Thursday, September 03, 2009


Alright everyone...I've got to be honest. My use of blogspot has just been plain boring. I am bored by the fonts, boring backgrounds and the difficulty that comes with creating HTML to make it look decent. My lack of knowledge has forced me into a new location. I'll now be hosting my blog at the following website:

Now it's not a ".com" but it was $ trying to be a little cheap I went with ".info"

I hope you'll click over and follow me soon. Thanks for following so far.



Friday, August 07, 2009

The Manager Malfunction

I was watching the news yesterday morning and was blown away by what I saw.  Fox News, and I'm sure every other media outlet, reported that a lady was asked to leave a Missouri Burger King because her six month old wasn't wearing shoes.  The manager told her "we take the health codes very seriously!"  The Mom was a little surprised so she put some socks on her child, but the manager pointed her to the sign "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service."  The Manager told her socks were insufficient and that she would need to leave before he called the police.  The police...REALLY?  Now, as you can imagine, Burger King Inc. is bending over backwards to stop the negative image it's received due to their manager's actions.  They have invited her in for "The Royal Treatment" (maybe that includes a burger and fries and a milkshake...or maybe The King himself will show up for a little dance and a burger celebration).  

Now I bring this whole thing up because people amaze me. I'm amazed how some people seem so inclined to keep life in focus, situations in focus, and systems in focus, and seemingly just move forward understanding what it's all about.  But I'm just as amazed that some seem to miss "the point".  I am floored by this manager who I think truly believed that he was in the right.  He truly believed that this 6 month old was violating the health code...I have no doubt that he was sincere.  And I have no doubt that many people in church are sincere about their understanding of certain passages, traditions, etc...and yet like the manager, take that to places it was never intended...know what I mean?

Here's the idea...Jesus gets questioned by the Pharisees because his disciples break off some grains as they walk through a field and they do it on the Sabbath.  The Sabbath was obviously created for a good reason right?  Rest, Refocus, and Stop the Busyness (no that wasn't just a 21st century problem) that so distracts us from focusing on God, but the Pharisee's pulled a Burger king manager!  They inform Jesus that their actions are against the "Sabbath 'Health' Code" and Jesus responds with this: The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people the Sabbath. (mark 2)  It amazes me that people today can do the very same thing. We can get so focused on the "how" of stuff and miss the "why." I'm convinced that Jesus really wants us to get the WHY right, and that when we do, the HOW takes care of itself.  I don't think that I've put it in those words before, but that actually describes how I've felt for years about how the church should function in our world.  

At what point do we see ourselves as the BK Manager, and someone in corporate needs to say, "we are sorry for their decision, they missed the point."  Please come back and let us give you the Royal Treatment! Unfortunately, I think we miss a good chunk of the world because they see us really focused on the "how" of church instead of the "why." To the world..."I'm sorry, come back and let us give you the Royal Treatment.!"

Love ya...Have a good day!



Sunday, August 02, 2009

Family...and Matters at hand.

Have you ever wondered...Do I have a place that I can escape to? Some of you answered that question immediately, you know where that place is. For some it's the gym, others it's the woods, others it's your ipod...but for some of you, you're thinking do I have a place? I have come to realize something about myself, and my immediate family. I noticed recently after some stuff that went on that the only thing I could think of was getting home to my girls. I just needed to be with them, away from stuff. I was blessed to be greeted by Emerson as I came in the door. She was excited to see me. For a moment, it changed everything, or rather, nothing else mattered. I just didn't care about all that stuff. If I'm really honest I have over the last few months, just longed to be home with them. Stuff doesn't follow me there...know what I mean? Imagine yourself in your place, isn't it safe and "away" from all that bothers you? Don't you get a sense that you are free to be you? Maybe you don't go to your place to escape, but rather for renewal. I'm fine with that too, renewal happens for me at home too, but sometimes it's just escape.

It makes me think about how Jesus handled those stressful moments compared to how I handle them. I'm really not thinking about the cross now, cause that's just NEXT LEVEL, and really none of us face that kind of stress. I'm talking about the day-to-day stuff he faced with people always being in his face(his "job), with people always needing something (his passion), with frustrations with his closest friends the Disciples (his friends and family)...where did He go? What did he do in those moments? I'm thinking specifically about the moments following his teaching on the side of lake when he told his Disciples to go ahead of him. That's a moment I'd like to spend as a fly on the bush beside him as he talked with his Dad. What did he voice as needs/concerns then? What thoughts came across as he had those conversations with God? What questions does an Almighty, flesh-inhabiting God have when he's at his wits end? What does he say when, as my wife says, "he's met his people quota?" Does anyone else wonder this kind of stuff? Don't get me wrong I've got plenty of questions when I get there (heaven that is - although I don't think they'll matter then), but sometimes I just need some comfort to know that I'm not the only one needing some times of refreshing, "away from the crowds"... even those closest to you. Anyone tracking???

I'll end with this. . .above a lot of other spiritual things this one thing, maybe as much as the miracles, amazes me most about Jesus: He was able to keep pace with the crowds, and His vision, and still keep pace with his Father. I am convinced this is impossible without times away with your Creator. So wherever your place is, I invite you to go, right away!!! Go see what, or rather Who, is waiting for your there.

Love ya! Matt


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Expected and Unexpected Adventure

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything, and I've had lots of thoughts just no decision to write it down...know what I mean? Well now there's reason to write:

So I had the chance to be a part of mission team to Honduras over the last week. We returned to the states on Saturday afternoon, and if you've been watching the news, it was about 12 hours before things went really south. We got word that there was a potential coup in the works, and none of what we heard sounded good. So within a couple of hours of getting word it could get bad, we left Gualaco for Tegucigalpa, heading into the hornets nest. In the village where we were people couldn't care less. But we had to leave that area to get back to the capital, so that we wouldn't be caught if the roads were shut down...So after 4+ hours of driving through rain, dirt roads, and on back country roads we roll into Tegucigalpa, a city of over 2 million. We passed a total of 12 cars on the way to hotel. 12 CARS. . .THAT'S IT! That made everyone a little nervous, you know how it is when people in a car just get quiet...eerily quiet. We get to the hotel without any events and no protests or problems. We spent the next 36 hours waiting for a plane. Now in the process we got to relax at a 4* hotel, sit in the hot tub, swim a little, eat great food, and do a little souvenir know the suffering part of the mission trip!

But on Saturday morning we left the country and once we cleared Honduran airspace there seemed to be a general sigh from everyone on the plane...And then on Sunday everything broke loose. They arrested the President, swore in a new one, and flew the former president to Costa Rica...Was he getting a free vacation? Because within hours he was on international tv, in a nice suit, telling the world how abusive and terrible his arrest was...hmmm, I'm confused. I thought coups, and overthrows were violent, people died, especially leaders at the epicenter of the problems. In a suit, in Costa Rica, on International tv? Wow, someone please come arrest me!!!

Who really knows what's going on in Honduras? Who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys...I don't know. I'm pretty sure I don't like anything that smacks of Hugo Chavez and his antics, and this is the same path that Zelaya is headed down. Maybe, just maybe the international community isn't really saying what it seems to be saying...put a Chavez-like president back in power? Seriously, he tried to legalize the sale and distribution of narcotics, Cocaine, and Marijuana, saying that they could educate the people on how to manage them, and then he tried to sale the people on the idea of rehab for addicts... Really? Really?? Is that what we want, another trash talking, small army having, drug distributing Napolean in Central America? Let's hope not!

I'll tell about the real mission trip in my next post.

Until then,
Adios -- Mateo


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Entitled to or Surprised by Grace...

So, if you're not real active class on Wednesday nights...well you miss out on some interesting discussions...(You're not going to Hell for not being there, you just miss out on some good growth time)

Tonight we started off the class using a clip from the tv show "Rules of Engagement" (all rights to CBS...) and the idea was that Jeff has just injured his back in a softball tournament...not playing, sneezing. Now this idea is all too familiar to me, that is, I all too often forget that my body is 33 and my mind is still 16 when it comes to sports. I'm still convinced that I can do things that my body can't...Anyone else? I'm just still convinced, and yes, sometimes impressed that I can still run a sub 4.6 40yd dash (and go home and discover I have the flu). I'm still somewhat impressed that I can still go out on a soccer field and do better than hold my own...but here's my question? Is that confidence translating to my faith? To our faith? Now, if you're not an athlete and you're a Brainiac, I think you may still have a problem. Both end at the same place somewhere down the line...Old guys bragging about what they "used to do" and young guys rolling their eyes in disbelief. I've been on both sides of the fence, and let me say. It is an awesome feeling to show up a "youngster" on the soccer field chasing down a ball and putting it in the net. It's even better when you hear "I've got the bald guy" and then thoroughly leave him wondering where he left his jock strap somewhere around midfield. You just can't beat the feeling.

Back to my point: Is this transferring into my faith? Am I relying on my "abilities" to do well rather than on my God to save the guy who deserves only to sit on the bench, (if that)? We discussed 4 different people in class tonight, Nicodemus(#1), the weeping woman at Jesus' feet (#2), the Pharisee who invited Jesus (#3), and The Rich Young Ruler (#4). I didn't plan on the RYR, but it played in well to the discussion...Each had their own "position" and their perception of earned position before God. I'm interested enough to hear what he has to say, but I have the safety net of all my teachings, but I'm going to go see what He has to say(#1), I'm a terrible person and all I can do is fall at His feet and hope (#2), I'm good enough to be here, let's see about Jesus (#3), Here's my list of successes and righteousness, what else God, I've completed that list?(#4)

It seems interesting to me that the people in these stories all came from different angles, similar backgrounds, but different angles...Each had, by human standards earned something, one earned punishment, the others a place in heaven...And so, when it comes time for your need of forgiveness...Let me ask this:

Will you be expecting Grace or will you be surprised by Grace? Here's the difference in position...One thinks that they have earned it because they were good enough, and the other is so dependent on it that they wouldn't know how to function without it!

God, forgive me when I've expected Grace to follow me...instead of being thankful for your continued surprises...I know You've promised it, but I don't want to demand something I don't deserve. I want to roll around in it and celebrate with people when I've received it...

I'm quite confident that the people in your churches who are angry, bitter, and manipulating are not the people who get this. They're quite assured of their place in eternity because of their righteousness...Let's just hope they don't get a "surprise" at the end! I'd much rather be surprised by Grace today than surprised by Hell at the end!

Alright God...You're on, surprise me! (with Grace please...) I promise I'll celebrate!


Thursday, April 16, 2009


I know, I know...that's a strange title for a post, but I think that's just what describes me right now. Have you ever prayed for some one's life to be rattled, disrupted, or interrupted? I "randomly" got online tonight, actually Tammy got online, to a friend of mine's website while we were hanging out after Emerson went to bed. She asked if I had seen it in a while, and I hadn't, so we went to it and looked at it. As we looked at the site we noticed some new work he had done. I won't tell you what business he's in, but he's been wildly successful in California in his specialty. Well, it seems now that he's "branching out" and getting other work. That's where the disturbance comes in.

Here's my quandary: While we were growing up, he and I were really good friends, the kind who kept each other accountable, asked hard questions, and sometimes allowed the other to slack. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but it's true, and we were teenagers so that may give you more understanding. I vividly remember one day this friend of mine saying to me "you know those words you make up to 'not cuss' are just as bad as the cuss words you say. It's what's in your heart that matters." I remember arguing like anyone would do when they were busted for doing and saying something they knew was wrong...and eventually I filed it away to be remembered at a later date. Now, years removed, relationship virtually nonexistent, I see him in a place that disturbs me. I mean it is 10 til 1 in the morning and I'm here writing this post...I just can't sleep! I just prayed for a disruption so big in his life that he has no choice but to turn to God. That's disturbing in and of itself. You see, I know him well enough to know he's chasing the dollar...and in the industry that he seems to be dabbling with, there's lots of it, unfortunately. So I just prayed for some disruption of the money, the relationship that he's in, etc... And then I had this weird thought: If it got really bad for him, would I be willing to bring him into my home so that he could recover? And that's disturbing...

So my final thought is this...How much do we really love people when we say we do? Are we willing to help them out of sin or just point it out? It seems that Jesus dealt with this, and so did the Pharisees for that was pointing it out, and one was lifting a head, and giving a hand. Here's where I'll end, I'm committing here in this setting to do what it takes, if it came to that, (and yes, the odds are small that he would call me) to help him come back to the feet of Jesus. In the midst of being disturbed by the position of my friend I have realized something. I'm just as disturbed about the idea of investing the kind of time and energy in people that it takes to get out of sin. I've seen it first hand and let me say, Satan is good at what he does. And yes, he fights tooth and nail not to lose a warrior for his side...

Signing off hopefully...
God, thank you for disturbing me tonight!


Monday, April 06, 2009

...The Divergence (Part Deaux)

This morning we woke knowing that the weather was probably going to be really lame, rainy, and generally yuck in Jacksonville. But as we were at the hospital a little longer than expected, we were watching the weather on our phones and noticed that it might be clearing....I got an idea! What if we took Emerson to the JAX Zoo? Now guys, we can pretend...but really, how often are you truly thinking ahead of your wife? I looked at Tammy and said, "why don't we take Emerson to the Z-O-O? (Yes, we are now spelling some things that are key words to her). Tammy, calmly says, "I thought about that I'm sure she did, but man I thought I might have just come up with the idea of the day!!!" Anyway, no hard feelings here.
So after I finally got tired of waiting on the Pharmacy, we left the hospital and headed out for our adventure!

A quick aside: We wanted to eat a cheaper lunch than eating in the zoo, so we went to Taco bell on the way. While ordering, I heard a lady actually say I don't want none of 'dem JALAPENOS! And yes, she said "JAL-A-PEEN-OS!" I had to restrain the laughter and remember that I'm not in New Mexico anymore.

The Z-O-O:
We got to see Lions, Leopards, and Bears....and Giraffes (I know what you thought was coming...and no there weren't any Tigers...Oh My!) I'll just cut straight to the good stuff. Emerson loved every part of it, the Aviary, the Leopards, the Snakes, the Bathrooms...etc, etc...but the best above all was the Silverback Gorilla! We got a great opportunity to sit and watch one of the great Silverbacks from 18 inches away (with thick glass between us). Emerson got a front row seat to just sit and say "hi, hi, hi, hi, hi, hi. After nearly 10 minutes of sitting right there watching, Tammy and I decided it was time to move on. As we got to another vantage point I noticed that he was moving back even closer to the glass, so I ran with Emerson down a ramp, and tried to work her in as close as I could get. The picture you see above is the picture that I got with my phone. If you look close you can see Emerson's reflection in the glass with the gorilla sitting right there facing us. It was awesome!!! All day after that, on the way home, and talking to Mimi and Papaw tonight, the first thing she said was I saw a "Big Monkey!" I hope that's one of those moments that she remembers for a long time!

Let me be honest...despite my last post with all it's sappiness, I'm just not much of a Zoo guy. It actually bothers me a little seeing animals like the Black Bear that roams a territory of 25-100 miles, he is now the Master over 20 x 40 yds. That actually makes me sad for the Bear. In situations where it's a rescue or a recovery system that's one thing, but "captured" animals there to be watched for our pleasure...surely that's not what they were designed for.

Alright, maybe now I can get back to the "list" of things next time!

Have a great night!
Big Monkey...Out!