her life.  She amazes me every day!   Isaac did an killer job on the drums, too! It was such a great team that God put together for this summer camp season!
     We spent the first week and last week of the summer at a place called Camp Egan.  What a wonderful place! Who knew there were such beautiful places in Oklahoma! Josh Pulver and the staff at Camp Egan were so welcoming and friendly, they made us feel right at home!  If you ever get a chance to go to Talequah, Oklahoma, look them up!
     The first two weeks of July were spent with the wonderful people of Camp Zephyr. Shaune Martinez and Tyler Grantham were such wonderful hosts and took great care of us!  Durring that time we did 3 pre-teen camps with almost 500 kids each!   We have loved going to that camp for many years, and this year did not disappoint!  We were to meet and work with some wonderful people.  Audie Lawley, and Bryon Compton, both from the Corpus Christi area,  were such great leaders and have become such wonderful friends! We hope to work with them again soon!  We also had the privilege to work with Kenny Conley from Gateway Community Church in Austin, Tx.  He was such a great communicator and teacher for the kids. He really made God's Word come to life for them, and even us!  Please check out his blog He has some great ideas and wonderful thoughts on kids ministry and church ministry in general.
     It is so amazing to me how God brings so many people together from so many different places and ministries that have not worked together before and does such powerful things!  We can get so wrapped up in planning and preparing that we miss what God has in store for us.  When we get out of the way and seek God's plan and put our own expectations to the side, God moves in ways we never imagined. 
     I can hear God smiling and saying..."I just love it when a plan comes together!"