Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shameless Plug

This is a shameless plug for my friend Rob. He is an incredible photographer and is selling his photos to raise money to go to Africa. These pictures are absolutely amazing (and so is my friend!). Look at them here. If you decide you're interested in ordering some prints, e-mail me and I will give you Rob's contact information and prices.

Friday, December 08, 2006


"Advent is the beginning of the end of all in us that is not yet Christ." -- Thomas Merton

Once again, Thomas Merton has arrested me with his words. These sixteen words have been haunting me for a few days now. I am not struggling with their meaning. It is pretty straight-forward, don't you think? This season we love so much because it "prepares us for the birth of our Savior" and the joy of things to come (i.e. - that Christ will come again) is even more than that. Advent is not just about waiting expectantly for our Savior, it is about dying to ourselves and becoming more like Christ. If it sounds more like Lent to you, I would say you are not alone. But I find myself convinced of and convicted by Merton's words about this season.

If Advent really is about preparing ourselves to celebrate Christ's birth and anticipate his return, what Merton said must be part of that. This season must be the start of something deeper in us personally. As we celebrate His birth, we must celebrate our death. Only in death to ourselves can we experience the light and life that Christ brings. Only when we come to the end of ourselves can we begin again with Christ.

I love Advent more every year as my understanding of it grows. This quote from Merton is challenging, but I like it. I think there's real truth in his words. Any thoughts?

Renewal and Refreshment

I just returned from a college ministry conference at The Woodlands UMC in Texas late last night. This morning I find myself both very tired and completely refreshed. The conference was aptly titled "Refresh 2006." This is exactly what happened for me in just a few short days. I feel spiritually, personally, and professionally refreshed and renewed.

The conference afforded me the opportunity to reconnect with some friends from seminary and establish some new connections. I was also able to spend a significant amount of time with a professor and friend of mine who consistently speaks God's truth (which is both encouraging and challenging!) into my life. She breathed new life in me in the time we spent together. For this I am most grateful...

I also found the speakers and seminars at this conference to be very helpful. Most of the people who spoke or taught were others who are in the trenches of college ministry as well. I found their knowledge compelling and challenging and their authenticity refreshing. It was wonderful to be around such knowledge and humility.

I had a wonderful time in Houston this past weekend...wonderful. I reconnected with Jesus, dear friends, and new friends. And I reconnected with myself. More on this later...