Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Tour: The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels

I've had the privilege of working with people and primarily teens in vocational ministry for the last 15 years. One of the most often asked questions I've heard over those years is "How do you hear from God?" Another way this question is asked is "How do I know what God wants me to do with my life?"

Bill Hybels has written a new book that releases this week called "The Power of a Whisper." In this book, Hybels shares his life journey as God has spoken to him. Hybels challenges the reader to learn to hear the voice of God. As you can imagine and may have heard or seen for yourselves, people do some crazy things in the name of God. I've read people who have gone on killing sprees because God told them to. For this reason, I appreciate chapter 4. Hybels gives some incredible filters for anyone who believes they have heard from God. He also gives a shorter version of these filters in Appendix 2. If you will apply these filters and learn to listen to the nudge of the Spirit, then I believe that you can discover what God wants you to do with your life.

If you are someone who wants to know more about God speaking to you, then I highly encourage you to read this book.

I'd like to thank Zondervan for sending me this advance copy of Bill Hybel's new book. It is an honor to do blog reviews.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blog Tour: Insights on John by Charles Swindoll

Charles Swindoll has a series of commentaries called "Swindoll's New Testament Insights." In this particular installment, he writes about the book of John.

I love the layout of this particular commentary. Swindoll gives some excellent commentary. I enjoyed the diagrams, especially the opening diagram on pages 12-13 that gives "The Gospel of John at a glance."

Swindoll gives his commentary on each section of scripture followed by an application section. This would be a great resource for those wanting to go to another level in their Bible Study. Swindoll gives great explanation of key Greek words. He also has a section throughout the book entitled "From My Journal" where he gives personal insights.

For those who are leaders, I would recommend using this in addition to other resources that you currently use for sermon/lesson preparation. As with any resource, I would judge it based on your personal theology.

Friday, July 23, 2010

San Antonio Vacation - Part 5

One of the highlights for me was to get to spend some time with great friends! I've already highlighted some of the encounters with Darrell Wickert and John Van Pay. I'd like to thank those guys for their hospitality while we were in San Antonio. Their recommendations and advice helped make our trip great.

On Monday Night, we found out that another of our friends from SAGU, Matt Robertson, was in town. So, John arranged for us to meet him and his family along with Darrell and his family. Matt is a Youth Pastor in Beaumont. The four of our families met at BJ's. It was a great time as we shared laughs and memories.

We also had the added bonus of seeing my family on the trip to and from San Antonio. We stopped in Round Rock and saw my sister and her family. We got to see my parents in Waco. My mom introduced us to Taco Casa. We also got to see the remodeling my Dad has been heading up at Victorious Life in Waco.

Overall, we had an awesome week! It was very relaxing and I loved the time connecting with my family and friends.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Antonio Vacation - Part 4

The weather was perfect for a lot of great activities. There was a tropical storm that hit Mexico that brought sporadic rain and cooler temperatures. Besides Sea World, there were some other great things that we did.

1. Riverwalk - Can you really go to San Antonio without going to the Riverwalk? We had a great time walking down the riverwalk. It has been 4 years since our last visit to San Antonio. Since that time, they have expanded the riverwalk. It looked like they were still in the early stages of that, but I expect that there will be a whole lot more shops and restaurants popping up there soon.

2. The Alamo - I love the history and nostalgia of this place. To think there was blood shed on that hallowed ground for my freedom is a humbling thought.

3. Rivercenter Mall - the Girls loved the Hello Kitty store. Of course, I had to stop by the Dallas Cowboys Pro shop. I even bought a couple of Baylor Shirts at the Champs there. :)

4. San Antonio Zoo - We had a blast at the zoo. This was really the only thing that the rain messed up. The rain cut our trip short. They had the biggest snake I've ever seen in my life and an awesome Africa exhibit complete with what looks like an aquarium, but then you notice the huge hippos in there. It was awesome. We will go back again.

5. San Antonio Children's Museum - If you have small children, this is a great interactive museum. The girls loved it. They have a grocery store that the kids can shop at.....complete with fake food and mini shopping carts. The girls had a blast with all the exhibits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

San Antonio Part 3 - The Culinary Experience

OK, here were some of our favorite places that we ate on our no particular order.

Mexican Food

1. Alamo Cafe - Alamo Cafe is a stop we have to make every time we are in San Antonio. In the early 90s, Brent Williams, my youth pastor when I was a teen, took me to this place. Our favorite location is the one off of 281. They have great tortillas and fantastic Tex-Mex. We met my good friend, Darrell Wickert, there. Darrell is a Kid's Pastor at First Assembly of God in San Antonio.

2. Mi Tierra - Mi Tierra is located in the El Mercado at Market Square. They have great food and a great atmosphere. Mariachi Bands walk around playing music (for a small fee of course). It is a San Antonio landmark.

Honorable Mention: Taco Taco Cafe - Kenzie wanted Tacos. So, I googled "Best Tacos in San Antonio" and it lead us to Taco Taco Cafe. Bon Appetit Magazine said these were the best Tacos in America. So, we thought we'd give it a try. I had their signature taco, El NorteƱ had beans, avocado, cheese and grilled meat. The girls all had regular tacos. I thought it was good, not worthy of the best in America.....the girls didn't like it at all.....probably won't go there again.


1. Salt Lick BBQ, Round Rock, TX - I loved this place! They had great BBQ. A couple of the Food Network stars at highlighted this place on the show the best thing I've ever eaten. So, we decided to give it a try. I would like to try their restaurant in Dripping Springs because a few friends have told me that it is better.

2. Rudy's Country Store and BBQ - My good friend, John Van Pay, took me over to the Original Rudy's Country Store and BBQ in Leon Springs, Texas. I've eaten at Rudy's before, but this one was by far the best. It was the place that it all got started. The smoked Turkey was awesome. We also liked their creamed corn.

Chains We Liked
1. BJ's - Great Homemade Root Beer
2. PF Chang's
3. Freebirds - Incredible Burritos
4. Red Robin

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

San Antonio Vacation Part 2 - Sea World

On Monday and Tuesday, we spent the day at Sea World! We love Sea World! It was our first time to take Mackenzie. She loved it! We went back Thursday night for all the night shows!


1. The girls loved the little Shamu roller coaster. It was Kenzie's first roller coaster experience. She is a big fan now!

2. We loved the shows! All of the shows are great! Kenzie's favorite was the ski show! Mady liked the Sea Lions show at night the best! Sasha's favorite show is AZUL. It used to be called Viva!, but they added some lighting effects and changed it. When we went Monday and Tuesday, they did not have the AZUL show because one of the Beluga Whales had a new calf. We did get to see the new calf. It was awesome.

3. We loved the Shamu shows! The girls thought it was funny when they put the camera on us before the night time Shamu show....I jumped up and started dancing. Yeah, I was that guy. It was for the girls! LOL

4. The girls loved the Lazy River at the Lost Lagoon. Mackenzie was adventuresome. She went out with me into the wave pool (wearing a life jacket of course). She had so much fun.

Sea World is a great affordable place to take your family. You can buy a fun pass that is the same price as a one day ticket. The fun pass gives you admission all year long.

Monday, July 19, 2010

San Antonio Vacation Part 1

Over the next few days, I'll be posting some of my thoughts from our vacation! The last week of June, Sasha, Mady, Mackenzie and I went to San Antonio for a week!

We arrived in town on Saturday! A good friend of mine was able to hook us up with a great vacation house! It was 2 bedrooms and 1 bath in a great subdivision on the edge of the hill country.

On Sunday Morning, we went to Gateway Fellowship for church! John Van Pay is the Lead Pastor. He has been a great friend of mine since our Southwestern days. Their music was fantastic. It was our first experience at attending a church in a movie theater. If you live in the San Antonio area, I would recommend attending Gateway.

Sunday Afternoon, we ended up at a very cool shopping area called the Shops at La Cantera. They had some great shops. Mady enjoyed the fountains. She thought it was absolutely hilarious every time she dipped her hands in the many fountains and wiped them on my shirt. We had a great time.

Sunday night, we went to the pool in our subdivision with some friends and had hot dogs. I had a brat the way the locals eat them.....tortilla instead of bun. It was awesome. :)

Check back tomorrow for more San Antonio vacation highlights!

Friday, July 16, 2010

AND Blog Tour

It seems everywhere you turn that someone has a different opinion on how we should do church. There are those that say we need to have traditional music and some say modern worship. There are those that we should have Sunday School and those who say that we should have Small Groups. An even bigger divide is those who say we should strive to become a mega church and those who would say the house church or organic church movement is the answer.

In the compelling book, AND, Hugh Halter and Matt Smay pose the thought of not settling for either/or, but AND. What if we were the gathered and scattered church? As Scott Thomas, Director, Acts 29 Network and Global Church Pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle stated "AND unites the divided methods with the singular motivation of the gospel and urges the church to focus on the mission of Jesus in the sanctuaries AND in the streets."

Halter and Smay challenge the reader to become missionaries to the community in which they live. They stated "Church is God's people intentionally committing to die together so that others can find his kingdom." Jesus challenged us to take up our cross and follow him. This particular thought caused me to ask myself am I willing to die so that other can find his kingdom. The answer is YES!

AND is a fantastic book! It is a must read for anyone who is ready to step out of mundane religion and into an exciting relationship with God. America is a great mission field and this book will help you to reach your community.

This week you can also order AND for 50% OFF and get free shipping at with this code: 370030. The discount is valid July 12-16 only.

What's Happening?

1. Summer has been busy. We are in the middle of family month at church! It has been awesome. Church is the only place we call something family night and then send everyone to their separate activities. So, led by our Pastor, we decided to bring everyone together for family month. It has been awesome. We had Skittles come and do a concert. The deal was that if we had over 200 at the show that Pastor and I would get a pie in the face. The church did it and the pie tasted great! This Sunday, the Xtreme Kids will be in the choir loft helping us with the worship!

2. At the end of June, we took a much needed vacation to San Antonio. I will blog more about that next week. San Antonio is a great place.

3. We've had a series of activities for our 180 students called "Boredom Busters." So far, we've had Water Wars, gone to the Boardwalk in Shreveport and my personal favorite was a canoe/kayak trip to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Ambush Adventures is a great outfitter in Broken Bow. We did a 4 mile trip down the river. It was lot of fun. I can't wait to do that again. :)

4. The girls are enjoying their summer. They have taken swimming lessons. They both made huge steps during those lessons. Sasha has stayed busy keeping the house clean and going, doing activities with us, getting ready for school to start in a month and taking classes. We've had a lot of fun so far, but it is not over yet.

5. So, sorry that I haven't updated the blog in over a month. I will begin posting more regularly now. Also, you will see an occasional book review on my blog. I have signed up to review some books on my blog. It is a blast. I'm posting one tonight! In the next few weeks, I'll review books by Charles Swindoll and the new one from Bill Hybels that comes out in August. So, be watching for more things to come. :)