Memories vs. Reality

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It was the start of summer of  ’87 that my curiosity got the best of me. Summer vacation meant a few things in my life at that time: freedom for three months and more frequent visits to my real father’s house. Yes, for most kids, it’s the time to go outside and play with friends down at Central Park, but since we lived in a very transitional community at the time,  people my age didn’t stay in one place very long.  Because of this small little situation, I learned the art of staying at home and building forts with our flower printed couch cushions and pillows.

As a kid, I didn’t have a lot of toys growing up partly for a couple of reasons. A. My mother was a very frugal person, and there were only a certain amount of things you could do with legos. B. When I did have toys I would take them to my real father’s house and leave them there only by the request of him. (I will now refer to my real father as Steve)  I preface this because, as a kid, you NEVER forget what is yours…especially when you have so few toys to begin with. See Steve, was a not a great dad at all. Without going into all the horrible things he used to do to my mom and I, I will say this…the reason why he forced me to leave things at his house is because he wanted to give them to his other son since he spent most of his money on his little addiction. Later during those weekends I would come home, my mother would ask me where a certain toy was I would say, at Steve’s house and she would discipline me because I was irresponsible. Thus the reason, why I played with flower printed couch cushions and pillows most of the time. Steve can’t steal couch cushions without mom knowing. Although I did try to take them one time but they couldn’t all fit in our red Nissan Sentra.

There was this ONE toy, that I never let out of my sights. I would polish it once a week, tape the handles every summer so I wouldn’t get blisters, and kept it fueled with high octane bubbles. The only time I would take my bubble lawn mower out was the day that my step-dad mowed the lawn. As he headed into the garage, I ran towards the dining room window to get the best seat in the house. At the time, mowing was the most entertaining thing to watch on a hot summer day. I would see him start the mower with one pull of the cord and watch him glide across the grass cutting every single blade without missing one. Every single time he passed by, you could smell the fresh cut grass and it was heavenly. After he was done, I immediately went out there with my bubble mower 1000 and simulate what I just saw. I would always wait until he was done because my bubble mower 1000 wasn’t as powerful as his mower. Mine left grass everywhere and it smelled like soap rather than fresh cut grass when I pushed my mower.

After watching him cut the grass several times, I felt that I was ready to take the challenge, step up and become, “the man”. I asked my step-dad every week for 14 weeks, “Can I mow the grass this time?” His answer was always the same, “You’re not ready yet, and I’m having too much fun.” His answer didn’t change until May 23rd 1988. He comes in my room and says, “Happy Birthday, You are ready and you can mow the grass this time.” At that moment, this was the best birthday gift I have received to date. I pulled out my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles undies, my shorts, my mighty mouse t-shirt and boots. (don’t ask). I went out to the garage and he instructed me where to pull and push and also where not to put my hand just in case grass got stuck somewhere. After several failed attempts to start the mower, my step-dad intervened and got it started for me. I quickly began to notice that my lines aren’t as straight as his and I sweat more than I usually do pushing my bubble mower. After I was done, he said, “Good job son, how’d you like it?” I quickly responded telling him, that I would like to stick to my bubbles, but before I could finish my sentence, he interrupted and said, “You’ve been asking for a long time, and now this is your responsibility.”

Later on in life, I was required to read a book about a fellow named Tom Sawyer. I quickly realized during that time, that my step-dad played a little trick making me believe that mowing was fun just like Tom played a trick on his friends on painting the fence.

I say all that to say this. The bible clearly states that, “There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end, it leads to destruction.” My ways, my thoughts, my desires will always lead me down the wrong path. This 21 day fast of ourselves that our young adults are doing right now has shown me how selfish I can really be. I just pray that God will ruin my plans so I can follow Him according to His will…Sorry for such a long post…Love God, Love People

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Love Dallas, Love the World (1st Post)

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It’s almost awkward for me to think that I am actually posting a blog…Facebook Statuses & Tweeting take little to no effort for me to think about what to say. I think I’ve typed and backspaced about 14 times before coming up to this random 1st blog entry. But after tapping on the keys without typing one word, (you know you do it too), I finally figured out what to say. I don’t think I have the chops to write a blog that people would flock to and read.  But I do know that documenting this first ever blog would be cool to look back at a few months from now.

I titled this post, “Love Dallas, Love the World”. This is in regards to everything that happened tonight at our young adult bible study called Seven. Let me preface this post first by giving you a small background lesson on how I got here. If you don’t know me and you are reading this post randomly, I attend Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. In the Evangelical world, most people would call Gateway a “Mega Church”. Growing up and being part of a “bible believing” and significantly “smaller” size church, it was embedded in my head that all mega-churches were about “entertaining the crowd” as the people “entertained the church’s pocket book.” I started to believe this statement the first time I went to a mega-church in the area (Not Gateway). Christian and I were the only ones in our section to have their bibles, and the pastor decided to literally break dance on stage while barely using scripture during the actual “message.”  It was an uneasy feeling to say the least. Our first encounter/impression with Gateway Church changed our views rather quickly. We entered the doors wanting to see the worship team and to “hear” good music, but Christian and I left the church hearing the Lord speak to us, “This is your new home.” 7 months later, we are still here and loving every minute of it!!

Our Young Adults Pastor, Preston Morrison, had an incredible message tonight about fasting from ourselves and how to find joy from it. Without sounding like I’m quoting his message verbatim, I would encourage anybody who was not there go podcast it right now…

His message reminded me of a passage in Acts 4 where John and Peter were preaching the gospel and are seized by the high priest and elders. They started drilling Peter and John with questions and asking them “By what power or what name did you do this?” Peter speaks up and preaches directly to them and ends his answer with a popular verse that a lot of us know already, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” I guess my point of this post all falls back on the following verse. Acts 4:13 says, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” I long to be that type of person. A believer who can have just one encounter with someone and they immediately know, that I’ve been with Jesus. I hope the next 21 days, I will find the needs of others and help them meet their needs in whatever way that I can.

If you do attend seven at Gateway, and you need some help finding out how to serve others, go to Craigslist. No, not to buy, sell or trade, but to find peoples needs and help them out. If you didn’t know there is a tab just for volunteers. Small groups of people or organzations post the needs they have that they are unable to get them done by themselves. People who just need the lawn mowed, or “shut-ins” who just need a bag of groceries. It’s time to act on what we hear. To love God, and Love people.

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