Saturday, March 22, 2008

i saw God today... and yesterday... and i will tomorrow too

how often do we walk around wondering where God is? i feel like there are so many times when im just going through the motions, stuck in boredom, stagnant, wondering where in the heck God is and why in the heck i cant seem to feel or see Him working in my life. i drive myself crazy when i cant seem to grasp what He is doing which is of course incredibly ignorant because i am fully aware (and have been fully aware for that matter) that our God works in ways that are beyond my comprehension.

but let me tell you this...
for some reason or another, God has consistently put me in places where His glory surrounds me. i just forget to open my eyes most of the time. this morning, i heard a song by george strait that he has titled "i saw God today." now im not much of a country music fan at all so i am tempted to label this as divine intervention, but the bottom line is that this song helped remind me of God's presence in our everyday, casual lives. and even though his theology might be a bit off (hopefully you see that is not my primary concern at all - ever!), let me give you part of the lyrics:

Just walked down the street to the coffee shop
Had to take a break
I'd been by her side for 18 hours straight
Saw a flower growin' in the middle of the sidewalk
Pushin' up through the concrete
Like it was planted right there for me to see
The flashin' lights
The honkin' horns
All seemed to fade away
In the shadow of that hospital at 5:08
I saw God today

I've been to church
I've read the book
I know He's here
But I don't look
Near as often as I should
Yeah, I know I should
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear
I saw God today.

when i heard this song i was captivated. it was really weird. i sat back and thought of the big things that i everyday take for granted. for those of you who dont know or have forgotten, i go to school on top of a mountain. lookout mountain to be exact. people travel from across the country to see this place. i dont. i live there. from my room i can see mountains all the way to the smokies (thanks to some strategic branch cutting) and almost every evening i witness a breathtakingly beautiful work of art as the clouds and sky are painted with a stroke of perfection. i think we refer to this as a sunset. and theres more... just a couple weeks ago i was blessed to have the opportunity to visit lake tahoe in cali. along the way, we were able to visit sacramento and san francisco. i played on the golden gate bridge and teased downtown from my 36th floor room in the downtown hilton with the bay resting in the background. i bounced around fishermans wharf and shared a bread bowl of chowder with close friends along the waterfront. i talked to people with accents i had never heard and watched over a hundred sailboats mosey around aimlessly on the massive bay. in tahoe i saw mountains that immediately took my breath away. i saw a lake that looked like an ocean and again spoke and interacted with people from places i had never been. i had a five and a half foot base of snow with a hot tub that sat directly beneath the 10,000 plus foot peak of the mountain and friends with whom to share it all. yet still, even as i sometimes remembered that it was all there because of our sovereign God, i sat there as if i was king; as if this stuff was there because of me; as if this stuff was there by chance. and still more, i now sit in downtown st simons island on easter break with the sun beaming down on me from above. the ocean is just down the street providing a breeze sweet enough to drink. trees hang low over the roads giving shade while sidewalks follow the roads with the feet of families and couples and kids and friends.

point being, His glory, His work, His sovereignty, His love, His grace and mercy, His majesty - they surround us. they surround me. it can be as simple as a flower coming through the concrete or as big as 10,000 ft mountain. God's creation is designed to bring glory to Him; creation isnt designed to glorify itself. so as im thinking about that... i remember that im also part of that magnificent creation. simply put, im here to glorify Him; im not here to be glorified.

so for the time being, im not wondering what God is doing in my life, im not wondering if He is at work and im not wondering how He is working because i finally opened my eyes. and it really is a beautiful thing. if you havent opened your eyes in a while, beware bc it will consume you and it will force you into a surrender - im still gasping for air.

one other thing --> the surrender is beautiful and full of joy so prepare your voices to sing!

ps. i just landed a job with youthworks for the summer as a site director where i will serve as the main liaison bt youthworks and the community as well as the team manager of my yet to be assigned site. this will involve a lot of interaction with people and will place me in a position of leadership that should not be taken lightly. please pray that i will not be lackadaisical in my preparation for the summer. please be in prayer as i complete the necessary requirements for the job to start. and finally, give thanks with me for this wonderful opportunity to share in the growth of God's Kingdom through my time this summer as an employee of youthworks.

Monday, March 17, 2008

God of what?

first, let me just tell you im still having to convince myself im not God.

and before i forget, my apologies for being so lazy in my posts... honestly i hate computers and the less time i can spend on them the better and with school being the way it is right now in this beautiful spring... yeah... you get the picture.

anyway, back to me being or not being God, i was reading the other day about applying the Gospel to our lives (i know im such a wonderful Christian) and something really jumped out at me. the author commented on how our perception of God impacts our walk through the way we believe God interacts with us. i began thinking about how i viewed God along with whether or not i really agreed with the above statement. ultimately, i think i do agree with that statement and as i thought more about how i viewed God - the God of love, the God of wrath - i realized that there really are serious implications drawn from my perception of the Almighty. it also occurred to me that because we are all going to create our own God in our own mind to some extent, that there really isnt much room for me to be critical of someone else's interpretation of the Gospel. obvioulsy i can offer my opinion and obviously i can speak against heresy, but i need to be extremely careful in how i define heresy and what my motivations are in calling that person out. and even this - this confrontation, this "calling a person out" - will be carried out in a manner reflective of my own perception of God and how i believe He would handle the situation as Christ here on earth.

so basically im advocating a state of mind that is a little more open than to what i'm traditionally been accustomed. in no way am i saying that i believe every interpretation is accurate or even acceptable, but i am saying that if we look close enough there is probably going to be some truth in the interpretation - no matter who it comes from.

when thinking of an open-mind, naturally i think of a child as they are typically the most care-free, knowledge hungry people around. if we, as adults, as teenagers, as whatever we are, can somehow maintain this open-mindedness we will actually challenge what we believe; we will listen to others rather than jump to conclusions; we will no longer see demons in the interpretations of others; we will no longer be content to side with people simply because they agree with us. i believe this to be true because i believe that an open mind shifts the focus away from us and back to Him. i mean, who really cares if people agree with us and our own theology? we do. and a step further, can theology save us? _____ . you fill in the blank. in my mind these thoughts are selfish and stem from a perception of God that is at its core completely inaccurate. our God is a God of love. we all know that. but do we really believe it?

all of these thoughts have also changed my view of the church. when thinking of the church, i now think of a community of faith where people are joined together to worship one name - and here is the change - and hold one another accountable through and by their own faith in the enduring love of the Father. and as i read that it seems like there is a little too much emphasis on us, but what im trying to communicate is that through all of our different interpretations and different levels of faith, we are able to see God on a much larger scale than we ever would have alone. this is a change in thinking because ive always thought of the church as the body that comes together between walls and behind doors with everyone sharing the same biblical principles, ideas of God, understanding of Scripture, and knowledge of reformed doctrine. but this isnt the church. this isnt the church at all. God cannot be limited to one definition because He is the definition - He defines us! but when we look at Him alone, apart from our family, we inevitably limit Him as consequence of our own interpretation through our self guided eye. the church does not exist to create a mission; the church exists because there is a mission. our church extends far beyond the walls and doors of some agreed doctrine or theology. we are part of a community of faith that works together for a greater understanding and a greater image of God - one that we will never be able to fully comprehend which actually gives me such an overwhelming peace. i mean, what if we knew exactly the depth and density of our King? i really dont think we could handle it.

so as we everyday seek the Kingdom of God, (the protector, the lover, the just, the gracious, the merciful, the omnipotent, the whatever it is we see...) lets all take a second to examine our own interpretation of God. lets forget about ourselves and lets see how we believe He interacts with us. then, and this gets tricky, lets actually listen to those around us. i think we'll be humbled.

(which is of course always a good thing here.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

with a little help from my friends

covenant has given me better friends than i could have ever asked for. almost as good as my brothers. matter of fact, i think some of them i would consider family. okay like 3. 4 tops. no probably just 3. anyway, ive always been a little skeptical with friends. its not that i dont trust them or anything like that, its just that i sometimes very selfishly assume them to be using my friendship as something for their own individual gain, presenting itself through some form of pressure on me to be someone that i am not. its really frustrating, and ultimately its why my close friends are so close. and so few in number --> i know and believe they arent expecting anything from me apart from me. (not that the others are... i just feel like they are.)

that being said, its sadly very dangerous to be close with a select few. at least for me. this is true bc we get too comfortable. its not like we try to be, we just get that way over time. we look to one another before God. we see sin in each other's lives but it no longer looks like sin. rather it looks like personality or some form of harmless expression. its dangerous. very dangerous. and this is the very thing that i hate! --- with all my heart! i can talk to you all day about how disgusted i am with the somewhat nonchalant, borderline apathetic, very egotistical, and depressingly stagnant approach towards Christianity, outreach, and the building up of community in the body of Christ from which many Christians suffer. and here i am... mister "listen up heathens im here to save the day and point you back to the cross" doing the very things that i supposedly hate. well i really do hate them, i just dont trust and believe in the promises of my King.

so.... as this sin stealthily works its way in and through my close relationships in an ever so deceptive manner, i become blind to my own sin.

----(im never blind to the sin of others. so if you ever need help finding the sin in your life, i am but one call away. we can set up an appointment and in less than thirty minutes i can show you the multitudes of sin in your life. you will see your own sin as you never have before, promises of my thirty minute guarantee, or your money back. the only rules are that you refrain from asking me questions concerning my own life.) ha. that was kinda fun.

anyway, being blind to the sin in each others lives, my friends and i rarely call one another out - even when we can see the sin clear as the nose on your face. and mine. so we just sit there, content with our security in one another, stagnant. that is until monday night...

one of my friends of two years took a stand. it was unexpected, out of the ordinary, and beautifully humiliating. let me lay this out for you:

i get an email from a friend who was not - but is now - considered family. the email expressed a desire to catch up in a sense and "talk about life." i was intrigued and bc i really do enjoy talking one on one with people i was quick to agree. we end up at waffle house late monday night for what was expected in my mind to be a fun time filled with laughter and storytelling. i was a little off in my assumption. (which now seems to be a trend in my life. assumptions = ignorance. for me anyway.) so we sat down, ordered a couple waffles, sipped on some coffee and awaited the guaranteed indigestion which follows any waffle house meal. i can recall the first question word for word: "dane, what are you doing?" i was slightly confused so i responded "eating at waffle house." (sarcasm is always my out, as if you dont already know.) my joke didnt really work and i was greeted with a face of disgust. but it was somehow beautiful. the conversation then developed and i was called out by this friend of mine concerning the manner in which i was living. they asked me to consider my decisions, both large and small, and to weigh their consequences. and what was unique about this was that the main consequence noted was the influence i was having on my friends. i was shocked. i was broken. i was vulnerable. i was helpless, speechless, and humbled. but i was simultaneously loved. cared for. respected. all through a tangible belief in me from my friend, which i know to be possible only through the Spirit actively bearing fruit in their heart. i was so broken at waffle house. so ashamed. but i was so in love. i was actually able to experience the joy of surrender and i can honestly say there is not a better feeling. i saw Christ in my friend and i felt His perfect love. i had been living what i thought to be a worthy life, when in reality i was as far away from Him as i had ever been.

oswald chambers talks about the times we feel apart from God, unable to hear His voice and feel His love. he reminds us that in those times God is still all around us - in commonplace things and even better, our friends. i agree. when we are feeling distant from His voice and love, when the Bible sadly seems to be nothing more than words, our friends serve as a refuge where we can find Him again. through their experiences and words, we should be able to see Him again. and in that we should find some form of desire created by the Spirit living in us to seek after Him in passion and love. my friend did this for me. and whats crazy is that i didnt even look for it - i wasnt looking for refuge, but it came to me anyway. and everything that was said was done so in such a humble manner that it convicted my heart even further. all i could feel was love. even as i sat there speechless and vulnerable i knew i was loved. i never once questioned any motives or intentions of my friend bc i knew it was God speaking to me. even as this friend of mine was confronting me about the sin in my life, calling me out on the things ive been doing wrong, His love surrounded me and it was so beautiful i could actually relax in it. it was perfect love. (this is a skill i lack. maybe its tact. maybe its just a committed relationship to my Savior?)

i could go on and on about how i didnt deserve this treatment from my friend bc of the past and the different directions we have gone, but now i see it as the work of the Holy Spirit. and even though this friend of mine had more than enough reason to neglect me and leave me in my confidently secure pattern of life, it didnt happen bc of their complete submission to Him. im telling you its so beautifully orchestrated, so intricately designed - its more than just a testimony and encouragement to me, its like a revelation of sorts. its pure love. love only possible through Christ. i feel now as though i owe something to my friend. i know that i dont but im just so undeserving of this love. (what a picture of Christ!) its like guilt. ha... guilt. i could make another novel of a post on that.

anyway, i ask for your prayer. i ask that you pray for me wisdom, love, devotion, and complete submission. i want to be one who goes to my friends just as my friend did. i know this is only possible when i submit myself as an instrument for His service. im not completely there yet. for now, its only when im comfortable. only when i want to. but i dont want it to be that way. i want to do His work even when im feeling insecure, uncomfortable, and inadequate. so pray for me that i would rest in His promises because in Him we will not lose. its just not an option. He is forever sovereign. we just have to recognize His definition of victory and forget our own sinful and selfish one.

Monday, February 4, 2008


since December I have pulled my hamstring 3 times, consequently leaving me on the sidelines for the better half of basketball season. in case you didnt know, basketball was the real reason I was excited about college. Even at huntingdon. It was never class. It was never the opportunity to grow and learn about culture or myself or other people or anything like that. It was all about ball.

So here I am, now in my second semester of my fourth year of college, a first semester senior, and im still thinking about ball. Growing up it was all I knew and even as my interests have broadened, my thoughts still swarm around sports of all kinds. Especially basketball. Looking back, I see myself as a little kid playing ball at lakeside and moody and briarwood and it was all so much fun. Then I fast forward to high school and I see an arrogant 9th grader who wanted nothing more than to play ball and show everybody what he could do. 10th grade offered an alternate route – same for my 11th grade year – as I recovered from two torn acls suffered during football season. 12th grade I was back on the court but it wasn’t the same. To be honest it has never been the same since then. Yeah I still love the game, but the way I play has changed.

I left after my senior year of high school for huntingdon where I intended to be the starting point guard. After working my way up the roster I figured to be an important player on a team loaded with upperclassmen. Once again an alternate route was presented to me with less than a week before our first game - this time in the form of a stress fracture on my right foot. I was out for a month and when I returned (severely out of shape) I found playing time rather hard to come by.

The following summer I decided to transfer to Covenant. I didn’t really expect to play ball. I just desired a change of scenery and I actually kinda liked the idea of being at a school that my dad really liked. I mean, its pca. Anyway, one day after playing pick up ball, I decided to email the coach at covenant and see if there was any possible way I could play. He soon responded and told me that I was guaranteed a spot on the jv team that they just happened to be starting that year and that I would also be given the opportunity to play for the varsity. I was pretty excited. I talked to both coaches – jv and varsity – numerous times on the phone and I was anxious to arrive on campus. That season I was able to play for the jv team and of course I was also able to severely sprain my ankle - bad enough that I had to wear a boot for over a month. Anyway, the season ended prematurely and I was stuck waiting on the next year. Throughout the rest of that school year and the following summer, I thought about playing ball and whether or not it was worth my time and energy. Covenant is pretty challenging academically and my grades were starting to suffer. I was set on never playing again… atleast for a school.

The next year, my second at covenant, welcomed a new coach. He earned my respect right away. I teased the idea of trying out for him but I stuck with my decision to not play… that is until I started playing pick up ball with the varsity guys. The more I played the more I liked it. Then one day two of the seniors on the team came and asked me to play - one of whom I deeply respect and still do to this day. I couldn’t say no. I sat down with the new coach and he agreed to let me come on at Christmas, provided that my grades were in order. Needless to say, I messed up my ankle again and by the time I was ready to play I got in for about one minute at a time. It was almost like a waste. However, having already committed to the team, I stayed with them through spring practice and on into this year.

This year welcomed another ankle injury. Luckily it was before any games and I was back in the lineup before anyone could notice. I was thinking this might actually be the year. The first game of the season I had what was and still is probably the best game of my collegiate career and I was high as a kite. I was thinking… finally! But, as you already know, there was something else in store.

so here in the present, im stuck with another season down the drain. Yeah I can still play next year but at what cost? I mean, will I go through all of the preseason junk only to get hurt in the regular season again? I hope not. Im not going to quit but its hard to think about another injury. And where is God in all of this? That’s my real question. And im not even sure if it’s a question I should be asking. I just know that as of right now, His face is hidden from me and im drowning in a sea of my own ideas about what could possibly be going on -not to mention what He could possibly be trying to teach me. And I hate that bc its not my job to decipher what He is trying to teach me. I just need to trust in Him. He will provide. He will love me and He will be my source of strength – even when im physically weak. He has already promised me that He will work for the good in my life. I need only to believe. It is really hard to focus on that right now. Its really hard to accept what is taking place right now in my life. It makes me angry and exposes my selfishness. I wonder why this has been a recurring theme throughout my athletic career. What have I been missing? Im telling you there are one million and one questions stabbing me in my side. Its very frustrating. And with no answers! Ahhh!! Haha.. I mean seriously…

anyway, all that said im a little confused right now. Im also a little angry and im definitely frustrated. I need to believe and trust that our Lord is sovereign but Im telling you its never been this hard. And just so you know… its not all bball. There are other things too. But id rather not talk about them now. Maybe later. Either way, I humbly request your prayers. Prayers for peace, for encouragement, for my unbelief. I need them.

Monday, January 21, 2008

scholarship weekend

this past weekend at covenant welcomed over a hundred high school students who were all competing for the illustrious maclellan scholarship, which is of course the best scholarship one can earn here atop lookout. i myself am a recipient of this impressive scholarship and seeing all of these high school seniors here over the weekend competing carried me back in time. the competition was and still is rather fierce but the best part of it all is seeing how obnoxiously these people dress in effort to better impress the faculty. haha... i feel it is something everyone should see before they die. anyway, i had the opportunity to sit and visit with many of the visiting students and was even able to house one student in my fortress of a dorm room. it was great to wake up to the sound of this guys alarm every morn around the brutal hour of six. (one day we were lucky enough to make it to 6:30.) he had to be up and completely ready by seven in order to fully convince himself by eight that he could make it to his meetings at nine dressed to impress. not to mention he had to give himself enough time to work on and recite to us (me and tpotts, my roomie) his many famous quotes which he felt gave him an edge over other potential scholarship recipients. i wish i would have had some quotes whenever i was being interviewed for my maclellan scholarship :)

so thursday night i receive an email from dr. mask, one of my community development professors, asking me to speak to the number of visiting students about my "covenant experience" along with a summary from my summer in houston. reluctantly, i agreed to do so, consequently forfeiting my friday night for a three hour meeting/lecture/boringly repetitive get-together that extended an hour longer than scheduled. anyway, i get to the meeting right on time - which at covenant means 15 minutes late - and of course they are already praying.

(i was late because the jv basketball team was playing motlow state who has several ncaa d1 players that have either earned poor grades or been in trouble with the law. they even have kevin durants - big time NBA player - cousin on their team who is 6'10" with a 40" vert and a plus 7' wing span. i swear he could take money off the backboard. in the words of j-strick, my main man on the jv, "he kicked me in my chest when he dunked on me." just note that it wasnt this guys knees hitting my mans chest, which is what normally happens when one gets dunked on, rather it was this guys toes. he literally, and i witnessed this firsthand, looked down into the rim before dunking the ball ferociously all over j-strick. i was in awe.)

okay so back to the meeting/lecture/boringly repetitive get-together where i was going to be one of several students speaking... i crept in quietly and tried to go unnoticed. i really had no idea at all what i was going to say and i actually felt myself growing quite nervous at the sight of the many students and their parents. all complete strangers to me, they looked completely intrigued and captivated by every word uttered from the lips of the professors leading this assembly. this was also slightly unnerving. i was completely bored with all of the "introduction lectures" that were being given bc i have already heard everything that was being said a good 1000 times too many. so im sitting there and before i know it people are clapping and my neighbor whispers to me - good neighbor - that im supposed to be heading to the front of the room to speak... im still dreaming of the dunk i had just witnessed.

well i didnt waste any time. as i walked to the front of the room i started talking. i told them about a dream i had just had the night before which dealt with a professor yelling at me concerning the sovereignty of God. (i kid you not... i had a dream where a professor was yelling at me, and i at him, about God's sovereignty. it was pretty funny.) by the time i get to the front of the room im almost finished with the dream and as im relaying the last of it, my mind continues to race through the different ideas and memories i could use to talk about my "covenant experience." i have no idea what to say. well i begin and to avoid boring you i wont share with you the whole speech (more so bc i dont remember what all i said... i just kinda let it flow), but it turns out that i did a really good job. a good enough job anyway to foster the question, "how has your perception of God changed through your internship?" wow... thank you miss mac scholar! arent you so intelligent with your difficult yet important question? ha.. i was stuck on stage smiling while in my mind im jumping off cliffs and diving into pools of lava. i stall for a second telling her how glad i am that she asked the question before i tell the story of my weekend "on the block" which was of course highlighted by one on one time with both a drug dealer and pimp. i told her how i never thought God could use someone like that to show me something about my faith. i then told her how i was wrong and that God did in fact use those guys to reveal himself. and although the answer proved sufficient, adequate, whatever, i left the stage feeling as if i didnt answer the question good enough.

i thought about that question for most of the night and the more i thought about it, the more i began to see how my perception of God has changed: this past summer i saw God. now He of course did not come down and physically touch me or anything, but He was there. He was there the whole time in ways i had never seen before. the beggar on the street corner, the pimp, the drug dealer, the family i stayed with, the crack heads and other druggies, the prostitutes, the homeless... all of these people are God in my eyes. they represent Christ. they are Jesus under the guise of human suffering. they need my love and i desire to have theirs. the truth is that the people ive described are just like me. they are made in His image and they are sinful by nature. they are also, just like me, hungry for love. and when i think about my own life - the many times an hour i sin against my creator only to have Him respond in love - i am convinced of this truth more and more. if i serve a God who can take all of my crap (not even talking about yours) and still love me, can i not do the same for a person in need? i have no other option. they demand my love and only selfishly will my love remain stagnant. the idea is a surrender... a surrender to love. and this surrender can only take place in a perfect love and the only place i know where to find a perfect love is in Christ. it is only there where i am relaxed enough to surrender. i wish i could stay forever, resting in His promises, in His abiding love. too bad i confuse myself with Him sometimes.

all that said... my perception has in fact changed. i wish i could have given this answer to the girl who asked the question. chances are i'll never see her again and she will never hear this answer... and maybe it doesnt matter too much bc experiences cant be shared. they can only be offered as encouragement to those listening. they are within us. they are the Spirit working in us. they present fruits of that work... and a lot of times they show me the rotten fruit too - its just kinda hanging around in my heart looking for nourishment. i long for the day when looking is no more.

ps - i am not and have never been a maclellan scholarship recipient. just thought it would be cool to be one for a page or two.

Friday, January 11, 2008

i have 6

so here at covenant we have a place called the great hall. i like to call it a cafeteria since it is where we eat. but its the "great hall." im not really sure where the name came from or if there is even history to it, but i have always been amused by the name. many people say it makes them feel as though they are in one of the harry potter movies due to the architecture, but i guess im used to it now. what i do know is that the food could use a little magic. anyway, this being the first week in the semester, i really expected to find some food in the hall of greatness that would actually fill my appetite. i was wrong. history would tell me that the food generally gets worse as the semester wears on - i hope we are radical this semester but im not going to the bank with anything.

anyway, i really have no point in telling you any of that apart from the hidden gratitude expressed towards my mom for her home cooking. i can make it clearer: thank you mom for your hard work in the kitchen throughout the past 21 (almost 22) years of my life; it has spoiled my taste buds leaving me despaired whenever i walk through the doors of the "great hall." okay so im not that good with compliments but i hope you see my point.
food at home = good.
food at the "great hall" = despairing.

on and on i could go but ive spent enough time on it already. only divine intervention will save the great hall and my stomach.

there are not many things at all i dislike about being away at college. food is obviously a down point but everything else really isnt that bad. i love the guys i hang out with, the girls i hang out with, i even love most of my professors... although there are a couple... but for the most part, i prefer to be here than anywhere. its beautiful, im on a mountain, on a river, in a city, away from a city, surrounded by christians, and blessed in so many other ways. but there are times when i wish i was somewhere else. and not just when there is a big test or paper due---> that would mean i never want to be here bc there is ALWAYS something due --- but rather when i start thinking about all my guys at home. like my brothers. not really my friends at home bc honestly my best friends at home are my brothers. its weird to have grown up with so many and to now have so little. obviously i still have them but they arent here in my room.

no longer do we live under the same roof. we dont all wake up before school mumbling under our breath about the upcoming sermon we will all hear during breakfast. (love you dad --> our brains ..ha i guess hearts.. just werent up to par during that hour. but see i said heart so i was listening just not participating) we dont fight over cereal boxes any more. i no longer fall asleep in the shower only to be awakened by my someone beating on the door. i dont come home after school to hear seth rocking out in the basement. i dont see griff and tanner laughing like little hyenas bc someone farted or said something associated with farting. i dont see cobi with all of his gadgets and menus and crazy ideas that are beyond me (hes like addison and is far too intelligent for me). yates is no longer resting on the couch when i come back from class. addison isnt walking in the door with me pondering the problems of the national and world economy all the while keeping his conclusions to himself. and i dont even get to see mom in the kitchen drinking several bottles of wine, fumbling around trying to find us all a snack. haha okay so an extreme exaggeration there but i cant help it bc i love my mom!

shes an angel and im convinced of it more and more everyday bc more and more everyday i realize what she puts up with.

sadly, im not even able to be at home reading, doing homework, and all other things intellectual when my dad walks through the door from work. ha so i didnt do much of that during high school but ya know, it sounded kinda cool. anyway, things like this i never really give much thought until i spend an extended amount of time at home only to once again leave. i see what ive missed and i miss what ive seen. i mean sheesh. yates is my height now and cobi is well on his way. addison has of course passed me years ago. in the words of papa.."dane, you might be the runt of them all!!!" and yes he shouted that.
and speaking of the whole height thing, im always asking God why in the heck im dang short. am i not the basketball player? dont i need the height? like i can save the world and only be 5'5" but i cant say the same for ball. you kinda need some height to be competitive today. and as i think about it, maybe you would need a little height to save the world. i think it might be hard to gain everyones respect as a short person. so i guess its alright that all my brothers will probably be taller than me- i think they'd do a better job leading than me. besides tanner... he is just short. haha! jk... i like you tanner. you might just be the funniest of us all - the rest of us are depressingly incapable of taking jokes...
even tanner and griff are growing and changing in so many ways. they are like different people almost every time i come home. and by different i mean better. they are so stinkin funny - especially together - and i love seeing how they interact with everyone.
tanner is so chill and just loves to sit back and listen to us older guys talk with and make fun of one another. he just laughs and laughs. not that he wont participate... i dare you to mess with him bc you will probably receive one of the funniest comments of your life!
griff on the other hand is involved from the first syllable of the first word anybody mentions. he loves to listen bc he has figured out its a great way to learn - which right now is about his favorite thing to do >>> learn new things and tell you all about them.
yates, along side getting taller, is also maturing. from my last post i hope you gathered that and i just want to reiterate here that his maturity level is growing. fast. he is also getting a little witty, which is something i never thought would happen. but since he is, it is much easier to have him around the "kings of wit" - addison and myself. (dad tries to participate but he gets burned!) seth is even maturing. he is much more involved in his communication these days and he no longer gives one word answers. and i know thats hard for him bc i know he knows what he wants to say, he just cant quite get it to us as clearly as he would prefer. its got to be frustrating for him but somehow i trust and believe the Spirit has worked in seths life over time and given him the courage and motivation to be where he is today. its really amazing to see. he has always been the greatest blessing to our family in my eyes and as he gets older the blessing only grows stronger.
cobi is just smart. he works all the time on his own personal projects - some of which we find quite trivial - all the while ignoring our insensitive comments and gestures. and ya know? i really like that - i love the passion he exudes for things of his own personal interest even when his older brothers give him a hard time. there is no telling what he will do... hes a thinker with an imagination of which im sinfully jealous.
addison is just addison. hes always been addison to me. nothing more nothing less. he has been with me for as long as i can remember and there is not another man on the planet i would have rather had at my side. there is no category for him. he succeeds wherever he is at in whatever he does. doesnt really matter whats going on. and the coolest part to me of it all is that he does it all with his own style. i mean, its not like there havent been other guys similar to him, its just that there is no one out there just like him. hes borderline nonchalant, but all the while responsible. all the time casual, all the time about his business. never says too much, never says too little. he just has things figured out. i really like him. im jealous of him too. and talk about funny... im always on edge waiting to hear what might come out of his mouth next.

okay so im bouncing around like some ADD maniac that i might be, but all i really want you to know is that i miss my family. i miss my brothers. yeah i have friends here but they just dont compare. its just not the same. i think sometimes i get emotional. not much, but maybe sometimes. like with my family i think its okay but the rest of the time im a rough and tough guy who is strong and not weak or vulnerable and dont you forget it! but seriously, i have times here when i get a little down about missing out on seeing all of my bros grow up. in these times i might share some stories with friends about my childhood, grab a coffee with that lucky girl (definitely a joke), or just relax in my bed looking out the opened windows of my room across the beautiful mountains as the sun sets in the distance painting the sky in the most extreme fashion. (definitely not a joke --- we cut off the branches of the tree that was previously blocking our view. true story. one im rather proud of too.)
but lately ive been blessed through the reminder that we have a God who is always with us and who always provides for us. even when we move or go somewhere else. so now its more exciting than saddening to think about my family and my brothers. its not easy but im everyday learning more and more to lean on Him – to rest on Him alone – to spread His love through my words and actions – and to even share with those around me the glory God is given through our engagement with His creation alongside the family through which He so richly and gracefully blesses us. its been really cool to think about and to even begin to believe. its hard to believe. really hard. thank goodness His Spirit lives with us. (and knocks the door down after we've fallen asleep in the shower)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

i used to dream of playing on the pba tour.

christmas break was too short. or maybe it was too long. or maybe just too good. in any case im thinking it should still be here. it was good to be home and see the family... all my brothers are growing up so fast. its kinda weird to miss out on their growth on a day to day basis but its also very rewarding to catch them unprepared in their various stages of growth and maturity. its safe to say that yates probably gave me the most to be thankful for this past holiday season. i'll let you in on that in a minute...
being back on top of lookout ive felt my mind and heart shift slightly from where it was over the holidays. already ive felt myself giving into the warm sense of security i have here. already im becoming complacent in my current state - a state where complacency should be the last of options - but nonetheless i feel my Saviors love all the same... its not exactly what i want. sometimes i actually want to feel God's wrath. like i want Him to beat me down and show me my need for Him at all times. that is until i actually start thinking about what His wrath could actually look like... ha. i guess im more than satisfied in His grace for i would have been dead long ago. still i have these feelings and ideas and questions that bounce around in my mind leaving my heart floating around aimlessly searching for something to cling to. when will i be able to finally rest in His arms? in the truth that is Him? i have no idea.

so back to yates... this break i was able to spend some time with yates that i generally dont. it was good for a number of reasons and i'll try to highlight the theme of them all: yates and i always have this battle going on over anything and everything bc of our competitive nature. it was interesting to see this competitiveness take on a slightly different mold over the holidays --> recently ive picked up bowling. i like to think im pretty good and honestly when im here at school i do okay. my scores are typically above the average mark in the group and of course that runs straight to my head. anyway, having just traded a t-shirt for a pair of bowling shoes, i was anxious to get to the bowling alley at home and try my luck. not wanting to go alone i grabbed yates and off we went. now yates is a good athlete and he generally does pretty good with most sports, but since he wasnt in the bowling shape that i am currently in, i was set on humbling him at the lanes. haha what a good big brother! - deceitfully inviting the younger to come bowling in order to satisfy my grossly narcissistic mentality... sad. so yeah, we get there and things are good. the rates were cheap and we were set to bowl for a couple hours. i was happy. the game starts and of course the lanes arent properly oiled (deduced by my very own expert opinion) and of course the ball im using isnt up to par (deduced in the same manner). needless to say i was losing. i found myself becoming very insecure. with every bowl my mind drifted to the scorecard fearing that yates would actually beat me. so a few frames late that fear became reality. yates, after having been brought to the lanes to boost my confidence and pride, reminded me that i was still placing myself above all else. not to mention he confirmed my fears of being nothing more than an average bowler. i was now mad. i wasnt happy with my score and i wasnt happy with yates for beating me. however, something (which i now recognize as the Spirit in me) allowed me to continue without saying anything out of line, without being critical of yates, and this something even directed my focus back to where it should be - on Christ and even more specifically, loving yates. we bowled for about two more hours. yates helped me see God's love as we continued our strive for perfection on the lanes... he didnt win again but that did not stop him from being supportive of me. somehow, despite my poor example and leadership, yates still enjoyed himself. im guessing he was leaning on the Lord and not on me. i just want you to know that as the afternoon wore on, i had never enjoyed competition so much with yates. we were both encouraging one another and we were both enjoying being together. it was like love. maybe it was love but that just seems weird. i mean cmon, we're still brothers. bottom line is that my brother, who i tend to think of as being below me, showed me Christ. he submitted himself, whether he knew it or not, to the sovereignty of our Father and by that he allowed the Spirit living inside of him to shine a light on my dark, selfish heart. it was truly a beautiful thing to experience. not to mention humbling.
ps - seth accompanied us to the bowling alley later in the week and i must confess that he beat me too. those of you who know seth can now feel me shrinking...