Spilt Skittles

Spilt Skittles

As I was driving I heard what sounded like rocks spilling all over my back floorboard, with every turn of the wheel.

When I got out and looked, I saw red & yellow skittles, yes just red & yellow. [These are not only red & yellow because I’m a deva and only eat that color} (trust me – I eat EVERY color of the skittles rainbow.)

These red & yellow sticky round demons are all over my floorboard are there because my son had a bag of skittles and picked out the red skittles for him, and the yellow ones for me. He placed them in a ziplock for us to eat in the car, and he left them in the car and so they spilt everywhere.

So when I saw these skittles in the floorboard – I was thankful. I can’t say this is my typical response to messes left behind by kids. In this moment though I was surprisingly thankful, because Ayler had worked hard to make he and I a special fun red & yellow segregated snack.

Many times in moments like this I’ve been frustrated instead of embracing the moment and seeing it as a great thing.

I need to make sure I don’t miss moments with anyone – especially my family. I don’t want to become so ignorant and upset over small things that don’t even matter.

There will be soon be a day that I will long for one of my kids to leave spilt skittles all over my car. So I’m working hard to embrace these days the best I can – because time is running out.

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Israel Day 4

Israel Day 4

Dead Sea Experience

Today we had plans to travel to Masada but we couldn’t due to the flooding & loss of life that had happened there last night with a tour bus.

So, we traveled through the wilderness which is where Jesus spent his 40 days after His baptism (Matthew 4.1-2)

We traveled down to the Qumran and the Dead Sea – the lowest place on earth & floated on that very Sea. This Sea has 10x more salt content than any other body of water in the world.

The best thing about this Dead Sea area is NOT that you can float on water or its crazy high salt content. The best thing about this area is that this is the area where the Dead Sea Scrolls where found.

The most amazing thing is that this is the lowest place on earth with a very high salt content / and this is the place that we find the oldest copy of the Old Testament. Salt preserves and this is the place that preserves these scrolls! We have copies of Isaiah that are 1000 years apart. and they match! “That preservation of the Word was for an invitation to transformation.”

I am not in Israel for myself, I am here for all of those who need Him. I’m here to see, touch and experience the preserved country and learn more about Jesus in a way to be able to invite others into a transforming relationship with Him.

Ps: We also rode a camel aka “Israeli Uber”

Israel Day 3

Israel Day 3

From Galilee to Jerusalem

This was moving day for our group – Galilee to Jerusalem – same journey many took in the Bible. Around 80 miles –

Today we woke up at 6:15am set our bags outside our room (we changed hotels today) then had an Israeli breakfast (HUGE) in hotel w/ amazing espresso (This Happened daily)

Got on our bus (22) and went to the Valley of Elah. This is where Louie spoke to us about David defeating Goliath in that very spot.

We then went to Bethlehem & toured the place where Jesus was “likely” born – toured the “cave” and saw a real manger. Not cute like the nativity scenes like we (Americans) are used to.

Then went and saw the original scroll of Isaiah in a museum, wich was very powerful.

From there traveled to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and worshipped with some college students with Louie and the passion band.

Went to dinner and then to our New Hotel (King David Hotel) for this leg of the trip.

It’s been an amazing day – I can’t believe that we are here, seriously has been amazing. Yes, we are here with some phenomenal leaders, and a crazy talented worship team. The truth is though, the best part is being here and seeing where Jesus was and will return to. Having the Word of God be truly brought to life right in front of our eyes. Learning new truths about Him and changing who I am as a follower of Christ.

Goodnight – tomorrow we float on the Dead Sea and eating dinner in some Jewish homes throughout Jerusalem.

Thief of Comparison

Thief of Comparison

Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

The fear of looking just like everyone else and doing what so many others are doing has always bothered me.  I know that God has made each of us unique and has made us perfectly to be us. As I look at so many great leaders I see a similar attribute, I see that these leaders are living out their life as God has made them and called them.

traffic cars street traffic jam

They are living the best life that they can with what God has given them and not worried about anyone else.  They have stayed in their lane and have stayed focused no matter what it takes. Comparison is an element that can pull us out of our lane.

Comparison is a thief of joy and will suffocate you if you hang in it to much.  The comparison game is a tough game to play, and can happen to us on a daily basis.  It is to easy to look around the world and to see so many others living their life via social media.  Comparison becomes so real and you can feel like you are not a good enough mom, not a funny enough person, not in good enough shape, not a good dad, not a good preacher, don’t post quality content on social, and so on. That thief just keeps telling you, you are not good enough.

Ephesians 2.10 – We are Gods masterpiece created in Christ Jesus to do good works which He prepared for us to do in advance. 

You are a masterpiece, you are not just ‘a’ masterpiece – you are ‘Gods’ masterpiece.  The best thing that He has ever made! When we can actually live that out and know that, we will stop trying to “Run others Race.” We need to run our own race and stay in our own path.

When leading out in times like we are in now, you will face criticism.  Some of those that criticize you may say they are just kidding.  They may be kidding, but no matter what their motives are we can not allow the voices of others to stop us from following the voice of God.  The only voice that matters is the voice of God, do not allow the other voices (social media, comments, texts, calls, etc) to slow you down from where God has you going, you run your race.

The idea of leading out has always pushed me to be who I am.  I have constantly struggled with the thought of “Just do what they do and do it better.”  I know that sounds good and looks right, but again with that you can have comparison creep in.  I would like to just do what you do and do it the best!

man person legs grass

God made you for a reason. God designed you. It was His idea, and God doesn’t make mistakes. You were planned before you were born.  God purposefully and personally designed you. You are unique and God wanted you to be uniquely you, and that is the you God wants to offer to the world.

Overcomer – Elizabeth Gaddis

Want to introduce an overcomer –Elizabeth Gaddis

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This past year was very tough for Elizabeth and her family.  She grew up at Second Baptist Church, and as a student in Highschool she started leading worship in the student ministry. She has really grown in her leading and as a true worshipper of Christ with her life.  As a worship leader she is one of the most authentic and amazing worshippers I’ve ever been around. I want to share her story of this past year, this truly is an amazing woman of God.

Harvey

In August as she was away at school in Nashville she had to sit and watch Hurricane harvey wreak havoc on Houston, and her home.  These posts from her Instagram are heartbreaking.

 

Anxiety

After Harvey she had a serious bout with Anxiety and fought this for some time. She prayed and has worked hard to overcome this with prayer and scripture.

Vocal Rest

She then was diagnosed with cysts on her vocal chords, which has placed her on vocal rest for this past year. Will have to have surgery soon to get these cysts removed, with a long recovery.

Overcome

Through everything she’s been through this year – she continues to worship with her life.  She knew that she would not be on stage leading music this year at camp, so she decided to come and lead a condo of girls.  Wanting to se

rve in any capacity she can!  Her heart is amazing for Christ, she doesn’t care about the lights or the stage. She cares about bringing glory to His name no matter where or what is happening in her life.  This is a picture of her worshipping from the crowd surrounded by the teenagers that she chose to pour into all week.

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Here is a song she wrote during Harvey –

 

I always thought I’d show my kids this room

I always thought that Gran’s piano would be tuned someday

And I’d sit on that bench and sing of things that always stay

 

Like baby pictures

And grandfather clocks

Favorite dishes

And old dusty college year books

 

These memories now rotten

Overnight they leave but aren’t forgotten

Oh how we will grieve these losses

Our baby pictures

 

I always thought I’d get to say goodbye

I always had this picture in my mind

Of how I’d walk down that hall without a single thing left behind

 

Like baby pictures

And grandfather clocks

Our favorite dishes

And old dusty college year books

 

These memories now rotten

Overnight they leave but aren’t forgotten

Oh how we will grieve these losses

Our baby pictures

 

Breathe

Just breathe

Breathe

Just breathe

It’s all being made alive

 

 

 

 

Engagement Pictures

Engagement Pictures

Engagement PictureAs I scroll through my social media feed I am very encouraged  to see powerful photos of life happening!  Some of the best are the pictures of a family photo session, as they are all laughing and looking right into the eyes of their loved ones.  Love seeing a father  holding their kid high in the air as their precious kid is smiling looking into their fathers eyes.  A newly engaged couple doing an engagement photo shoot is almost always a joyful session.  As the newly engaged couples looking intently into each others

View More: http://kristenbrookephotography.pass.us/padgett-fameyes, showing the excitement about their life together.  These pictures are so captivating because it is rare to see this in our everyday life outside of social media.

The engagement pictures that are starting to really stick out to me are the ones where we are totally disengaged from life.  The ones where we walk into a restaurant and their is a family and each kid has an iPad with headphones on while the parents are on the phones at same time, and no one is talking or smiling.  When kids are trying to get the parents attention and we are on our phones and we “can’t hear them.”  When people walk all around with their heads down not engaging with anyone. them Disengaged

I am not saying I have this figured out, but it is something that I do work on and try to engage with people as much as I can.  I find this to be very fun and exciting to see the reaction of people when you start to actually talk to them.  I believe that for us to be as effective as we can for Christ, this is a way to open the door to someones heart.  Since we are called to we make a difference in this life then we need to engage others face to face.

Breakfast

People are not prepared for you to talk to them, they don’t know what to do when you are in an elevator with them and they are starring down at their phone, and you ask them how they are doing?

When your waiting in line at the coffee shop or grocery store and you have a conversation with the people in line.  You never know what will happen when we start to engage with the people God puts in our path, or even our own family.  When you look at the engagement pictures of people without devices vs the ones with devices look how much happier they look.  It truly is heartbreaking at times to see so many people missing what is around them for the device in front of them.

There is no doubt that we need human interaction.  Not only could this change someones day for the better, it could change their life for eternity.   I challenge you to leave your phone in your pocket or at your house and go out into the world and have some real engagement.

Scariest day yet as a father –

Scariest day yet as a father –

Jan 7th 2018 –

Our 16mth old daughter Copelyn had to go to an ER Clinic that morning due to high fever of 104. They released her and said she had an ear infection and told us we can pick up her RX and let her rest.

Erika takes her home while I am at church with our two other kids. She lays her down and then starts to hear some noises coming from Copelyn’s room. She goes in and Cope is not responding at all and is very limp. She then calls our friend Sherry (ER Nurse) and Sherry tells her to call 911 immediately!

At the same time this is happening we are on our way home from church & stop to pick up the RX. We get home and Erika runs out holding Copelyn and crying hysterically and tells me she’s not responding and she’s called 911.

I quickly get out of car and take Cope from Erika and have her run across the street to our neighbor who is a police officer – with no luck.

Copelyn is still not responding – as I’m holding her and praying over her our friend (Sherry, who Erika had called earlier) all of a sudden drives up and takes Cope from my arms and starts to work on her (I had no idea how she even knew where we lived or how she knew) I was in shock, but so thankful.

She then tells us to leave and she will watch our other kids as we drive to Texas Children’s Hospital before the ambulance arrives.

Copelyn is still very non responsive the whole drive with her eyes rolled back into her head. It’s a horrible feeling seeing her this way with your wife holding her crying.

We get to the hospital and they immediately start working on her and they tell us these are “febrile seizures.” She then has another seizure at the hospital – which was again horrible, but we were glad to be at the hospital when it happened. This seizure caused the ER team to run many tests.

All the blood work came back clear and after hours of being at the hospital they discharged us and asked us to watch her very closely. They asked us to work hard to keep the fever as low as possible to avoid anymore seizures.

As we have been home she is acting more normal, although her fever has gotten to as high as 105 again. We are praying over her and seeing progress in her.

These few days have been hard on us as we’ve seen our daughter in a way that we never want to see again. It’s truly horrible – although we are so thankful for all the prayers / hospital visits / friends, family and neighbors watching our other kids while we were with Copelyn.

I want to shed light on these febrile seizures.

These are absolutely horrible, but a little more common than we first expected.

This is the best link I can find on them. Please take time to learn about these Fever/Febrile Seizures.

7 Amazing Years!!!!

7 Amazing Years!!!!

I love my sweet wife so much!! She is an amazing wife, incredible mom and super hard worker. We have had an outstanding 7 Years together and I thank God for all of it.

We have had some fun times the last 7 years. So for the next few days I will share some of those fun memories right here.

Here is one of our favorites from a vacation we took 2 years ago.

Simple Invitation

Simple Invitation

I am very excited to share what God has been doing in our student ministry at Second Baptist Houston West Campus this year.

We have really focused this year on creating an environment that teenagers get excited to invite their friends to.  Both on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights at LIVE.

LIVE is our “Open Door” to our student ministry that happens on Wednesday nights.  We have created a space that students can invite their friends to, and can experience God in an amazing way.  We do this through worship; with Biblical teaching and a variety of music led with a full band.

The goal of the entire night is that God is glorified through all that we do, from the lighting cues during the walk in, to the final song they hear as they walk out.  We have worked hard to be excellent in every detail of the night.  We believe that the more prayed for and prepared we are for each night the more opportunities we have to see God move.

Each and every space that we have people come into we do an invitation for people to accept Christ for the first time.  Then we meet with each student as well as follow up with them and encourage them to take their first step in obedience to the Lord through baptism.

So far this year from October 1st we have seen 222 teenagers baptized on Wednesday nights & Sunday morning.  We also have an amazing summer camp called Beach Retreat that we saw 244 students baptized.

Baptism

This year total evangelism Student ministry at Second Baptist Houston – West Campus since October 1st.

Junior High – 123 BR  – 137 outside Beach Retreat Camp
High School – 121 BR  – 85 outside Beach Retreat Camp

222 – Total Outside of Beach Retreat                                                                                                  244 – At Beach Retreat Summer Camp                                                                                           466 – Total Baptisms 

This is has been an amazing year so far, and it is all through the students inviting their friends to church and God changing their life.  Then those who accepted Christ and started to invite their friends and the ripple effect continuing on.

This video shows it perfectly, these are students from our ministry who have personally seen God work in their lives, through a simple invitation.