Friday, January 29, 2010 usher

Fellas, if you don't mind I would like to use this post to pray for this group and for myself, feel free to add anything to it you feel.

Heavenly Father, at first I am at a loss of words to say. For, at the moment your spirit has overwhelmed me and I would just like to bask in it. But Lord, I pray that you forgive us for where we, for where I, have continually failed to bring glory to your name. I am becoming more aware each week it seems where I am sinning, where I am stumbling, and where I am falling on my face. But Lord, I am embracing this feeling of brokenness, knowing that as you are breaking me down I am somehow learning how to love you the way you intend. Just..thank you Lord. I pray for your mercy, that you bestow in our lives and the cleansing that has taken place in us, according to your Word. I, and we, are more than thankful for your endless and unconditional love. It's magnitude is so perplexing to me at times, and I wonder how I could ever reflect even a small percentage of that to You and towards others in this group and in life. Lord, I pray that you continue to give us the strength to battle this world each and every day. Because if it were up to me or any of us, I would for sure get whooped day in and day out. Jesus, I just desire you, I desire your presence, I desire your guidance, I desire your compassion. I pray for this group Lord, that you would just light a fire within us, so that as the group grows in number, we grow as followers of Christ. Continue to convict us of what is really on our hearts and minds, and allow us the words to explain what you are doing in our lives and in the lives of others. Give us that courage to be honest with each other even if it stings a little at first. I'd rather get stung a little here than K.O.'d by the world. Lord, I just thank you so much for all of these e-fellas. I thank you for Brett Carroll introducing me to the group. I consider this idea and concept from the cards boyz to be such a blessing. I pray that as each week passes, that we continue to learn, that You would remind us daily to check the website, take a break from the world, and just try to soak in whatever truth is being laid out that day. I pray that we all realize what an amazing blessing this blog is, and that we utilize the opportunity for our growth and Your glory. Thank you Lord for hearing me today, for answering these prayers in heaven. And I pray that as you bring to earth these answers, that you would help us to apply them to our lives. I ask and pray all these things in Jesus name, Amen.

trying to die to myself,

Thursday, January 28, 2010


"Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness! The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So good is wealth-except perhaps to watch it slip through your fingers! People who work hard sleep well, whether they eat little or much. But the rich seldom get a good night's sleep." Ecclesiastes 5:10-12

Spoken by Soloman. Known to be the wisest man EVER in the Bible. Also, they estimated his riches were matched by NO man... Past and present. Blessings from this world can sometimes but us in bondage. Blessings from God are what we need to seek out and be thankful for.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1 Corinthians 14 (Gifts that bring life)

1 Corinthians 14:12 "...Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church."

It has been mentioned on here before about trying to find out what your spiritual gifts are. Once we come to that realization of our gifts we naturally begin to try to use them or "flex our spiritual muscle" so to speak. A poignant question becomes "are you using your gifts to build up the church?"

So let's back up and first seek finding our personal God-given spiritual gifts. Here is a link to take a real long test to find out your spiritual gifts.

My top 5 turned out to be Exhortation, Encouragement, Faith, Pastoring, Wisdom/Teaching.
The test gives you a run down of your rankings on 29 aspects of spiritual gifts. If somebody knows of a better test please post it. I'm not going to lie that test was long and I felt like quitting at multiple times, so cut out a solid 10 minutes to take it.

After we find out our gifts we should ask ourselves if we're really using them to build up the church. Do you have a church you call home? Do you know anybody at that church that you reach out to for fellowship? Are you involved in the church in anyway? Do you have a small group? These are some of the questions we should ask ourselves to accurately determine whether we are using our gifts to build up the church the way God intended.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Wild Trip

This past week I was in St Louis for couple different things. One of which was a fundraiser in Pike County, Ill. This fundraiser was in a small town called Pittsfield. It took us one hour and 45 minutes to get to the fundraiser... Five hours and two minutes to get back. Here is a brief version of our five hour tour, and why I believe God planned it just like He did.
As we were leaving my house in St Lou, my friend Louie Payne wanted to bring his new navigation system to help us for the ride. We already had a nav system in the car but his seemed to be pretty detailed so we let him bring it along. We used the rental cars navigation on the way up to our fundraiser and the trip went very smooth with no hiccups what so ever. While we were at this fundraiser, it was a banquet, we were able to raise $22,000 for our foundation. For a small town banquet we were really excited about that total. Also, while we were there we were able to share our love for Christ and hand out testimony cards to hundreds of people that attended. It was an overall great event. So, we loaded up and set out on our quick trip back home to St Louis. As we were leaving, however, Louie said he wanted to plug in my address and see if his garmin came up with a different route. Well, it did. As we came to the last big intersection my navigation said turn left for a 1 hour and 46 minute trip. Louie's said turn right for a 1 hour 35 minute trip. We collectively decided that the ten extra minutes saved was pretty awesome so we took the hot route. Five miles later we ran out of pavement. At this point our gas meter said we had 47 miles left on our tank. For the next 50 or so miles we rode on a hilly, gravel road. We, as a group came to the conclusion that we were at some point going to run out of gas and have to walk a long way to a gas station. Also, there was no cell service and no sign of any civilization for miles at a time. This was the worst road I had ever traveled on. Finally, our road came to an end.... only problem was that we came to a dead end into the Mississippi River. No bridge. Louie's navigation said "board ferry." Ferry? Wow. Well, the only problem was that this particular ferry stopped operating at 9pm...and it was past 1am at this point. Now we were up the creek, because we didn't have enough gas to get anywhere. Well, we backed up a few hundred yards and then saw, at one of the only houses we came across, two people just arriving home in their minivan. We literally ran out of gas in their driveway. The two people were wearing St Louis Cardinals gear. One man turned out to be the biggest cards fan in the midwest. He was so excited we were there he almost didn't believe it. And, he was absolutely drunk. Turns out the lady with him was his designated driver from some bar. Well, to shorten this up, the cards fan gave us a gallon and a half of gas outta his lawnmower can. He wouldn't take money, and the only thing I had to thank him were a few of my testimony cards which I gave him. He was so pumped.
So, the only place we could get to on 1.5 gallons was a closed up gas station. The owner of the bar that everyone was coming from also owned the gas station. So, the lady took us to the bar to get the owner who then drove to his house to get the keys to the gas station. Again, we came to a rolling stop in the parking lot of the gas station. The owner filled our tank then called the bar and had a couple pizzas cooked up because at this point it was approaching 3am. We were starved and had no idea where we were. Also, we sorta felt indebted so we hung out with the locals at the bar until about 3:30. Which was a stinkin blast by the way. Before we left we passed out some more testimony cards and found a ferry that would actually carry us across the mighty Mississippi. In case you were wondering we took a huge bridge to get across the first time. We had a good banquet, poured our hearts out for Jesus, and raised some good money for a great cause. But, if we hadn't gotten lost we wouldn't have been able to share with all those people in Brussels, Il. We were, in a way, reaching out to some awesome people who maybe needed to see and hear some things we were saying. I hope that all those locals felt God working the way we did. God is good, and there is no way we get off that road like we did without His grace. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[a] who[b] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

true story,

Saturday, January 23, 2010


By Jane Lee /

01/22/10 8:08 PM EST

OAKLAND -- Grant Desme entered the 2009 season with an injury-prone past.

The A's prized prospect exited the season with a head-turning presence, accompanied by a bat that produced 31 home runs and a speedy 6-foot-2 frame that stole 40 bases in Class A ball -- making him the only player in Minor League Baseball to enjoy a 30-30 campaign.

An exceptional performance and MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League followed, so surely Desme was close to getting a call, most assumed -- if not for a trip to The Show, then at least for an invitation to Spring Training.

Yet, Desme insists he'd already received the call long before his final at-bat in the fall came and went -- the one that would take him to bigger and better places.

It just so happens it wasn't what the A's organization -- or anyone else, for that matter -- had in mind.

The call, Desme announced Friday, came in the form of priesthood in the Catholic church.

"Last year before the season started, I really had a strong feeling of a calling and a real strong desire to follow it," the 23-year-old said. "I just fought it."

Thus, Desme chose to play out the season as a test of sorts, "just hoping and praying about it."

"As the year went on," he said, "God blessed me. I had a better year than I could have imagined, but that reconfirmed my desire because I wasn't at peace with where I was at. I love the game, but I aspire to higher things.

"I thought, I'm doing well in baseball, but I really had to get down to the bottom of things -- what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. And I felt that while baseball is a good thing and I love playing, I thought it was selfish of me to be doing that when I really felt that God was calling me more, which took me awhile in my life to really trust and open up to it and aim full steam toward Him."

The telling result: A phone call on Thursday to relay his life-changing choice to A's general manager Billy Beane, who chose Desme as the club's second-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Beane's reaction to the news was "great," says Desme, who claimed to be even more taken aback than the team's head honcho during the conversation.

"I was surprised [Thursday] when I called Billy to inform him about my decision," Desme says. "I was interested to see how I was going to react, knowing that when that phone call was over I'd be done with baseball most likely for the rest of my life. I was able to experience a great amount of peace because of it.

"I want to give my life completely to God out of love because of everything He's done for me. Something like this is even very little compared to what He's done for me."
-- Grant Desme
"It just reconfirmed me of my decision, and it also made me realize that I had already detached myself from baseball awhile ago."

However, the numbers didn't show said feelings, and the A's were more than ready to start their No. 8 prospect -- recently deemed by Baseball America -- at Double-A Midland this season. After all, Desme's breakout year not only produced a .288 batting average and 89 RBIs, but also a clean bill of health for his ailing hamstring, wrist and shoulder.

"From a talent perspective," said Oakland's director of player personnel, Billy Owens, "it's pretty self-explanatory as for his numbers as to the type of player he is."

Adds A's scouting director Eric Kubota, who admitted to being in "disbelief" upon hearing the news: "I think people, in general, were just happy for Grant because he had an injury-free year for the first time. It really looked like, baseball-wise, he was on the fast track and going in the right direction."

He was, in fact, heading right where he needed to be -- despite not being where the baseball community wanted him to be.

"My injuries, I would say, would be the biggest blessing God's ever given me," he said. "For my entire life, baseball's been my life. I define myself as a baseball player, and when it was taken away from me, it was an eye-opener. It was a real shock that it could end. I realized that even if I played in the big leagues, it was still going to end, or it could end anytime you step on the field with an injury. I really started doing some soul searching of who I was and who I wanted to be, and this is where that's led me."

It's a place those close to Desme have come to embrace and appreciate, much to the outfielder's utmost appreciation.

"If that's what he wants to get into, then more power to him," said Daniel Haigwood, who played with Desme at Class A Stockton. "I have strong beliefs myself, so I think that shows how devoted he is to his religion. I'm sure he thought about it long and hard, and I really respect him for it."

Said a scout who's watched Desme since high school: "It was a little bit shocking since he was knocking on the big league door, but his faith has always been important to him, so in some ways it's not that shocking. I have a lot of respect for the young man."

Desme, a lifelong Catholic who grew up with a strong religious family in Bakersfield before attending Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, has just as much respect for the game he's walking away from -- the same game he credits with aiding in his decision.

"Whenever I was able to talk to someone about God, or help someone, that made coming to the ballpark more enjoyable," he said. "I looked forward to that.

"During my last game in the fall league, I hit a home run and proceeded to strike out twice, which was kind of ironic since that defined my career a bit. I knew there was a good chance it would be my last game, but there was no sad feeling. I figured whatever God wants is going to happen, and I'm going to pursue that."

So now, the brave Desme faces what he says is a 10-year path to becoming a priest while studying at St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County beginning in August.

"It's like I'm re-entering the Minor Leagues," he said.

And while Desme has yet to fully process his life without baseball, he's certain his future will not include regrets.

"I want to give my life completely to God out of love because of everything He's done for me," he said. "Something like this is even very little compared to what He's done for me."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1 Corinthians (Love)

1 Corinthians 13:2 "If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

Man... if I had the gift of prophecy and the faith to literally move mountains I am hard pressed to think that I would need anything else. What else is there? That is like being a Tiger/Kobe/A-Rod/Agassi/T-Brady hybrid. Back in the day if you had the two gifts that Paul was talking about you had it all. Heavy weight faith, prophetic tools? It's a wrap, closed case. This speaks to how vital Love is. Love is more than butterflies in your stomach, it's beyond that its got a smell of eternity that we still haven't fully embraced. Before I get to my point, take note of all the names in my hybrid model. They are all top notch at their sport but they all made huge publicized mistakes.

We all chase love and we have been since we were born. We look to our parents, then look to a member of the opposite sex, we learn some things, then we look for a lifelong mate. No matter how good your relationship is with your bride/groom we all get hurt at some point. The reason is because we humans are jacked up, flawed, imperfect, and can't live up to the expectations we have in our hearts for one another. Have you ever wondered why that is?

My theory (based on scriptures) is that God put eternity in our hearts and the knowledge of a greater love in it too. We have high expectations because we all have the knowledge of God in us and the only place to go to fill those expectations is the cross and in Jesus, the Guy who never fails us, He always loves us regardless of our foul ups. We have to have Jesus Christ at the top of our upside down food pyramid, He is our largest portion. We will never be happy unless we look for love in Jesus first and foremost. Once we have that then we will have that void filled and be able to freely and fully love others and ourselves properly. I think Paul is speaking to that perfect love that only Jesus can provide when we laid out 1 Corinthians 13. Reading over the scriptures it describes a love that I fall short of giving everyday. Only Jesus can fill us up the way we long to be filled. I'm in desperate need of a top-off, I just can't seem to get full of what the world is providing. Amen?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1 Corinthians (Spiritual Gifts)

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working but the same God works all of them in all men."

MacArthur points out that spiritual gifts fall into 2 distinct areas, 1 is speaking and 2 is serving. Speaking would be prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, teaching,and exhortation. Serving would be leadership, helps, giving, mercy, faith, and discernment. The purpose of these gifts is to edify the church and bring glory to God. These gifts are all given by the Holy Spirit and given according to the will of the Spirit. We can try to develop strength in an area of a gift but we will struggle and will not become natural to us unless it is willed by God.
Have you ever had a teacher who wasn't gifted to teach people and wasn't captivating?
Have you ever heard of somebody claiming that they could see the future but their predictions were wrong?
Some gifts were given more abundantly in different time periods. As you could imagine and so read in the scriptures, the gift of prophecy was a lot more prevalent during the Old Testament and even more so in the OT and NT than we see today. However I believe the gift of teaching might be more seen today than it was in the Bible times (that might just have been because of the whole population difference). In either case it is important that we pray to have our spiritual gifts revealed to us so we can embrace them and use them to build the kingdom. Can you imagine pursuing an area of ministry or even a job where the demands didn't fit your skill set (God-given talent)? Talk about wheels spinning with no where to go!
Does anyone know their spiritual gifts?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good times or Hard Times they're both from God

What's up everybody? While reading Ecclesiastes 7 tonight I was reminded of a point I think we should always try to keep fresh in our brain. Ecclesiastes 7:14 reads... Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life. I know for me, sometimes when bad things happen I want to ask "How could God let that happen?" I guess what I should say is "Why did God make that happen? Instead of questioning His absence maybe I should look deeper into why God planned things the way He did. There's most definitely a lesson wired in. Solomon makes the point that hardships are often times the best way to learn from God. Solomon is just full of quotes that get me to double take. He'll say things and I'll go "woooow, what the heck does he mean by that. And on further digging I usually find that the king was right on with his point.
There are tons of stories we can all recall when God taught us something by our failures. I bet in a lot of cases you came away better for them too. A few years ago, real estate in my home town was prospering like you would not believe. People were buying up and selling things left and right. Land was basically gold here. Then all the sudden it came crashing to a hault. People were stuck with more than they could hold. And the banks had to move in. Several banks even went under, because even they couldn't get rid of the debt. There are a lot of people where I live that are being crushed by this poor economy in the real estate business. A lot of formerly wealthy people have lost just about everything they own from some tough timing and maybe, in some cases, some poor planning. What I'm getting at is this... yes God will surely, hopefully provide us with many happy moments and probably some prosperity. But, He will undoubtedly bring us back down to earth at some point. Remember that nothing is certain in life. Not your portfolio, not your career, not anything. It appears the only things certain are that God is in control and that we are incapable of being God. Therefor, we are incapable of having total control like we sometimes think. So, the happy, cheery, fun part of that verse is to enjoy our prosperity while we can. That was God's plan for us originally anyway. Don't worry, be happy and trust God when things don't go as you planned. He's using his own blackberry not ours.


ps...starting tomorrow I'm going to fast something for 21 days. I would love some company on this. Each day we'll read a chapter of John. The thing you fast (quit, cut out, get rid of, take a break from) should be hard to give up so that each time you deny it you'll think of God. Last year I did fried foods and that was agony. Think it over....

Friday, January 8, 2010

Subtle Daggers

This is basically a help-me help-everyone point-them-out thing.  Subtle sins that is.  I am gonna go ahead and say I do not notice even half of the sins I be doin, not sure about the rest of the e-fellas.  Our goal in the pursuit of godliness should be to grow more in our conscious awareness that every moment of our lives is lived in the presence of God; that we are responsible to Him and dependent on Him.  This goal would include a growing desire to please Him and glorify Him in the most ordinary activities of life.  One thing or the only thing I know to do at this point is to pray every morning, asking that the Holy Spirit will direct my thoughts, words, and actions that they will be pleasing to God, and also to pray for the Lord to point out where I am trippin up.

So here is a handful I am feelin on.

Ya mouth - sins of the tongue such as gossip, or bad words, or tearin people down.  If we were/are totally aware that God is present in every situation, then these things could not thrive.  But, we are to whatever degree you want to claim...ungodly.  I know I do not think of every living moment of my life is in the presence of an all-seeing, and all-hearing God.

Anxiety - maybe triggered not so much by a distrust in God as by an unwillingness to submit to and happily accept His agenda for our lives.

Pride - rather than feeling morally superior to those who practice the flagrant sins we condemn, we ought to feel deeply grateful that God by His grace has kept us from, or perhaps rescued us from such a life.

Envy - ya must realize that to be envious or jealous of someone is either eliminating God from the picture or else accusing Him of being unfair.

So, what do you guys got? These are some that I notice now that I am battling everyday.  I am sure there is more, many more, but these are ones that are predominately rockin my everyday......what about the rest of the e-fellas?

trying to die to myself,

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1 Corinthians 11 "Man and Woman"

1 Corinthians 11:11-12 "In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God." NIV

Johnny Mac lays it out like this, all believers, male and female, are equal in the Lord and complementary in the Lord's work. Their roles are different in function and relationships, not in spirituality or importance.

I think this can be seen as another strong example of how dependant we are on one another for our spiritual growth (both men and woman). Encouragement, accountability, love, and fellowship are a few things that come to mind. Now having my first child I see how grungy I am and how much I'm lacking in areas that my wife flourishes. When Gwen (my daughter) is crying at a ear piercing level, I get angry while Christy gets compassionate and nurturing. I'm not sure I have any of that in me or at least it's not my nature. I'm so glad God made woman, I can only imagine what children would turn out like with out the nurturing of mothers. Can any others fathers relate? Having kids is so tough and so awesome at the same time, I can be so in love my daughter one minute and then so angry the next (when she cries). It makes me wonder who I am. Seriously, it's crazy some of the thoughts you have. Well, I feel like I just disclosed way to much information about my shortcomings as a parent but it's too late to erase. Be blessed brothers and sisters, He's coming back some day!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Things of This World

A lot of you are familiar with King Solomon of the Bible. Solomon was the son of King David, and is regarded as the wisest man that ever lived. He authored the book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. I believe you could literally read a different Proverb everyday and get some use out of it. For a man that lived so long ago his advice always seems to feel current to me. I have to admit that sometimes when I'm reading Solomon's writings that I think "man, this dude was battling some major depression. But, then I realize King Solomon had everything... and i mean everything, yet none of his material things fulfilled him. It was only God that could do that. So, I guess that would stink to have all that glue and it doesn't even matter. Earlier in his story Solomon asked God for wisdom and he was granted in a major way. People used to pay him ridiculous amounts of money just for his opinions and counsel on matters. I forget the estimate now but I once heard he was the richest man to ever live also. Like 100 times richer than Bill Gates or something crazy like that. He is very open with the fact that he tried everything you could try (women, alcohol, building palaces, etc), and yet still unhappy. When I read his writings there seems to be a constant theme floating around all the time. It's this idea that the things of this world that we put our stock into, and the time we spend chasing goals is all just like chasing the wind. In fact, it seems, Solomon repeats that phrase "chasing the wind" numerous times. I guess that's the perfect analogy. The world tells us that money, promotions, and social status are what matters. But to quote a high ranking CEO of the 1990's "I wish i'd known that when you get to the top nothing is there." And I seem to remember a certain Patriots quarterback on 60 Minutes. The same qb who'd won three super bowls and had his pick of any super model in the world. Remember what he said? Something like "this can't be it...there's gotta be more than this, ...right?" You see, King Solomon had it all figured out. He realized after years of thought, and trial by error, that no matter what we do in this world, how ever high we move up in our individual jobs.... NOTHING matters without God. Wisdom Is Meaningless
12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecc 1:12-14

So, here's what i'm getting at. You may have a lotta stuff like your ipod and your fancy rims and blinged out watch, buy you cant touch what King Solomon had. He's the perfect testimony to that 'ole saying "you can't buy happiness." Let's keep our eyes and ears fixed on the only One that really matters in our lifetime on this earth...God. Thanks for the teach Solomon.