the too little, too late update

two weeks since my last post, yowza. i don’t care what one republic says… i apologize anyway.

it’s been crazy busy leading up to camp (we leave friday) so posting will be tough for the next week and half or so. to whet your appetite, here are some bullets of goings on you might be interested in.

-my brother’s book:


is in stores now! my brother will be in store (lifeway in the woodlands) on saturday, july 11 from 11am to 2pm. come buy the book (at the woodlands lifeway, cuz my dad works there) & get it signed!

-went to a birthday party for tight frances. she turned 75. i gave her a Jesus nightlight. i think she liked it.

-went to the children’s museum with the ‘rents, nieces, and 85% of the children in the greater houston area on friday. (i had a corn dog and an egg roll for lunch… oh and some fries)

those are just some of the highlights of my whirlwind, jet-set lifestyle. try not to be too jealous!

-oh and i’m buying a house. i think. not real sure how that whole process works, but i think i’m committed at this point! will let you know more later as things firm up.

oh me of little faith

so, i went to help out at God’s Food Pantry on saturday with a few students and one of our interns. 20-30 families come by every saturday and receive food/toiletries free of charge that have been supplied by local churches. while the orders are being filled, someone sits down with the family to discuss life, the Gospel, etc.

usually, when i go, i mix in behind the scenes and fill orders and carry groceries out to cars. i’ve also been on saturdays, it seems, when there wasn’t someone assigned to counsel… so most, if not all, families were just in and out with their goods. i ALWAYS wonder how much, if any, spanish i’ll need to remember/use when i’m there as many of the families don’t speak english. yesterday, i made up for all the other saturdays when i worked silently behind the curtain, filling orders.

apparently there is now a steady rotation of people that come in strictly to counsel and they were quick to ask who could help interpret for them as they sat with the hispanic families. i reluctantly offered my “services” because, by default, i was the most educated in spanish. the first few translations were a little rocky, but i think the gist was communicated. i found myself blanking on really simple words, not knowing the spanish words for some of the counselor’s words, and totally not understanding some of the spanish that was being hurled at me at 100mph (it seemed). i felt worse, because the english speaking counselor was trying to keep it really simple and not really getting into the gospel, because a) using an interpreter was new to him and b) I was the interpreter!

every now and again, the counselors would sit with english speakers and spend much more time with them, getting into their issues and sharing God’s truth and love with them as i went back to filling orders and making ridiculous messes (put too many items in a bag, it broke, so did the two jars of spaghetti sauce that were in it). just as the jars hit the ground, i was called back out to translate (huge thanks to those who cleaned it up). i had started to gain some confidence in my spanish, which i’ve used in puerto rico and mexico on mission trips over the years. i don’t know why i always have to relearn this lesson, but when put in the position as the “go-to bilingual”, i find myself remembering how to say things and getting over my fear of sounding really stupid. many of the hispanic families complimented me on my spanish, because i started every conversation with how bad it was! i wasn’t fishing for compliments, honest. i’ve just found that if you can say something well in spanish, people often assume you can UNDERSTAND everything in spanish. not true!

as i noticed food orders being filled quicker than the english counseling could keep up with, i started speaking to families in the waiting area to relieve the back up. as i was sharing with one lady, a gentleman came over and asked if i wanted his help translating into spanish (um, yes). i could tell what the lady was telling me, but i couldn’t ask the right questions to get her to see what i was getting at. definitely welcomed the help.

two more stories, then i’m done!

1) i was already realizing how little faith i had by not trusting God to give me the words in spanish that He wanted people to hear, but my lack of faith really hit me when i approached an english speaking family and began to share. i had been asking pretty basic introductory questions in spanish with great ease, but i couldn’t have a normal conversation with someone in english! it was ridiculous and embarrassing. eventually, i got over it.

2) when it came time for my interpreter in shining armor to get take his groceries, he asked me if i wanted to practice my spanish on him! pretty tight! so i did. i talked to him and helped his family to their car and when i was done, he made my day. he told me my spanish was more than ok (don’t remember his exact words) and, this is the best part, that i shouldn’t use an interpreter any more. not because my spanish is so good (it isn’t), but because when he translated for me, he could translate my words, but not my heart and when i spoke to him in spanish, he could hear my heart. SO encouraging! and SO convicting that i didn’t trust God to work through me as He has been faithful to so many times before.

don’t sit on your gifts and talents (even ones that you think aren’t usable/profitable). God will use them how and when He wants to. just trust Him and get out of the way!

is it just me…

is it just me …

-or do the astros hate me? they were on a 4 game winning streak going into last night. we took a bunch of students from the church to the game last night. they got destroyed. tonight, they dominated the dojo (thanks in part to a grand slam). ridiculous.

-or is con air on tbs 4 times a day? and when it’s not on tbs, it’s on tnt. maybe ted is fond of horrid southern accents (which is a puzzler, cuz cage nails it in raising arizona. he shoulda stuck with “country” and not gone for “deep south”.) and crappy dialogue:

“do you know what i am?”

“ugly all day.”

-or are “sytycd” judges, lil c and mia michaels, drinking some serious haterade when it comes to brandon? actually, i know it’s not just me on this one.

-or does anyone else hate that saturday morning cartoons ain’t what they used to be? and if you weren’t alive in the 80s, you don’t know what i (or willis) am talkin’ ’bout.

-or does anyone else think auto-tune shouldn’t excite recording artists but scare them with the thought that literally anyone can sound just like them?

zero tolerance

ok, so tiffany’s latest postings have inspired me to try and update more than once a week. man, time flies.

i have a confession to make. it probably won’t surprise many of you, but i have a very low tolerance for ambient noise in group settings intended for silence. sounds like a given, but i THINK i’m a lil different on this one.

really, the only two places i find this nerve being grated on are church and movie theaters. and if you know me, those are pretty prominent places in my life. oh, and class (sometimes i forget that i’m a student again). it’s not just loud outbursts or crying babies, either. all it takes is someone whispering too much on my row, tapping their foot, clicking their pen, etc. it drives me nuts. i remember one time the a/c vent was rattling ever so faintly … couldn’t block it out. another time my good friend’s nose was whistling when he breathed … couldn’t focus, he moved to the end of the row. i hate it. i wish i could block it out. i don’t know how pastors (including my own) don’t skip a beat when a baby starts crying mid-sermon. i don’t handle it well. when students tap their pens or talk/giggle during my sermons, i often ignore it as long as i can and eventually stop and tell/ask them to cut it out. in my mind, they’re being more distracting then me stopping the sermon would be. i’m sure i’m wrong, but that’s how i roll.

part of the annoyance is often a perceived disrespect for the speaker and people around the noise, but a lot of the time it’s just my obsessive mind!

don’t get me wrong. i know i’m not the only one distracted by these things, but i know EVERYONE doesn’t notice/worry about them like i do. numerous times i’ve pointed things out that people weren’t bothered by UNTIL i made them aware (my bad). i wonder if much of this aural sensitivity comes from living alone for so long. there are no other noises in my habitat other than me! no chatter, no pencil tappers, no giggling, no heavy breathers, and definitely no crying babies. my neighbors’ yapping dogs and the all day pool partyers are bad enough.

i see parents who have adapted to the circus of racket that often surrounds them, able to block out all kinds of things and i envy them. oh, how i envy them.

what i’m getting at, basically, is that i’ve discovered i’m an 80 year old man.

so, keep it down!

anyone else care to share their tolerance level of surrounding noise?