Archive for June, 2009

two of my favorites

I have two announcements.  About two of my favorites.  First of all, my dear dear friend, Aaron Ivey, has new tunes out!  I have been eagerly awaiting this for.ev.er!  So, I want you to have the information, and the how to…..

nice.  very very nice.  I have dearly loved Aaron and his family, his band, his ministry for YEARS – and am so thankful for him.  He truly is set apart for Christ – and leads in such a way that just encourages that same sanctification.  Please go check it out!  You will love it, love him…..

Secondly, another long-time dear friend, Travis Cottrell, will be coming to MY CHURCH on tour in July!!!!  Whooooo hoooooo!!!!!  I can really hardly contain myself!  So, if you are in the Houston area, go to our church’s website, and buy your tickets – it’s so easy!  Jvbc.org.  Oh, the date is July 25th! You will not want to miss it, I promise you!  His new cd is out as well – go to traviscottrell.com to check it out.

That’s your update on music this weekend.  I really can’t emphasize enough how great these two worship leaders are – and how very dear they are to me.  Please go see their music, buy it, live it.  Hope you can stand the joy!  I pray that you are spending plenty of time this weekend praising our Jesus!


Read Full Post »


Chase Abrams started taking college classes at the same time he was in high school.

The next thing he knew, he was attending two graduations.

Abrams was involved in the Accelerated College Enrollment and Pre-Accelerated College Enrollment program (ACE-PACE) at Cal Sate Los Angeles.

“It’s for people who just want to get their feet wet and take a couple college classes, and I ended up doing the extreme,” Abrams said.

He graduated May 29 from Sierra Canyon High School. He graduated Saturday from Cal State LA with a bachelor’s degree.

Abrams was a Radio, TV and Film major, but he also excelled at time management. His typical day began at 5 a.m. with a workout at the gym.

6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.: Take sister to Calabasas.
7:30 a.m. – 8 a.m.: Drive to Chatsworth
8 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Attend high school classes
3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Football practice

“Then, I’d go all the way from 4:45 without a shower to Cal State LA,” Abrams said.

He finished his college classes at 10 p.m. Abrams used one weekend day to study. He spent the other weekend day with friends.

“I still had the full high school experience all around,” he said. “I went to prom, had a girlfriend for 2 1/2 years.”

If the radio-TV-film thing doesn’t work out, Abrams said he plans to return to school for pre-med studies.

Read Full Post »

Hi, friends.  I pray you are well today.  I have a few posts running through my head, but the second I read this email my husband forwarded to me from his brother, I felt it would bless you as well.  May we all live such a life of faithfulness and service to others.  Be blessed this Monday after Father’s Day.  Thank you, Scott, for being able to voice what many of us have thought……

Father’s Day, 2009

God gave me a gift this morning when I woke up.  Well, the second time I woke up, he gave me a second gift.  The first came when I first woke up to see my grandson Grayson standing next to my bed with his face about six inches away from mine.  I don’t know how long he had been standing there, but after we both got over our initial shock of recognition, I grabbed him and pulled him into bed with me.  Amazingly, we both fell back asleep (perhaps another gift) since we were still recovering from our first annual family camping trip in the hill country.  Some time later, he did stir and need to jump up and do something else like any normal four, almost five year old needs to do.  I returned to my rest, and when I did finally make a move in the direction of really waking up, I reached out for my alarm clock to see what time it was. 

6:42 – If you knew my Dad, what I am about to relate is old news, but for the uninitiated, you need some background.  The older I get, the harder it is for me to succinctly define my Dad.  He married his Jr. High sweetheart and when he died, they were just two months away from their 50th wedding anniversary.  He was an athlete who played basketball for the University of Kansas and semi pro for the Air Force where he served as a training sergeant.  His role as a drill instructor either shaped who he was to become, or was just the perfect fit for who he really was.   Outgoing and confident, he chose sales as a career, starting with vacuum cleaners and eventually becoming a life insurance agent.  He did a number of years in management in the insurance business, but ultimately returned to sales, probably for the ability to enhance his income through increased effort.  In spite of his knowledge and abilities, I don’t believe that my Dad ever worked to get rich.  Instead, I think he worked primarily because of what it enabled him to do outside of work.  Looking back what he did outside of work is really woven into what he did at work, but it became what truly defined him as a person.  My dad was a Scoutmaster.  It doesn’t really matter if you have any firsthand experience with Scouting, because although you can probably find a description of what a Scoutmaster is and does, that definition would just barely scratch the surface of what my Dad was.  Perhaps I should rephrase and say, my dad was the Scoutmaster.

As a small boy, my mind and interests were in other places, so my memories aren’t that clear as to when Dad started his real career as Scoutmaster.  I remember going camping on occasion long before I was old enough to actually be a Boy Scout.  I remember something magical or mysterious about the box that held my Dad’s patches and merit badge sash that he had earned as a boy.  He was an Eagle Scout from Troop 1 in Hutchinson, Kansas.  His Scoutmaster was like a second father to him.  Troop 11 at the First Presbyterian Church in Houston was I believe where he first became “Scoutmaster.”  When I was in the 4th grade, we moved to a different part of town, and shortly after he became the Scoutmaster for Troop 642 at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church.  For over thirty years he served in that role.  The numbers six, four and two are indelibly imprinted into my brain. 

Scouting was something my Dad and I shared more than anything else.  Whenever I had the chance, I would return and go camping, or to a summer camp or camporee.  In this he was timeless, because the kids kept coming in as awkward little 11 year old boys and growing up and moving on as confident and most often Eagle Scout young men, but he just remained the same.  When my son became old enough, we started Scouting, and as fate would have it, I had the opportunity to become a Scoutmaster as well.  I was amazed by all of the memories of my days as a Scout that came flooding back to me once I started back in the program.  My dad was still actively serving as Scoutmaster as well, and it was great to share this new dimension as well.  On several occasions we were able to camp together and my son was able to go with his Grandfather on some special trips that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do. 

Since he died, I am often reminded of him when I look at the clock and the time reads 6:42.  When I can, I try to take some time to reflect or just remember a special moment with him.  642 ties me back to my Dad, but there is a lot more there than just the Scouting.  In a classic way, my Dad really was my hero.  He scared me to death, but I could not have loved him more.  My memories of working with him on a home repair project, or going to the hardware store on a Saturday morning, shopping at the last minute for my Mom’s Christmas present, or in later years when my two brothers, Dad and I would go to Las Vegas and act silly for a couple of days once a year are many faceted. 

So, this father’s day morning when I looked at the clock and it reminded me of my Dad, it was a gift to just lay there and for a few minutes try to recall his face, and voice, his presence.  He was as flawed as he was amazing, and it was a special gift this morning to just remember.  Thanks Dad.

Scott Mattingly

Read Full Post »

Last night, Sara was telling her boyfriend Patrick goodnight, and I had gone back to my room.  My man was already headed to sleep as he had an early morning.  All of a sudden, Sara is running to me, telling me to hurry up!  Of course, I did.  

Running outside, I find what got her so excited – a baby owl.  sitting right on the trunk of Patrick’s car, which was parked in front of our house.  A baby owl.  He was the cutest thing ever.  (well, as much as I could see him – it was dark)  I was enchanted by the sighting.  He continued to sit there for a few more minutes, and we just stood nearby watching.  quietly.  All of a sudden, he flew off the car, into the trees.  It was such a sweet goodnight story.

I was just out in the front yard, adjusting the water sprinkler (high 90s and no rain for months!) and wondered where our baby owl was now.  And thanked God for showing us this darling creature last night.  Thanked Him for eyes to see, and for a daughter who shared the delight!  

May God send you a sweet surprise as well.  Be enchanted by His wonders and His creation.  Ask Him to bring to your attention the wonders around you.  And keep your eyes open.  

“So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”  Genesis 1:21

“How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” Psalm 104:24

“Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.'” Luke 5:26

“Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” Exodus 15:11

Read Full Post »

Could we all just take a moment of silence?  To grieve a loss.  

Today is the day our church’s high school students loaded up the buses, and rolled away from the church.  Off to camp.  My camp.  MY CAMP!!!  This year, they will be visiting ORANGE BEACH!!!  Do you know how much I love the beach?  Especially a beautiful beach?!!!  Indeed.  They are now there, about to go to their first evening worship service.  Complete with amazing drama, terrific worship in song, great, quick, wonderful video clips, and a rousing message brought forth from the heart of a man who loves God.  and students.  And Sara and I are home.  

The decision was not easy, believe me  –  she was still well in her illness when I had to make this decision,  being told that much rest was the only way to get better.  This has been since the end of April.  That’s right.  She’s been such a trooper, pacing herself, resting as she should, and limiting her activities to only those the dr. said were ok.  Hard stuff for the girl about to be a senior in high school!  Lessons have been learned.  And truths have risen to the top of our hearts and minds as we ponder the stuff that really matters. Believe me, we are grateful that full recovery is expected.  We anticipate that.  And she is soooooooooo much better than she was!  We rejoice in that!

But, today.  today is sad.  Because we long for camp.  We miss our favorite summer church activity. The fellowship.  The fun.   And I miss my Student Life friends. My precious special most amazing Student Life friends.  However, we have choices – what will we do?  We will have a few “field trips” around town – just mom and her girl.  Not too taxing, but fun.  We will pray for them.  For sure.  And be glad for them.  Truly.  and be so eager to hear all that God did while they were away.  

Will you pray for them now, as a matter of fact?  Pray that God will make Himself known to each one – not only our students, but all 2000 that are there.  (or however many are there).  Would you pray that God would move unlike ever before in that place?  and that God would bless them abundantly – each one that is serving selflessly at camp.  And each one that is receiving. or the ones just taking it all in.  What if this was such the spiritual marker in these students’ lives, that the rest of their lives are sold out for Christ?!!!  wow.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it!  Maybe being home, and getting to pray for them will be alright after all……..

Read Full Post »

glory dawneth

This morning, my “God Calling” devo.  Happy Monday, friends.  May God bless you abundantly this day…….

“I am planning for you.  Wonderful are My Ways beyond your knowledge.

Oh!  realize My Bounty and My Goodness more and more. The wonder of being led by Me!  The beauty of a guided life!

These will enter your consciousness more and more and bring you ever more and more Joy.

You are very nearly at the point when you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.

You have entered upon a wonderful era – your lives are planned and blessed by Me as never before.

You are overcoming.  You are counting all things but loss if you can win Me.  And the promises to him that overcometh are truly wonderful, and will always be fulfilled.”

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.”  2 Thessalonians 3:16

Read Full Post »

God is for you.

God is Cheering for You

by Max Lucado

If your God is Mighty enough to ignite the sun, could it be that He is mighty enough to light your path?

God is for you. Not “may be,” not “has been,” not “was,” not “would be,” but “God is!” He is for you. Today. At this hour. At this minute. As you read this sentence. No need to wait in line or come back tomorrow. He is with you. He could not be closer than he is at this second. His loyalty won’t increase if you are better nor lessen if you are worse. He is for you.

God is for you. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. Listen for him in the bleachers, shouting your name. Too tired to continue? He’ll carry you. Too discouraged to fight? He’s picking you up. God is for you.

God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car, your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. We know he has a tattoo, and we know what it says. “I have written your name on my hand,” he declares (Isa. 49:16). 

Let the Journey Begin:
God’s Roadmap for New Beginnings

© (J Countryman 2009) Max Lucado

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »