last night, we took a tour of the Christmas lights of Franklin and Brentwood with some friends. While on the journey Missy shouts, "DEER!" we were driving 40 miles an hour down the road and the tolley driver slammed on the brakes as we all turned to hear her exclaim, "It's WHITE!! WOW, an ALBINO deer!" we actually saw an albino deer last night as we drove. this just goes to show, unless you're looking out the window a the road as you pass by, you never know what you're missing!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
as a parent, some times in life, you just know that things are good. that was Sunday for us. we got to go to our first ever Titan's game with d and e. they had a blast, and even though they cheered for the winning Chargers, we still had a blast. then to top it off, e had his big performance at church...his first ever solo! he had a blast and so did we.
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 9:50 AM
Sunday, December 9, 2007
what are YOU thankful for this Christmas? amazing how age gives us a little perspective. sad to say, but i think i'm getting officially older! more to come on that, but for right now, it's very clear to me that the more cynical and disturbed i get, the more i realize it's just because i lose sight of what i once held dear (the stuff) and am learning more about the true things to hold dear (the love, the family, and LIFE)...i know it sounds cheesier than canned cheese, but it's true. shocking but true...
Thursday, December 6, 2007
i can see it now. someone drives by this church and is listening to the radio. they think to themselves, you know what i wish? i wish there was a church that just "got it" culturally. i would love to find that. then they see this sign and stop their car and immediately rush to the doors of the church and bolt inside. they run to find someone there to explain to them what it means to drop their sin...because of this sign.
or, maybe they look at this sign as they drive by and spill their $5 sbux nonfat-mocha-with a hint of peppermint-decaf-frappacino in their lap as they drive by.
or, maybe the kid who told his grandpa to put this on the sign stops breathing when he finds out his grandpa actually did it!
or, maybe someone thought this would be a good idea.
or, maybe someone thought, you know what, those sinners listen to that sinner music. what reference could we make using their devil-beat sinner music that would make them want to come to church?
or maybe this is just one more example of the church forgetting what it's about...
and we wonder why people outside the church have absolutely NO PLANS on EVER coming in!!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 12:32 PM
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
if only i had the time to sit and watch this every day. to see Lane ride his horse, Aladdin, during horseback riding therapy is something that is just fun! he laughs, he stretches, and he is "in the zone" of having fun. it's his thing, and i'm glad he has it.
what makes me that happy?
Monday, December 3, 2007
"And Jesus said to him (JUDAS), "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him"
here's the whole thought of this. maybe i'm going to be labeled a heretic, and maybe i'm going to get kicked out of the church, but i have to ask a question here. why in the world did Jesus refer to Judas as "FRIEND" here?
was it a common greeting and Jesus was saying "What's Up Homey?" to his disciple...i think the answer is no!
was it because Jesus was hoping to change Judas' mind and convince Judas not to betray Him?...i think the answer is no!
was it because Jesus didn't want the other disciples to beat the living snot out of Judas because he was going to betray Jesus?...i think the answer is no!
was it because Jesus knew that this was God's plan and somewhat like God the Father, Judas was choosing to give up his Saviour so the world could experience Salvation?...i think the answer is...well i don't know!
was it because Jesus was showing Judas that even though Judas was stabbing Jesus in the back (sort of), Jesus was still the same and hadn't changed...kind of saying, "even though I might not be who you want Me to be, I'm still God and I'm not going to kill you scum bag."...i don't know, could be, but that is kind of weird to think that Jesus would be looking directly into Judas' eyes when He said it.
regardless, Judas still couldn't take what he did. he still went and hung himself. he still couldn't live with himself after that. the other disciples weren't too quick with forgiveness either. they labeled him as a thief and he is constantly referred to as the betrayer or the one who betrayed Jesus...not a great or even good legacy to have.
could it possibly be that Jesus was simply looking into Judas' eyes and calling him friend? even though Jesus knew what Judas was about to do, was it possible that Jesus still considered Judas a friend? obviously Jesus knew the outcome when He picked Judas as one of the original 12 didn't He?
was Judas set up? did Jesus pick him so he could be the blame or did he pick him because he was the only one who could shoulder the burden?
regardless of how you look at it, you have to understand that the actual word Jesus used in this gospel of Matthew is FRIEND. a mate. Jesus referred to Judas as friend in the most intense moment in history up to that time!
so, then, how does that make Matthew 11:19 sound now? is he REALLY a friend to those of us who don't meet the criteria? ...i have to say the answer is YES!
then what makes me any better than a Judas today?
what about you?
just a thought...
Sunday, December 2, 2007
so this Christmas you want to be different? try these simple but mind-blowing things...
1. pay for the person behind you in line (tell them Merry Christmas as you walk away or have the drive-thru person do it!)
2. let someone else have the parking spot at the mall...and you walk an extra 50 feet
3. take your kids to visit with someone in a retirement home for Christmas
4. pull out old pictures of you and your spouse, then show them to your kids and pass down your oral history...this WILL blow their minds...
5. don't be afraid to say, "Merry Christmas," this year
7. invite someone to have dinner or coffee with you...and just talk
i think the biggest thing i have to remember in all of this is that we don't have to shove Jesus down anyone's throat. i don't have to be the Holy Spirit either. i have to let Jesus be truly alive in MY life, so others can see it and experience what He has done for me.
i also have to remember that one day my kids really will want to know all of those goofy stories about me...because they want to KNOW ME!!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 10:28 AM
Thursday, November 29, 2007
so it's that time of year. the time of year when the electricity bill gets big because we crank the heat, plaster lights all over the place, and try to get that "spirit." you know what i'm talking about...the Christmas spirit. i really hate this time of year. i know, that's going to make me about as popular as an irs auditor at enron, but i do. here i am a professional christian (minister, but you have to say it with that deep booming echo voice that the movie trailer guy has) and i hate Christmas.
i don't really hate Christmas. i hate what it has become. i hate that it's more about the tree than the stable. i hate that it's more about getting the kids pictures made with the fat guy in the red suit than about getting kids to know what it's all about. i hate standing in line at wal-mart so i can purchase the last 10 strands of white Christmas lights @ 10 o'clock so my artificial, high-tech umbrella-fold tree will be lit. i hate feeling like this, but i can't help it.
putting up the tree sunday night i blurted out, "i really don't think Jesus was born for this!!!" and i meant every word of it. i think He is a little put out by all of hoop-la about his birthday without thinking about Him. it reminds me of Lane's birthday party this year. it was a great party. we had fun, games, and a great time. the big thing is most people were there for us not him. they came to support and show us that they cared for him, but only a few people did more than simply acknowledge his existence. so that makes me wonder, how do i think Jesus feels on Christmas? i think He's more concerned about us recognizing Him DAILY than just on one day.
i also wonder, do atheists celebrate Christmas? if so, that's hypocritical on their part. why would they exchange presents on Jesus' birthday if they don't believe in God? kind of hypocritical if you ask me. maybe it's more of a cultural thing than anything else, so that just goes to show why i hate what Christmas has become even more!
i love Christmas and what it stands for, what it means, and who it celebrates. i love the tug inside my heart to love someone more than myself on that day. i love my kids faces when they sing Christmas carols, and i love sitting downstairs at 3:00 in the morning on December 25 watching my kids rip open wrapping paper in amazement and realizing that no matter what present they give me, it won't beat the joy i get in knowing that they are mine and i get to call them my sons forever!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 5:45 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
i've been reading a book that i hate. let me clarify that, i don't hate the book, i hate the way the book makes me feel. the whole premise of the book is that a seasoned professional Christian (a pastor) and an atheist attend 12 churches together and have honest dialogue about what they see and what they feel. if you read reviews of the book, you'll find out that this is a polarizing topic, and like any other polarizing topic the religious are the ones that get their feelings hurt the quickest. like my pastor says, if you throw a rock into a pack of dogs the one that yelps is the one that got hit.
the book takes a very real look at some monster churches. it looks at what we as Christians see as important and what someone like a confessed atheist reads from being there. the book is full of insight that at best steps on religious toes. quotes like
"What does that mean--just follow? Don't you have to put something on the line? I know that when people followed Jesus in first-century Palestine, they were risking life and limb. When people followed Martin Luther King Jr., they were risking arrest. When they followed Ghandi, they risked bodily harm and even death. But what does just follow mean here and in this contest? Christianity can't be just getting baptized or just following. you have to put something on the line, I think."can be found throughout the book. this particular quote is from a service @ Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, Illinois. The quote is in regards to the screens in the main worship center which featured the words, "Just Follow."
i hate that the book made me really think about what i consider as ultimately important in the life of a Christian and a church. in fact, it lead me to a couple of pretty serious questions that i will leave with you and encourage you to think about:
1. what did Jesus command us to be about here on Earth?
2. what church do you know that is about those things only?
sure i have some ideas and i know some things to definitely be true. i know that we are supposed to be about LOVE and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, and serving others. i just don't see a lot of churches that sell out to that.
is it possible that we (as Christians) really are clouding the water for those who don't yet know Christ?
Monday, November 19, 2007
as i look at the coming week, it is hard not to realize that thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. as i think about the day i have to admit, i'm thinking about what am i really giving for thanksGIVING? what am i doing for my boys to show them that this day is about more than turkey and leftover turkey sandwiches (cold turkey, mayo, and white bread, with cheese!!)? the truth is, i don't know if i'm giving them anything. this year i think we're going to try to do something a little different. we're going to go and visit the grandparents and great-grandmother. we're going to charlotte, nc for some time away. maybe in the car this year, we'll talk more about what we give than turn on the dvd player and tune everyone else out.
i have 3 kids and they can change the world. Lane has a story that others can't believe, d and e both are growing up in a world that isn't satisfied with the status quo...they are going to be a part of things that are bigger than them, things like save darfur, bloodwater mission, and finding a cure for AIDS. giving right now is cool, but what happens when it becomes who i am? what happens when my kids give something away that i think is important? will i force them to conform to what i think they should be or will i be satisfied with knowing that God is leading them to give it all away? will i enable them to be hoarders of stuff or will i give them permission to let go of some things?
open your hands and put them in front of you (this is an illustration a friend of mine shared with me last week--thanks DD). when you hold them out in front of you what is the natural position of your fingers? you tend to curl them toward you don't you? do you think it is more natural to let go of things or hold on to them?
what are you holding on to that you could let go of?
what can i do today that will tune others in rather than tune them out to the joy that i know?
Monday, November 12, 2007
well, this past saturday marked the ending of the Franklin Cowboys football season. 'A-White' played brentwood 'A-Blue' for the state championship and brentwood topped franklin 25-0 this time. the blaze had a great team that was well coached. as a defensive coach i was blown away by the way the blaze defense performed. this is the same team that beat us 19-0 two weeks ago to put us out of the playoffs. i say 19-0 because that was the final score, but i hang onto 13-0 in my mind because we gave up another touchdown with two minutes to go and were putting kids in positions they weren't familiar with, but oh well, that's just for my machismo i guess.
oh well, i guess it's time to get ready for D1 finally! e may want to join d this winter and work out, who knows?
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
sometimes i like to sit by the window and watch the world go by. in fact, i get caught up in it too often. i have a window in my office at church for the first time ever. seriously, for the first time in 13 years i have a window (and it's not microsoft windows!). i have a window that allows me to see the sunshine, to see the clouds, to see the rain, and to see the darkness roll into Nashville at 4:30 each day. i love having a window.
sometimes when i look out my window i wonder if the world outside cares about what is happening inside the building where i work. i wonder if the building where i work were to one day burn down or collapse, would the community outside even notice. sure they would notice the piles of rubble and see the void where the once great building stood, but would they miss what we supposedly offer to them? i think the majority in Nashville would be unaffected. i really do. i think if most churches were to diappear tomorrow, the people who live out of eyesight of the building would for the most part be unaffected.
look at it this way, when the country club shut down a few years ago, who was most upset? the members were! other than the members, who cares? ii didn't because it wasn't for me and it didn't affect me.
that's why today has been a contemplative day. a day where i can honestly remind myself of the mission statement that i wrote for my LIFE two years ago...
i want to AFFECT people's lives with the message of Jesus Christ with my LIFE...and i don't want my LIFE to be wasted on things that are insignificant!
what are you doing today that is significant to people outside your window?
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
some things i've been thinking about lately:
--what are the true benefits of church membership?
--why do people go into professions that they hate?
--how could anyone be miserable and have a true relationship with Christ?
--why does the world do such a great job at convincing people that their lives aren't fulfilled?
--if i knew that Jesus was coming back in 3 years exactly, when would i begin to really think about it (procrastinators understand this one)
--why is it so hard for someone who grew up in church to admit when things are going rough?
--when will i feel like a grown up?
again, these are just random thoughts. that's unfortunately the way my brain works. i'm beginning to become more of a morning person, and this morning, i realized that my best work really tends to happen early, so why do i not do it early...because i have too much "stuff" to do. could it be possble that God wants me to slow down and be more like Him than to be the one others think i should be?
Monday, November 5, 2007
sometimes it seems like we are willing to believe anything. two polar opposite views...one full of happy thoughts, one seemingly submerged in pessimistic realism. only ONE relates to scripture. think about it...but don't get caught up in anything that leaves out the consequences of sin...it's not salvation without needing to be saved from sin, is it?
Thursday, November 1, 2007
i'm asking you please pray for a friend...just call her O. she had a baby on sunday morning and the baby is in the NICU. Baby A was born @ 26 gestational weeks...out of 40. not as premature as Lane, but still really early. she's a whopping 2 pounds, but has some serious issues with her lungs and has some serious lung disease. i look at the pictures of her baby (this is a picture of Lane, not Baby A. i don't have permission to put her baby up here so i won't, but this picture gives you an idea how small that is...that is my wedding ring on Lane's left arm) and have to realize that i know her emotions. i know her thoughts. i know the aches and the pains of not knowing what to ask. i know the misery of thinking that it will all be over soon, one way or another. i know that sometimes it feels like it is too much to carry. i know that sometimes if feels like you are covered in ugliness and people are petrified of you and how they avoid you. i know the guilt that comes with trying to feel ok on a day when things aren't that way. i know the joy in taking off the mask and telling people that my life hurts. i have pains. i am miserable! i also know the forgiveness first hand that comes after horrible thoughts like, would it be better if this child wasn't here? what would the world think if they knew that i thought that? would i still be accepted in my circles? would i still have a job if i wasn't all "put together?" i know that it really DOES all work out for God's Glory, but only because i'm done stealing the glory from Him. i only desire to be covered in His Glory now!
enough soap-box preaching...but this is really living in my world...
"O" is having problems also though. she is continuing to hemorrhage and they are having a difficult time getting the bleeding stopped. a hysterectomy seems like the only viable option at this point but there are some issues. she has some health issues, she has a seriously sick child--that might die--issues, and she is going through a horribly messy divorce issues. she has no other children, and the child she has been blessed with is critically ill.
what if she can't have more children and her only child never comes home from the hospital? what kind of sense does this make? this is NOT the time to remind someone that God loves them and has a plan. HE DOES, but how does that help? how do you see the plan when the pain and suffering is splattered all across the windshield? sometimes the best things to say aren't even words. sometimes you HAVE to let your LIFE speak about something bigger than you are.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
tonight is halloween...big surprise i know, but october 31 has snuck up on us. we're really not that big into the day, so we were out late last night buying our last minute candy and treats. this is the first year that e has ever ventured out into the world of trick or treating. i'm excited because our church has decided to shut the doors on the one day a year that people are guaranteed to come and knock on your door! what a novel concept, asking people to leave the nice comfy church and get out into the world...it's almost like something that Jesus would have challenged his disciples and followers to do. then John 6:60-66 comes into play...and Jesus' followers become more concerned about what they want to do than what He is about...
Friday, October 26, 2007
when did we get to the point as the church that we really think that some of the things we are doing are good ideas? why in the world do we go from doing things that are good and right because they are changing people's lives for Christ, to doing things that are good and right because they make our lives easier. churches spend millions to get more people in for services because it is easier to put 3000 people in a room once than to have 750 people in 4 services; we have some who have made a mockery of life and think it's ok; we have others who just lose sight of what's happening around them and get burned out, get caught up in the "me" of it, and need to re-focus. somewhere along the way we became more involved in the machine known as church than in the ONE who CREATED the church. we have lawsuits, threats, and pastors making mistakes...but hey, who hasn't made a mistake? the problem comes when you look down the road and realize that you have strayed away from your first love as a follower of Him. i think pastors, staff (including me many times!!), leaders, congregants, and those on the outside all get caught in the trap. we go from looking at what is best for LIFE CHANGE to looking at what is best for me...i serve 50 hours a week at this place, why can't we make it a little easier? when does spending millions on something that changes the way our parking lot looks take precedence over missions to the people in our back door? trust me, i see this everywhere, but choose not to reveal it all.
why is it so easy to fall in love with Jesus, but so hard to love others who have known Him for a while? i don't think Paul, Peter, or John were like that. Peter is even credited by some to have started the church, but he was more about a relationship with his JESUS than anything else. there are still a few of them out there that have it right though. some even have taken the time to stop and quit trying to figure things out so that God can talk to them...that's a novel thought, but hey...who's got time for that?
last thought...where does the Bible talk about church membership? i'm not really against it, but i don't see it as a sticking point. what is the benefit of church membership? does anyone know? i think it's vital to be a part of a local church; to worship with them, to have community with them, to serve with them, to give with them, and to minister to them, but i don't see anything about having to be a member...just a thought.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
i'm on facebook, myspace, and youtube. the big question is why? the bigger answer is...to stay connected. isn't it funny, that we live in neighborhoods, work in offices, hang out at the ballpark, and STILL don't feel connected enough? just a though...
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
this saturday begins the playoffs for d and e. they are excited, and they are both practicing in the horrible weather here. why in the world would they practice in the rain and mud??? because it's FOOTBALL time. something to look forward to in the middle of it all...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
are you living your LIFE to the fullest? what is YOUR LIFE SAYING?
a friend challenged me the other day saying the he wanted to "Change the World." then i saw a great movie the other night…Evan Almighty. the whole movie revolved around one man who wanted to Change the World. the only problem is, God showed up and wanted him to actually do it, but do it God’s way. am I willing to let God ruin my “plans” for Changing the World or do I like my plans better than anything God? tough question that has to be answered.
Monday, October 22, 2007
as a dad with 2 boys playing football for the Franklin Cowboys the dream is always that Lane would get to experience football as well. here's what that might look like if he did. who says a blind guy can't play? yes, that's my hand holding his head up...the helmet is a little heavy!
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
so just when you think you're going to get a vacation, things happen. this weekend we took the boys on a fall BREAK journey. Lane went to the Nanny and Pop's and D and E went to Dollywood and the glorious redneckopolis known as Pigeon Forge. we stayed in a humongous 7 bedroom cabin there with some friends. we enjoyed the rides @ Dollywood, the go-carts @ The Track, and then we got the call.
we got the call from Nanny that they thought Lane had stopped breathing. they had to call 911. the first reaction was to assess the situation, then ask the hard question, "are you saying he's dead?", and then head out. we left D and E in capable hands with our friends, then booked it to East Tennessee Children's Hospital.
we got there right after Pop and Lane did, and all is well. he probably had a small seizure that caused his breathing to be super shallow. as always, better safe than sorry. plus, Lane probably wanted to go see some of his friends he hasn't been around in 10 years...
then tuesday night, D took a helmet to the arm during football practice and proceeded to have a gash that was deep enough for stitches. we jetted off to the Cool Springs Walk-In Clinic for a visit with Dr. Brad. he cleaned the cut...which almost made me puke...and then used super-super-glue to close it. amazing! D was a little worked up over the thought of getting sewed up, but he made it though fine. the only problem is that he doesn't have a super cool stitch in to get some female sympathy, but he'll be fine!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 3:57 PM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
sometimes God allows you to laugh, sometimes you get to cry, and other times you have to sit back and wonder just what in the world is really going on. the reality i always find is that He needs to get the glory regardless. when we act like idiots at church, God is still God. He needs the glory. the problem is we have people trying to step in and take 'just a little bit of it" for themselves. whether it's one person, 12, or 54 it's still simple...it's sin!
when we have troubles in our lives God is still God. when we sit back and wonder why things happen to us like they do, God is still God. funny isn't it. or maybe not...maybe He's trying to break what our view of "right" is. maybe He wants us to reshape our thinking to understand that we really aren't in control, even though we want to be. i can't cure cancer...i really want to. i can't bring people back from the dead...though that might be a wish of mine for some people. i can't heal Lane...i'm still helpless on this one. BUT...i can choose to understand that He already knew this, and He gave me His grace to cope, so i'm not tempted to steal HIS glory...
maybe God wants less of my excuses and more of my letting Him push me around in His chair He built for me...
Monday, October 8, 2007
yesterday was the big day. we had over 1500 people at church, and over 1300 voted (a few were absentee ballots but still a bunch of people were here just for the junk). it was funny that the ballot was so forthright. this wasn't some sort of metro ammendment that was for or against marriage or whatever, it was pretty straight forward. people still complained, and hooted and howled (thanks Jerry and Dennis) that this vote was foul, but in the end, only about 4% of the total church membership...listed at over 6800 and 20% of those voting wanted Jerry gone. so, i guess the reality is, the people have spoken. they want to be lead by the pastor and they want Jerry Sutton to be their pastor. only time will tell how much sillier this will get and how much more of a black eye this will give our church in the community. who cares what Christians think? who cares what other baptists think? truthfully i don't. i care what the watching world things. i care that people are using this as another excuse to hate church, God, and all that is related to Him...pretty big consequences follow sin. just think on that...
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 1:48 PM
Sunday, October 7, 2007
today is a wild day. two polar opposite events are taking place in my life within 3 hours of each other.
first, we're voting today in church. i know, exactly what Jesus died on the cross for. so a group of people could grumble and moan because they want things their way. i believe James 4 has something to say about that...
secondly, we're having a BIRTHDAY PARTY for Lane today. it's going to be a blast. 10 years old, what a rush! we've had so many people that we don't even know calling and rsvp'ing for his party, that Missy and i might just be a little overwhelmed when it gets going.
so, regardless of what you think is right or wrong...realize that the world is going on around you. good times, bad times, and weird times are all happening. i pray i see God in it all today!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 7:40 AM
Thursday, October 4, 2007
today is an amazing day. today LANE BRYSON WILSON turns 10 years old. so, instead of a blog, this is a letter to Lane...
What can we say? We never thought you would live to be 10 minutes old but 10 years was never even a thought. The years have flown by, and we cherish every thought we have of you and every time we think about you and your gigantic smile, we have to laugh ourselves!
We remember the first time that we had the chance to see you. You were so small! You could have fit in the palm of someone’s hand or in the pocket of a pair of pants. It was tempting so many times to shove you deep into one of our pockets and just run out the door. We could take you away from the hospital and take you into our world…and into the pain and reality that we were helpless. The only thing that kept us from grabbing you and running was the staff. We knew that the people who were there at the hospital watching you each day were there because they loved you and wanted to see you get better.
No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t make you well. That’s the hardest part about being a parent…looking at you and realizing that we could have grabbed you and run away with you, but you were where you needed to be. You were at a place where you were cared for, loved, and most importantly taken care of…by people who knew a whole lot more than us. That is probably what it is supposed to be like though. We should have handed you over to God immediately and trusted Him to take care of you, but that was really difficult. We live in a world that teaches us to fix things, and if we can’t fix them, find someone else who CAN. The horrid reality however was that we couldn’t find anyone else to fix you. Even the doctors and the nurses who loved you, cried for you, and found batteries for your tape player when your music stopped, couldn’t fix you. We found that out the hard way. We realized that you were out of our hands when you were about 2 months old. When you lost your IV’s we were out of hope. We couldn’t trust a doctor to fix you…he didn’t have any more doctor tricks. We couldn’t trust the staff, the friends, or the family either…we were ALL helpless. Then God reminded us that you were on loan to us. You were NEVER supposed to be ours, but you are HIS on loan to us for however long he deems necessary.
You helped us realize that our lives were so out of control. We honestly thought we had control of some of those things. We thought that we could overcome your “problems” and things would eventually be ok. God knew we couldn’t handle it on our own and allowed us to struggle just long enough to throw up our hands and completely remove “US” from “YOU”. Guess what? You’re alive today because God had so much bigger plans than we could have dreamed up.
If we had it to choose, we would never have chosen it this way. We would have NEVER chosen to have a “special” child. We wanted normal. We wanted routine. We wanted what everyone else had. Then we realized that God was giving us a gift in you. We get to see you grow up. We get to see you defy the odds. We get to see you on your best and worst days, but we still realize that each of those days are on loan from God, and when we get to be too possessive, we have to take our hands off again. God’s been really great at allowing us to remove our hands multiple times. He has been there the whole time, watching over you and giving you enough breaths to survive exactly how HE wants. He didn’t call us and ask if it was ok, and we’re glad He didn’t. We would have missed out on so much.
We would have missed:
Mom coming to ask Jesus into her heart in 1998 because she was sick of playing the game. She wanted REAL life change, not a new paint job on the old life.
Realizing that the doctors and nurses in the NICU have weird lives. They don’t go home at the end of the day and “deprogram” from it all. Many of them stop by late at night because they continue to think about the babies that are trusted to them.
Getting to know that EVERYONE has problems in their lives. Our “problem” turned out to be the greatest gift ever…you!
Your brothers getting a chance to see God at work. You have overcome every obstacle in front of you. They know that God is in control.
Dyllan having the biggest heart for others…because he would NEVER let anyone hurt you.
Eli letting you grab, push, hit, and roll all over him. How awesome to know that he sees you as his brother…nothing else. He really loves you!
You patting your chest when you answer the question, “Where does Jesus live?” You know He’s in your heart…I don’t know how, but I want to make sure I live everyday knowing that one day…you’re going to walk, talk, and see…better than anyone ever did here on earth. One day, you’ll be fixed!
April 17, 2006…my LIFE speaks being born because we had come to the end of our road…and found that God wanted us to trust Him more and more…
We got to meet so many incredible people because you were born. We met incredible doctors, nurses, social workers, ambulance drivers, pilots, and other parents who were just like us.
As your Dad, I remember being so overwhelmed the first time 10 years ago that I walked into the NICU to see you lying there in your bed. You were covered in saran wrap. I didn’t know why. I knew there had to be a reason, but that reason escaped me. I couldn’t get past the fact that you had 10 fingers, 10 toes, and you were perfect. You were a little small, but you were still perfect.
When Mom finally got to see you, she immediately went into Mom mode. She began talking to you, singing to you, and praying for you. How ironic, that the person that carried you inside of her for 23 weeks was now trusting someone else to get you to our house.
Lane, Happy 10th Birthday. Thanks for letting us learn so much about God because of you. Thanks for not hating us because we brought you into this world, but please know, God had to be in charge, because we would have messed it up for you. We would have chosen “normal” and missed out on you being who God created you to be!
Mommy and Daddy!
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
a day is coming that i never thought i would ever happen. Tomorrow, October 4, 2007 will celebrate 10 years of LANE'S life. he's come so far from 1 pound and 4 ounces and 11 inches long. What a BLESSING. i have to admit, this morning while i was feeding him and listening to Daughtry's song, "Home" i couldn't help but think about how this home on earth won't compare to his true home in heaven.
find someone to smile at today!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 10:26 AM
Monday, October 1, 2007
i was reminded this morning on the way to take the boys to school, that God doesn't worry. i was reminded because i had begun to worry in my self that things were getting out of hand with Him, and that He might be needing my help. i remembered when my littlest prayed, that God would be ok today...he really meant it. he wants God to have a good day...then i started thinking...when has God NOT had a good day? the answer has to be simple...HE IS. so, He doesn't have bad days. He CREATED days...just something to think about today.
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 1:12 PM
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"What do you say to the God of the universe who chose not to heal or save your baby? Who, though they are giving you strength to endure, moment by moment, actually allowed the situation that require endurance in the first place? I call on you to pray for me. I will not turn my back on Him. But words fail me."
Conor, Boothe, Sellers, and Copeland's blog
ever been there?
that's what happens when you get so true that you let it out. can you imagine how many people don't have an answer to a question like that? i know i've been there. i've struggled to "rejoice" in times of pain. how can i help them? i can't. that's the horrible truth. God has to be enough for them, for me, and for you. i could wax eloquent on here with some great theological debate about the completion that God brings to us, how His ways are so great, and about how He does what is best...but if He's not there to comfort, strengthen, and give peace...well, it truly is hopeless.
it's what you do with the pain and suffering that matters most! that's what i've been saying for a year and a half, and just last night i found out that this couple that i've been praying so hard for has been instrumental in our own lives without even knowing it. April 17, 2006, we started myLIFEspeaks because some lady (we now know as Boothe) told Missy that we had a story that needed to be shared. can you imagine the awe i have right now knowing that her words have been so true? how could i ever have imagined that she would be letting her life speak through all of this and putting her raw emotions out for everyone to see?
what are YOU doing with your pain and suffering? you don't have to put it on a blog, on a website, or anywhere else. you're not hiding it. you really aren't. sure you're hiding it from the guy @ Wal-Mart, but you're not hiding it from those who have watched you for years. you're wearing it! it's ok to wear it too. now will you cover it with Him?
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 8:19 AM
Monday, September 24, 2007
what are we supposed to do when things don't go our way? what do you do? i know what i usually choose. i usually choose to try to think of a solution to my problem. i usually try to figure things out that make sense to me. that usually works pretty good...good enough to create total chaos in my life.
like for instance, my van keys. my keys are so lost right now, i don't think the fbi could find them. seriously, they're lost. in fact, i'm definitely stressed about it. i'm racking my brain to come up with a way to find those little metal devils. it's beginning to affect my family. i mean, i take care of my stuff. i don't leave my toys out in the rain anymore. i put my garage door down at night so that the boogey men won't come in and carry off all of the junk that i call mine. i even went so far as to put up those little hook things that are supposed to keep my keys safely attached to the wall until i need them. the only problem is that i still have to put them there.
this weekend has been exciting...great football games (which is why i thinkg God invented fall!), friends, family, and then it all went southward towards the land of OCD...i lost my keys.
growing up an only child meant that i never had to worry about someone else losing my stuff; it meant however that i couldn't ever blame someone else for losing my stuff. I LOST MY KEYS! what kind of a loser does that? i don't mean misplaced them, i mean LOST them!
i have searched the entire house, the yard, and even both (yes 2) minivans. still no luck. sounds biblical enough, i mean at least the widow found that stupid coin, but that was her and this is ME! she didn't even have keys, shucks, she probably didn't even have a door, but she found the coin, why can't i find the keys???
then it hits me, i'm worried about something so much that it has actually altered my mood. i've never been a crack addict or junkie, but i have had my mood altered before. i never liked it. i hate being out of control of my actions, so why in the world am i letting keys do this to me? i know why, because i have always cared so much about losing something, and now i care so much about losing them. it makes me look bad, look irresponsible, and even silly. i do not like looking like that. i like putting on my pretty little perfect face and living normal without problems. i am not immune to problems though.
then the big one hits, what does it really matter in the scope of things? at least i'm not being sued (like so many people i work with and respect), i'm not watching my child suffer in the last hours of her life (God please watch Copeland...and her mommy, daddy, and sister), nor am i wondering how i am going to put food on the table (which was so true not to many days ago...). i'm worried about keys. i can get another set...or really just one is all that is missing. the truth is my problems aren't really that big today. sure it's a hassle, and having to borrow my wife's keys stinks, but i've got God. that really is enough today.
so those plans i had about getting a giant metal detector and retracing everywhere i've been for the past 4 days are gone. i'm going to spend some time with Him...
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 10:41 AM
Friday, September 21, 2007
have you ever asked yourself why? have you ever wanted to know why these things are happening in your life, in your family, in the lives of those you love so much? i have as well. i have many times wondered why? the most recent why in my life has been, "God, why have you given Missy and i such a great testimony of you? will we be willing to be who you are calling us to be? will we be able to be faithful with the greatness that you have? will we even give you the credit for us being who we are?" fortunately i have been able to fail...and fail often enough to experience the grace of God in many ways. one of those ways is to be able to stand renewed in Him and be given more chances than i deserve at living out what He has given me. today, what will you do with what you have? you have the same 86,400 seconds as the people around you. are you making a difference with the testimony he has given you?
i have to admit, this came about as i read the blog of a family that is laid open in front of the world to wonder the answer to this question as they deal with the death of a child. God, oh that you would be glorified in this horrible world. that You alone would receive the glory that you deserve, and that we would realize that you really DO work good out of the most horrible situations because we are called to YOUR purpose not ours...let our eyes be yours and our thoughts be yours. let us remove ourselves more daily and be replaced by you alone! (www.conorbootheandgirls.blogspot.com)
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 8:36 AM
Thursday, August 30, 2007
well, the Deal or No Deal experience was something. long story short, we went, we sat, we waited, and left. we didn't get on the show that day, so they are going to fly us back out. i guess another trip to california won't be that bad! i get to eat @ In-N-Out again. Burgers, Fries, and Fun...plus really cool shirts!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 10:03 AM
my first big boy event. that's right, i'm doing an event for adults at two rivers. it's going to be a blast for all of our singles. my good friends brent gambrell and aaron loy are leading it, and i'm looking forward to it. it's going to be friday and saturday and it's going to be a time for people to relax and enjoy friendships and worship God.
we've changed the look of our chapel recently, so it's going to be an event in the round. that means that you'll be closer to the action than ever. you'll be right there with aaron as he leads the music and sitting right in front of brent as he teaches. i can't imagine having anyone elsse be a part of this event...brent and aaron are solid guys that have marinated in a relationship with Christ for years, and their hearts will come out during this time.
i'm looking forward to it!
Monday, August 20, 2007
this week i have the opportunity to be a part of a cultural phenomenon. one of my greatest friends in the world (that's a whole story in itself), Paul Teller, is going to be a contestant on the game show, "deal or no deal" this week, and i've been picked to be one of his supporters. that's right, i'm going to be on tv. (check him out at www.clearviewstudents.com) the show is scheduled to air in November, so don't get too crazy just yet. we're flying out wednesday, tape the show on thursday, and home on friday.
i'm praying that God will be glorified in all of this. who knows, Paul might make history and walk away with a million bucks, or he could walk away with 20. the coolest thing ever is that he gets to do it, and he gets to take his faith with him. no, he won't be preaching, evangelizing, or wearing a turn or burn t-shirt (which either relieves or infuriates you), but he WILL be taking his personal relationship with Christ with him on this journey. no one can take that away.
go Paul!! pick the right case...or better yet, just be YOU and kknow that it's all going to be fun! ever been to California on someone else's dime?? neither have i...
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
the answer, as churchy as you might find it to be, is Christ. the question however is what i'm searching for. i have begun to realize that the only thing truly worth investigating is Christ. to find out what He wants for me is the most important. to find out what His plans are...that's where i am now. i have many questions in my life right now, but regardless of the question the answer seems to always come back to me learning ot empty myself out and make Christ bigger in my life. (Micah 6:8; Proverbs 18:12 come to mind)
missy got a call yesterday from the neurosurgeon's office. they need to reschedule Lane's pump surgery. thursday wasn't going to work for the, they had something come up...which i'm sure is often true in the world of opening up people's brains and spinal chords. when she called me though, she wasn't cheerful, rather, she was troubled. she was troubled because we have both been praying since last week that God would show us clearly what we need to do in regards to Lane's surgery. we were both relieved that his surgery was rescheduled last week because we were both uneasy about proceeding. then when the call came in yesterday...the relief was there again. why? were we supposed to be relieved? were we supposed to proceed or were we supposed to see this as God's hand?
we chose to halt. we're waiting now. waiting on God to either say GO or NO. we don't have either, so the best thing to do is spend some time with Him...see it all really does come back to Christ!!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 8:20 AM
Monday, August 6, 2007
the wife and i have felt God leading us to give up something that's important to us, so we can focus on Him...that's a fast. it's time in our lives to seek God's wisdom. with all kinds of things happening (Lane having surgery thursday, Mom STILL in the hospital, and even more junk) we thought why stress, why not just go before God and get some advice?
i realize that some will think we're nuts...and we are, but not because of this. some will think we're super spiritual...we're not...trust me, and some will watch and see what happens. everyday you have a choice.
what are you going to do with all of your 86,400 seconds today?
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 9:42 AM
Thursday, August 2, 2007
i talked to my mom today. she's been in the hospital since monday, when she had to be taken by ambulance to Baptist Hospital in Knoxville. she has pneumonia...or at least that's the "best guess" the doctors honestly have right now. she can't breathe well. she's got a fever, chills, and she can't get out of bed without that general "i think i'm going to pass out" feeling.
i know we all have pain. sometimes pain is physical...like mom's. sometimes pain is emotional...because we don't have an answer to why we hurt. sometimes pain is impossible to describe...like when you have to hang up the phone when you're in another country and your kids are at home.
regardless of how we might describe it, pain is real. today you might be the one bright spot for someone else's pain. you might be the one suffering. regardless, where are you going to go when you have pain? are you going to resolve yourself to pain or are you going to do something? the choice is yours. if you're experiencing pain today, my prayer is that you will find Comfort...and not in a bottle, pills, or an injection. not in the eyes of another person. not in a self-help book, but rather, in a Creator that loves you.
listen to a song by a guy named John Waller...the blessing. realize that your words are huge and can turn someone else's day from night to day. realize that if you're hurting, it's ok to need someone else.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
since when did technology get so amazing? i don't have a clue how to edit a video or even copy a dvd, but today i posted my first video on youtube! it's the myLIFEspeaks promo video, and i'm really proud of it. i can't believe that i can now send people over the web to view something. WOW. what will happen next? i don't know if i really want to know the answer to that question...
Monday, July 30, 2007
why don't i use capital letters? i get that a lot. the big reason is that i have spent so much of my life making sure that the focus is on the capital "i" that i forget where i fit into the overall picture. true. i struggle with that. so now, it's easier to let the "i" be small, and God to be capital and put others in their place, while i continue to find mine...!
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 9:48 AM
today we were scheduled to go to vandy children's hospital so Lane could have his baclafan pump implanted. it didn't happen though. we got there @ 7am and things were trucking along beautifully. we were right on schedule...waiting in the lobby for 45 minutes...when a nurse came and told us that someone (else) was coming to inform us that Lane's surgery would be cancelled for today. i think she gave it away though. when our doctor came by (dr. matt pearson) a little while later, he was visibly distraught. i realize that we're not normal parents. we have a special needs child, and we're ok with that. we realize that things come up and even we (insert sarcastic gasp here) have to put our lives on hold for others. we don't want to be trouble. we just want what's best for our family. today, what was best for our family was someone else's emergency. i don't understand it completely, but i DO know that God is still in control, and that He knows why it all happened. thanks for your prayers, your concerns, and your thoughts. i'll keep youupdated on what's coming up.
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 9:39 AM
Sunday, July 29, 2007
today, i'm reminded that blogging is difficult. i've spent the summer doing great things, vacation with the family, speaking @ camps, travelling to haiti, and trying to work. where does a blog fit into all of that? for some, it's easy...blogging is life, and for others like me, it's easy to just simply get too worked up to write. so if you're reading this, or checking back, then you'll be happy to know that even though the blog appeared abandoned, it's not! i'm back, and i'm hitting the keys...for one reason...because it builds up inside of me and i have to get it out. tomorrow is a big day! we're heading to vanderbilt children's hospital @ 7 am (so no blog tomorrow) for lane to have surgery. it's going to be a long day, but God already knows it. so if you get this, pray for us and especially for him. if you read this after the fact, lift up a prayer then, because the coolest thing is that God is called...I AM. that means what you pray right now he hears yesterday, in 1893, and earlier....because He's there right now as well! Let that sit in your tea cup and steep for a while...
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 8:12 AM
Monday, April 30, 2007
My question is simple, "Why do YOU laugh?" I know why I laugh. I laugh when things are funny. I laugh when people are stressing out over something that isn't too big in the grand scheme of things...spilled milk, oversleeping, not enough/too much work. I laugh when I get nervous and when I'm scared--it's my natural defense mechanism, I just can't keep it in. I also laugh sometimes when I'm by myself, because I think about how silly I look at that moment.
So, why DO you laugh? Do you laugh at the wrong time? Do you laugh at inappropriate moments (during weekly staff meeting?), or do you never laugh?
I want to be remembered as a laugher.
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 3:00 PM
Monday, April 23, 2007
What is "myLIFEspeaks"? I'm glad you asked...
myLIFEspeaks is the beginning of an understanding of who I am and who God has created me to be. I realize after 9 years of having a son with special needs (Lane) that God has had His plan all along. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever gotten the point where you actually begin to accept the junk and the pain and look for the actual meaning in it? Have you ever looked at a horrible situation and thought it was an opportunity to bring you closer to a real living God? I know that sounds like the answer you might expect from a minister guy. I should say that right? I should know that God has a plan and He's going to take care of me, but what happens when somebody like me has more questions than answers (check out the rest of the blog if you don't believe it), and what happens when i speak those questions out loud?
I have to tell you I didn't get there overnight nor did I realize just how big it was until recently. I had to go through 9 years of asking God the question, "Why?" Not why did you do this to me but why do I have this life that is so amazing and I'm not doing ANYTHING with it.
myLIFEspeaks is about realizing that others are actually watching my life and taking notes...and not just my life but your life as well. If you think I'm full of hot religious air, just look at the face of your kids, your spouse, and your co-workers. Do you think you really have any secrets from them?
myLIFEspeaks...what is YOUR life saying?
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 8:48 PM
Friday, April 20, 2007
What happens when we eat and don't pray? Does God need to bless the food anymore than He already has? I think that He has blessed more than we give Him credit for many times. When I say thanks, if I don't really mean it, what am I really saying, "If I don't talk to you God, You might get mad, so I'm trying to appease you." ? Could that be true? How many prayers have i offered up that were so shallow and so full of me?
My deepest prayer ever? "Oh God please Help!"
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 2:19 PM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Who are you CONNECTED to with your life? Most of us aren't because being CONNECTED means that we have to open up our shallow selves and let others see the junk, the pain, and the hurt.
What happens when someone looks at our insides and sees that we're not really ok? Do they bolt? What makes them even pretend to want to stay?
I think the answer is simple. We're all wired to connect with someone else. Without someone else to share the load with, we all will collapse under the strain and the stress.
just something to think about...
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 6:40 PM
A 76-year-old professor who survived the Holocaust was shot to death while saving his students from the Virginia Tech assailant, students said.
By now you are probably like me. You have been glued to the television for some information about the Virginia Tech Massacre. You want more than Fox News and CNN's new "Massacre-mini-Series" and dark yet drawing theme song. You want to know more about the actual people and what went on.
I introduce you to Liviu Librescu, a true hero. The ironic thing about all of this is his nationality...Liviu was from Israel (by way of Romania). He survived hardships, the Nazis, the Holocaust, and surviving in the American University system. Monday all of that ran out for him.
If you don't know his story yet I encourage you to google him. You'll see the definition of Love surrounding him.
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."--Matthew 15:13. Professor Librescu lived out that love on Monday when he literally put his body in front of his classroom door to allow 18-24 year old men and women the opportunity to escape the wrath of a man with gun.
Did he think about his family? Did he think about his students? Did he understand Jesus' words? Did he just do what came naturally? Did he see his life as entering into the final stages and see the young lives around him? Did he care about others more than himself? Why would he do it?
Why do I walk the other way when hard things are in front of me? What would I do? I don't know how to answer at this point...I can only pray that God will allow me to escape the threat of a gunman to determine how my character will be revealed.
Blessings and Prayers,
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 12:21 PM
Monday, April 16, 2007
I had such a great opportunity this weekend. On Friday and Saturday I had the opportunity to be involved in "Wreck'D" weekend with Fleetwood Baptist Church. We were in Eutah (pronounced Utah), Alabama at a farm that serves as a ministry campground. Awesome is the only way to describe that place.
Jeff Weathers is the Student Pastor there. You can check up on him at his ministry website, www.crashstudents.com Beware though, they are possibly the most competitive group that I have ever been around. They will compete in anything. I learned a new Olympic sport this weekend...Noodle Hockey! That's right, pool noodles, a whiffle ball, and cones that serve as goals...all lead up to one of the most competitive and NHL-esque intense activities you will ever be a part of. In fact, I don't think anyone even realized that it was raining.
I had the opportunity to share a couple of messages with the group. We had a blast spending time together.
Posted by myLIFEspeaks at 9:08 PM