Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm Not a Serious Christian

I took Macy and Mallory to see the movie Soul Surfer last week. It's the story of Bethany Hamilton's remarkable recovery after being attacked by a shark. The movie shows how her faith in Christ helped her find life again. After the movie Macy said that Bethany Hamilton was a serious Christian! She also said that after watching the movie she knew that she was not a serious Christian and wondered when she would be.

I was curious as to what serious Christian meant to her so I asked her to explain. She said she wasn't exactly sure but she knew I was one and Mommy was one and Grandpa Mac was one. She went onto explain it's people who read their bible a lot and pray and stuff. She said she thinks about other stuff sometimes - she doesn't just always think about Jesus. I think what Macy meant by a serious Christian was someone whose faith in Jesus changed the way they live.

In that moment I wanted to encourage her because she seemed a little down by it, but I could sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to just wait. So I didn't say much.

Then tonight something happened at her basketball practice where Macy said something that caused one of her team mates to cry. Macy found out after practice that this girl was really upset by it. Macy was very troubled when she realized she hurt her friends feelings. She felt like she didn't mean what she had said in a bad way, but nonetheless it wounded her friend.

So Macy thought about it for a while. Then she decided to track down her friends phone number and she called her to apologize, but also to let her friend know how much she meant to her. I listened to the phone call and Macy was crying as she confronted her own mishap.

Macy did several things here that I personally think are pretty amazing. First of all, she admitted her own mistake. Then she actually did something to correct it. But she went beyond all of this and made sure to build her friend up. These are the kind of actions that strengthen friendships and build character.

After her call I asked her how it felt. She was still a little upset by everything until I told her this: "Macy - do you realize that you are a serious Christian? Anyone in the world can make a mistake... in fact everyone does make mistakes. But because you have Christ in your heart, you decided you couldn't live without making your mistake right. Now that is a serious Christian!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sign of the Times

This is a note from my brother Mike about his teenage son:

Sign of the Times
Yesterday I received our mobile phone bill. Nickolas sent and received 13,963 texts last month. And spoke a grand total of 13 minutes on his cell the entire month.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What is a Trader?

A Trader is a new kind of missionary, not defined by geography, but defined by a resolve to …

• CHOOSE DAILY to sacrifice our time and money to apply the parable of the Good Samaritan and to "go and do likewise."

• HATE INJUSTICE and find specific ways to bring the hope found in Jesus to desperate situations.

• WORK AS WORSHIP because God is glorified when we use our God-given passions and skills with excellence.

• ACT SWIFTLY because the time is RightNow!

Trading in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Back from Haiti

I am back from Jacmel, Haiti and had a great trip. It has been 10 years since I have been to Haiti and to be honest with you it doesn’t look very different than it did the last time I was there. The needs are overwhelming. The poverty is extreme. The people are jobless. The children are uneducated. But… the people are resilient.

We met some amazing folks who are doing great work establishing the church in Haiti. Consider Danny & Leann Pye…

Danny is 29 years old and he is a Trader. He and his wife moved to Haiti six years ago as missionaries and established an orphanage where they parent 21 Haitians from ages 7 to 21 (they have already had three kids grow up and start their lives as adults). They have a baby of their own who is three years old. The Pyes have also rejuvenated a once dying church that now has more than 700 people in attendance each week. They launched a school that educates and feeds hundreds of children each day. Of course, they don’t do it alone. They have three other families in their ministry and they are all serving with them.

Two days before the earthquake Leann had a miscarriage and their world was rocked. On the evening of the earthquake they began a refugee camp in their garden and started to house and care for an additional 120 people beyond their family. They had serious injuries to deal with and no hospital or medical care available. The next day and Danny had the foresight to go to the airport (less than 2 miles from their house) where he discovered total chaos. From what I can understand Danny took over the airport and was instrumental in getting aid to Jacmel. The airport had previously not allowed any international travel, but Danny was able to get planes coming in from the Dominican Republic with crates of beans, rice, water and tents for shelter. Danny contacted four organizations to distribute the goods. A warehouse was secured and the goods were being distributed right away. You can read more about Danny and his amazing friends on Oprah.Com – where they have an article detailing their work in the days after the Quake

Meanwhile, Leann became very sick. She had to be evacuated to Florida and sent to intensive care. After days of testing, she was diagnosed with a rare virus. Danny was unable to accompany Leann to Florida, because the needs in Jacmel were so tremendous. Leann came back to Haiti after a week in the US. She is still sick – the meds will take 3 weeks to 3 months to kick in and heal her.

Danny told us that two thirds of all the missionaries in Haiti left immediately after the earthquake. He was told that more than half of them will never return. He said that the comfort and security of the US is very appealing in times like these, but his resolve is stronger than that desire. He and Leann will stay in Haiti.

Danny and Leann have not been able to deal with the loss of their own child, because they don’t have that luxury right now. Danny told us that they know that they will eventually need to mourn and grieve that loss, but that the current situation dictates that they be strong for others.
1. Pray for Danny and Leann – for healing, for rest and the work they are doing.
2. Pray for the continued resilience of the people of Haiti.
3. Pray for the churches in Haiti to boldly proclaim the Gospel while meeting the tangible needs of the people.

The amazing thing is that Danny is not down or depressed. He is extremely hopeful. He hasn’t said “why me” – but instead embraces the unique role God has given him. Danny’s vision has actually increased in the last two months. He believes that God will use him in even greater ways. Danny is 29 years old and he is a Trader.

Monday, March 08, 2010


This is a picture of Haiti from 25,000 feet. We have just arrived in
Jacmel and are ready to get to work.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Great Day in History

On December 2nd, 1995 she said I do! And I have lived a charmed life ever since! Robin is amazing - words could never express what she means to me. What we have is better than anything Hollywood could dream up. What we have is a gift from God. Thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Today I Drink... Water!

Today I drink… water! I will drink something else at some point, but I am amazed at how much this tiny lifestyle change has affected me for the good. I really can’t point yet to any physical good that drinking water only has done for my body, but I’m confident its there. What has amazed me is the mental good that it has done. I just feel better. And as silly as it seems it is really refreshing to not have any beverage options anymore. I’ve often heard that simplifying your life brings more freedom than regret and I think that must be true. Drinking only water has given me a sense of freedom that is strange to me.

Like I said before, I will drink something other than water, but I will probably stick to mostly water. And I am certainly willing to go on another water only streak if I can get some people to join me. So let me give you a little insight into what I did with drinking only water and why it even matters.

When I measured how much I drank in November of 2008, I also measured how much I spent. Two things about this exercise were very alarming to me: how little water I actually drank and how much money I spent on beverages. I was spending an average of $28 a week on drinks alone! That seemed pretty high to me, but when you factor in the 7/11 coffee every morning, another stop or two at 7/11 during the day for a 44 ounce Diet drink, a Gatorade or two, a couple of cans of Diet Dew at night, and a trip to Starbucks each week – you get to $28 a week.

So I decided to take that $28 each week and donate it to The Last Well where we are helping to eradicate the water crisis in Liberia. In fact, in less than 6 years Liberia will be the first African nation to have clean, safe drinking water for every single citizen! It costs $1 to provide the water needed for one Liberian for one year. So by $28 per week will help 28 people for an entire year… every single week! And it’s not even money that I’m donating as much as it is money that I’m redirecting. I was spending it on myself, and this tiny sacrifice allows me to spend it on Liberia.

As I got through my first week last December and I knew that this was going to be easier than I initially thought I started to think about my friend Scott’s advice to get other people involved in it. I began asking friends one by one to do an H2Only challenge with me – where they would drink nothing but water for one week and take the money they saved on not buying beverages and donate it to The Last Well. I would typically ask people to agree to donate $20 for a week –that way they are helping 20 people have clean, safe drinking water for one year. One week of small sacrifice for 20 people to have one year of fresh water – what a deal!

Since the first week is by far the hardest, I would typically ask my friends to consider doing it another week and to recruit someone to do it with them. Most people took the challenge and kept going!

Let me know if you want to take the H2Only Challenge. I’ll do it with you… because you’ll probably need someone to kick you in the butt in those first few days when you will be tempted to raise money to build a Starbucks in Liberia instead of water wells. Yes – the first few days do stink – so load up on the Advil, but it does get better. Much better!

Here is the link to donate to the Last Wellbe sure to type in the word RightNow under the climbers name so we can measure how much money we raise!

Here is a recap of what I drank in November of 2008:

30% of what I drank was Diet Coke/Diet Dr Pepper - 976 ounces – good with any meal
19.5% of what I drank was Gatorade – 636 ounces – for that deep down body thirst
14% of what I drank was Diet Mountain Dew – 452 ounces - must have been a slow month
13% of what I drank was 7/11 Coffee – 432 ounces – used to begin each day at 7/11
6% of what I drank was Starbucks – 200 ounces – all types of drinks!
5.5% of what I drank was water – 188 ounces – it made the list!
5.5% of what I drank was fake beer – 180 ounces – someone had given me a 12 pack so I took it down
4.5% of what I drank was juice – 144 ounces – I think it was OJ when I was sick
1% of what I drank was milk – 36 ounces – I think I had dozen brownies with that

Here is a recap of what I drank over the last 12 months:
100% of what I drank was water – 39,228 ounces – mostly from the tap!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 365

Day 365

I seriously can’t believe it. I have had nothing but water to drink for 365 days! This crazy idea of mine started on November 1st of last year and here are a few actual journal entries that I made:

November 1st, 2008
I was sitting down at lunch with my family and decided to order a water for lunch. Robin looked at me rather strangely because I never order water when out to eat. I'm Diet Coke or Diet Dr Pepper all the way. So she asked why I was drinking water and for some reason I said this: "I heard on the radio last week that Terrell Owens drinks only water." Now Terrell Owens is an NFL receiver who played for the Dallas Cowboys at the time - otherwise known as TO. Here's my favorite TO quote: “I love me some me." Needless to say - TO has quite a bit of an ego. But for him to drink only water… how perplexing? Robin and I discussed whether or not we believed him and I went on to say that he made some declaration that the number one piece of advice he would give to all athletes is to drink only water. Then Robin went off on how good water is for me, yada yada yada... And it clicked... why don't I drink nothing but water for an entire year! I could lose weight. Get healthy. Write a book. Make money and buy a pool! What an idea!

November 1st, 2008
Later in the day I was talking to Robin about this again and I realized that I have never gone an entire day in my life where the only thing that I drank was water. How could I do 365?

November 2nd, 2008
So I'm thinking about this water thing and I think I should go for it. I'm thinking about recording everything I drink for the next two months to have a record of the old me and then beginning my journey on January 1st. And while I seriously do want to make some money on this thing - I don't really know why someone would want to read a book on me drinking only water for a year? Maybe I could get a sponsor like Aquafina or someone? I don't know. But I do know that it would be hard for me to actually do this unless I was passionate about it. And for me to be passionate about it - then it will have to connect to my faith in some way.

November 3rd, 2008
I decided to google the year of drinking water because I remember hearing about a book called the year of living biblically and figured that would be my gimmick. The good news was that I don't think anyone else has ever done this. But as I was thinking about this -it became pretty clear to me. Why don't I go on my water crusade to raise awareness not only for the benefits of water - but the need for the needy and poor throughout the world to have clean, safe drinking water. yes - that's it. Goodbye pool though - now that I have connected it to my faith - I'm going to need to give the proceeds to Living Water International or some other group to help provide water in areas of the world that need it. Maybe I'll raise money for The Last Well movement which is going to give the entire nation of Liberia free access to clean, safe drinking water in the next 7 years. The entire nation! How cool is that! I also realized today that I may have had a day in Eqypt in 2006 where all I drank was water. No - that's not true - I had at least one Fanta everyday I was there. Oh goodie.

November 3rd, 2008
Robin asked me tonight if I wanted to go pick up some Starbucks. My answer was immediate - no words… I just grabbed the car keys. No way can I go a year without Starbucks. I'm already doubting my decision and I really haven't begun yet. At Starbucks I weigh my options and land on a green tea latte - venti of course. I'm in line and wondering what will I do for a year of meetings at Starbucks? That's when I see Ethos Water in the check out line. I pick up a bottle and apparently this brand of water takes proceeds to third world areas that need clean water. Pretty cool - I just emailed myself the website to check out later:

November 4th, 2008
So Francis Chan has this video clip from his book Crazy Love where he talks about cars in a used car lot. He goes through all these amazing cars in great detail and then arrives at a junkie one and exclaims that this is his car. He says something like: why would I spend $30,000 on a car when I can buy a cheap one and then spend that extra $30 grand on an orphanage. Then he says something shocking - that he does this for selfish reasons. He is more fulfilled knowing there are orphans taken care of then knowing he drives a really nice car. Yep. I can't take a dime from this thing. If any money is to be brought in, it will ALL go to help others. How ironic that I would want to make money on something like this to "waste" water in a pool that 4 people would enjoy and God would turn this into a quest for water for the multitudes to survive off of.

November 5th, 2008
Water stats: One dollar a day provides clean, safe drinking water for one person for one year. My $50,000 pool would provide water for 50,000 people for an entire year! Yikes! Shnikies!

November 5th, 2008
I shared the idea with Bill and then with Scott and got really positive feedback. They both agreed it would be next to impossible for me to do. Scott thinks I should try and get others to do it with me. I like the idea. I don't know if I start it and get going and then tell others. Or if I make a big splash before I do it and get a team to do it, etc... Then that puts a lot of pressure on me though!

November 6th, 2008
We are doing a dollar challenge at our RightNow Conference next weekend where we are going to give people one dollar bills and ask them to invest them in some way into the kingdom to see what God would do with those tine dollar bills. I have decided that I will use my dollar to buy my first bottle of water!

November 7th, 2008
I feel a strong sense to pray through this decision and check my motives. The original motive was honestly about money - and I could justify it by saying that I would get healthier and perhaps help others to get healthier. But I knew that wouldn’t flame a passion in me to actually go through with it. My motivation has to be spiritual. So now I feel this strong sense to pray through this idea and make sure that it would glorify God and not me. And this my friends is the story of my life! I face a daily struggle to either live for myself or live for Christ. There are two kingdoms in my life: the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of heaven. I often live for the kingdom of this world by making decisions that will pad my comfort or make me feel better. And make no mistake! I cannot live in both kingdoms at the same time. My hearts desire is to live in the kingdom of heaven. I can still enjoy this world, and I believe that God wants me to enjoy this world. But it’s all based on my worldview. My mindset. My grid in which I run my own thoughts and motives. So I am praying for God to reveal my motives. If they are pure - meaning they are about bringing Him glory and stamping out injustice (now that's kingdom of heaven talk!) then they will prevail!

November 8th, 2008
I flew to Baton Rouge today for the LSU and Alabama game. I had lots of fun and thought about coming next year and only drinking water. I drank a ton of water at the game. I think I could do this.

November 17th, 2008
I learned a ton at our RightNow Conference One of the lines that kept ringing in my ear was during Donald Millers talk on Friday night entitled, "Let Story Guide You." He was describing the formula of all good stories and he defined a character as "one who wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it." His over arching message was that God was calling each of us to live the best story we could live. And one measuring stick is to ask what would happen if we were no longer here? Who would miss us? What ministry would suffer? What people would suffer? He explained that all good stories have conflict and it made me think about this idea. And how I will encounter some extreme conflict. But... if I have enough passion (from Christ) to follow through - then it will make a great story!

November 30th, 2008
What the heck… I’m starting tomorrow. I won’t tell anyone I’m starting… That way if I can do it, then I’ll have a few weeks under my belt. If I can’t do it, I just won’t start up in January. I have been measuring every ounce of beverage intake for the last month to see what I’m up against. It doesn’t look pretty:

30% of what I drank was Diet Coke/Diet Dr Pepper - 976 ounces – good with any meal
19.5% of what I drank was Gatorade – 636 ounces – for that deep down body thirst
14% of what I drank was Diet Mountain Dew – 452 ounces - must have been a slow month
13% of what I drank was 7/11 Coffee – 432 ounces – used to begin each day at 7/11
6% of what I drank was Starbucks – 200 ounces – all types of drinks!
5.5% of what I drank was water – 188 ounces – it made the list!
5.5% of what I drank was fake beer – 180 ounces – someone had given me a 12 pack so I took it down
4.5% of what I drank was juice – 144 ounces – I think it was OJ when I was sick
1% of what I drank was milk – 36 ounces – I think I had dozen brownies with that

I don’t know how I’m going to do this… but I’m starting tomorrow… After I go to Starbucks one more time!

Fast forward one year and… I did it. The first three days sucked big time. I had huge headaches and was totally wanting some Starbucks. But I was absolutely amazed at how quickly those cravings went away and how easy the next 362 days were. Seriously – it was so easy to do! People never believe me when I tell them that… but it’s true!

I have much more to share about all the good that has come about. I did end up raising a bunch of money for The Last Well, but I’m not done yet. There is more to come… stay tuned!

One thing I need from you though… what should my first non-water drink in one year be? Comment, Tweet me, text me, email me, facebook me… Let me know!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

97 Days

At our RightNow Conference last year there was a huge theme to dig deep into the word of God and apply what we read. Matt Chandler even said that if he stuck you with a needle he would want you to bleed Bible! I remember going away with a renewed passion to read my Bible more. That passion stuck as the months went by and about 100 days ago I decided I would read the entire Bible before this year's conference. I figured out that if I read for 30 minutes a day I could get it done. And to add some accountability I decided to take on a Nazarite vow and not cut my hair. I hate long hair - so this was some serious incentive to get in the word!

Ninety-seven days later I finished! Reading the Bible for 30 minutes each day was a wonderful experience. Here are a few of my big takeaways:

  • The Old Testament is all about our faith in God expressed through obedience and marked by being set apart for God. Almighty God asked Israel to do things that demonstrated their faith and obedience in Him.
  • The New Testament is all about our faith in God expressed by loving one another. Jesus came and changed everything by establishing a kingdom built on love.
  • The whole Bible is an amazing story where God chooses His people and His people have the wonderful opportunity to glorify Him through faith and obedience expressed in love.
  • Jesus Christ is the savior of the world! And I love Him deeply - more than words can express!
  • And... I'm convinced that all good mafia movies were inspired by the Old Testament - those are some seriously epic stories - and even though I knew the outcome there were nights where I simply couldn't put it down. Cain & Abel, Abraham, Jacob & Esau, Joseph (love me some Joseph), David and the list goes on...
What a great 97 days!
And Robin is very happy that I got my hair cut on day 98!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Champs

LSU won the National Championship in baseball tonight defeating the Texas Longhorns. This was the Tigers 6th National Championship in the last 19 years - they are clearly the most dominant baseball team in my lifetime! I was actually at their first championship in 1991. My high school team won the state championship two weeks earlier and was invited to play in the College World Series High School Tournament. We finished third in the tourney and got to go the the National Championship game with LSU beating Wichita State.

I was able to go to one LSU game this season at their new stadium and it was a blast! LSU baseball is known for their amazing fans and their unique style of play coined Geaux-rilla Ball because they absolutely smash the ball aruond the ball park. Tonight was no different as football player Jared Mitchell began the rout in the first inning with a 3 run homer. Way to Geaux Tigers!

Mitchell celebrating his first inning HR

Monday, June 08, 2009

Stop the Madness

I was walking by Lonnie's office today and it looks like he has taken his affection for Matt Chandler to an uncomfortable level...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Marraige Advice

A group of guys at church have been working at being more intentional with our marriages. One of the lessons we have learned early on is that the point of being intentional in our marriages isn't to change our spouses hearts – it’s to change our hearts.

God wants to get you to a place where He can use you. So let me ask you a few questions about your relationship with God before we get into your relationship with your spouse.
  • What kind of encouragement do you have from being united with Christ?
  • In what ways do you experience comfort from his love?
  • What does it mean to you to have fellowship with the Spirit?
  • Do you ever feel compassion? How?
Our marriages depend on our relationship to God. If we truly believe that our relationship to God is a good thing in our lives, then we will strive to:
  • be like-minded
  • have the same love
  • be one in spirit and purpose
  • do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
  • in humility consider others better than yourselves
  • look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others
Think about Christ Jesus himself. He was God, but He didn’t use that to His advantage! He made himself worth nothing – He even acted as a servant. He was a mere man and obeyed Father God even to the point of death. And what did the Father God do to Christ Jesus?

He exalted Him above all else! And one day every single person on this planet will bow their knees and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

So imagine what Father God will do for your marriage when you stop trying to change your spouse, but instead – by faith – start to love your spouse. What would God do with someone who did nothing out of selfish ambition or vein conceit? How would God use the man or women who decided to consider others better than themselves?

Stop trying to change your spouse… change yourself. Stop talking bad about your spouse, build him or her up. Love God… and watch Him work!

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Phil 2:1-11