>Let’s face it…I am NOT a morning person.

I love me some sleep.  At any time, but especially in the morning, usually during class. Some people sleep better when its raining; I apparently sleep better knowing that everyone else is in the class I’m skipping. 

I have, however, had my fair share of early morning experiences.  Whether it was getting up early for trips or playing golf with my grandpa or staying up too late on the phone and getting to see the other side of night, my childhood had its sunrises in it.

I grew to appreciate those moments even more working at Trek, where every week we’d get up earlier than Apollo to begin our assault on the designated peak.  Cold and stiff, there would be a slow march up the side, through the valley, or across the ridge, until that glorious moment that the sunlight decided to enrobe us in warmth.  Every one of those sunrises was beautiful, indescribable, and a rejuvenation to our souls.

Today’s sunrise is different though.  As I look out the windows of the church, I’m haunted by the fact that sunrise brings uncertainty, and the beginning of a very tough battle for an already-weary brother.  We will need it’s warmth and energy in order to engage this enemy head-on.  After seven and a half hours, we finally reach the front lines.

Fight on Tate.

Fight on.

The Mighty One, God, the LORD, 
       speaks and summons the earth 
       from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets.

 From Zion, perfect in beauty, 
       God shines forth.”  Psalm 50:1-2



>We’re on hour 3.5 of the prayer marathon, and I must say, I’m very impressed with the attitude and devotion of the church.  Getting up in the dark, when it’s raining, in order to come up to the building alone and spend time in prayer for someone you may not even know very well is a pretty amazing testimony.

As I’ve been sitting here, the song “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin keeps coming to my mind.  I don’t condone the band per se…they have a tendency to use less than wholesome ideals in their songs, but occasionally as I’m weeding them out I come across a gem like this one.  The lead singer and front man, Andrew McMahon, had a battle with leukemia that almost killed him.  After he won the battle, he wrote “Swim” about his struggle:

You’ve gotta swim
Swim for your life
Swim for the music
That saves you
When you’re not so sure you’ll survive
You gotta swim
Swim when it hurts
The whole world is watching
You haven’t come this far
To fall off the earth
The currents will pull you
Away from your love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the door
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
A crack in the armor
I swim to brighter days
Despite the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I’m not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Through nights that won’t end
Swim for your families
Your lovers your sisters
And brothers your friends
Yeah you’ve gotta swim
Through wars without cause
Swim for the lost politicians
Who don’t see their greed as a flaw

The currents will pull us
Away from our love
Just keep your head above

I found a tidal wave
Begging to tear down the door
Memories like bullets
They fired at me from a gun
Cracking me open now
I swim to brighter days
Despite of the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I’m not giving in
I’m not giving in
I swim

You gotta swim
Swim in the dark
There’s no shame in drifting
Feel the tide shifting and wait for the spark
Yeah you’ve gotta swim
Don’t let yourself sink
Just find the horizon
I promise you it’s not as far as you think
The currents will drag us away from our love
Just keep your head above
Just keep your head above
Just keep your head above
Swim, swim
Just keep your head above

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:4-6


>Driving through the streets of Houston at midnight, one gets a feeling of calm, almost as if the city has worn itself down and needs to rest, just for a while, in order to recover for the following day’s unstoppable frenzy of activity.

Today, however, it’s impossible to feel as if all is at rest.  In the midst of the darkness and the serenity, a war is beginning.
Tate Martin goes under the knife today, and we’ve scheduled a day of prayer in his honor, to guide, comfort, and defend him.  And if we think it’s going to go smoothly or quietly, we are very wrong.
I can feel the battle around me, as the protectors and assailants of our faith begin to fight each other.  And not a battle of words, but a fight for us: scratching, clawing, slashing for one second of either focus or distraction, repeating itself on towards eternity.
Today is going to be harsh, it’s going to be long, and it’s going to be draining.
And we’re going to win.
“The Lord will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”  Isaiah 42:13

>Soul Meets Body

>Victor Durrington is a great man.

It may seem strange to some to mention him in the present tense.  He passed away yesterday, March 5th, at 7:40 pm.  To be sure, the world is a slightly dimmer place without his light in it.
However, to confine Victor to his broken earthly vessel doesn’t do justice to the man.  Blessed with intelligence, a gentle spirit, and an easy smile, he touched everyone he came into contact with, even if they didn’t know they had been in touch.  Whether it was his generosity in giving Jenna and me our house for college, which has in turn blessed 8 other people (and counting), or his fun-loving attitude that accounts for my ability to throw left-handed (we’ll get back to that), the “man” Victor is more than just the man.  
I will always think of him as the person who let me drive in the parking lot when I was just 12, or the look on his face when our rope swing snapped and I plummeted to the ground, not sure whether to call the ambulance or burst out laughing.  I have a fairly severe fear of heights, but spending afternoons on the roof with him was usually one of highlights of my summers in Abilene.
And playing catch in the backyard.  Oh how I loved playing catch.  I wasn’t blessed with great size or speed or a rocket arm, but I could always catch.  And he loved throwing the ball around more than anyone I’ve known.  We’d make up games, throwing backwards and off the roof and with our weaker hands.  I’m a natural righty, but I can wing it left-handed with the best of them because Victor didn’t laugh at my awkward attempts to coordinate my lanky frame.
The human Victor couldn’t play catch towards the end.  As I was given the news that the end was nearing, I prayed for healing and that God would free him from his prison.  In a moment of interaction with the divine, as I uttered the words “Take him home God,” a gust of wind hit me, reminding me that God is found in the still, small voice.  Thirty minutes later, after he passed, I started imagining his joy at being healthy again, having a body that will never break down, never grow old, never succumb to the restrictions of this fallen world ever again.  And then I imagined him playing catch in heaven, with Vicki, his daughter, and his mother, and all of his friends.
And then I imagined Victor looking up, beckoning for the return throw, as a lanky Jewish carpenter from Nazareth tried to figure out how to throw left-handed, laughing at himself, but receiving nothing but encouragement from my grandpa.
Victor never was his body. The body may have failed, but the spirit, melded into one with the Spirit of God, lives on eternally.
Victor Durrington is a great man, and I can’t wait to see him again.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  2 Corinthians 5:17


>Sometimes you just don’t know what to write.

Psalm 100

A Thanksgiving Psalm

“On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, 
      sing yourselves into his presence. 

Know this: God is God, and God, God
      He made us; we didn’t make him. 
      We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. 

Enter with the password: “Thank you!” 
      Make yourselves at home, talking praise. 
      Thank him. Worship him. 

For God is sheer beauty, 
      all-generous in love, 
      loyal always and ever.”