Archive for March, 2006

Finding the right words…

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

This post has been stewing in my mind for weeks now. I mentioned in a previous post that I was in the middle of a bad blogging season. This is my 215th post here at the Bucket. I have been blogging here for just over 10 months. I wondered if maybe I was just getting tired of blogging, but I really don’t think that’s it. I am currently fasting from the internet (reading other’s blogs) which I think has something to do with my blogging block, but I really don’t think that is the reason for my writing funk either. The other day Johnny and I were talking about this. He is feeling the same way, and we both agreed that the major factor for our lethargic attitude towards this task was our sense of discomfort with how many people now know about our blogs. Now, let me be clear, I am under no false illusions that thousands of people are flocking to The Bucket every morning to see what David has to say. (If they are, they’ve been pretty disappointed recently) What I am saying is this. When you become aware of the fact that other people are starting to read some of your stuff, I think it leads to two things. First, you want to produce something that is good. Oftentimes, you will think to yourself, “nobody will want to read this” or “that thought isn’t really complete yet.” Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it leads you to be more cautious with what you do and do not say. Most people would read those and think, “both of those sound like good things,” which I guess they are in some cases. The problem for me is that isn’t why I started The Bucket, and is not a compelling reason for me to continue it.

When I began blogging again last May I said that I wanted a place to work out, “the chaotic ramblings of my soul.” I just wanted a place to archive and work through what I was experiencing in my life, ministry, and growth at that time. But for some reason I have strayed away from that. For some reason, I’ve focused more on producing content for others rather than simply recording how I sense God is moving in and around my life regardless of how clear that movement may be at that time. Now, let me be clear. I do very much appreciate those who read my blog and share comments with me… especially those that lead me to greater clarity and understanding. I guess what I am getting at is that I want to get back to the reason I started to write.

So in the future, you will see less polished content and more of the chaotic ramblings that I had originally hoped to share. I do love the journey and there are many things in my life right now that I am super excited about. Here is just one….

Today, my daughter climbed up in my lap before I left to go to work to give me a hug. While holding her, I said, “that’s my sweet girl.” She replied, “that’s my sweet daddy.”

Can life be any better than that?

Thank you Lord Jesus for moments of life and grace like these… I don’t ever want to forget how I felt in that moment.

Blogging again?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

The past few months have been a difficult blogging season for me. I really don’t know why. I have struggled setting aside time to post, and when I have made the time, I just seem to hit a wall. Today I had my Board of Ordained Ministry interview and was approved to be commisioned as a Probationary member at Annual conference this year. (If you’re not a United Methodist, that probably means nothing to you!) It feels really good to move forward in the process. It is a great personal/emotional relief to me to have these interviews behind me. I wouldn’t say that I was worried about the outcome, but I was also trying to steer clear of presuming that my preferred outcome would actually come to pass. But what surprised me today is how temporary that sense of relief was for me today. I am really tired right now. This semester in school has been difficult and work just continues as a frenzied pace. It’s actually one of my favorite parts of my job. I love the dynamic, but it can wear you out. I am in need of some down time. Hopefully after Ignite this weekend, I can get some.

In other news, Heyduck and I are in conversation to begin an “official” cohort of Methodists in Central Texas. To say that I have been craving this experience would be a tremendous understatement. At the very least, I would love the monthly excuse to be out of the office and spend some time with some great friends and colleagues. Whether or not we devour a book a month or spend 6 hours in theological reflection isn’t as important to me as being able to spend some more time with my friends. I need it. There I said it.

I also miss the internet.

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Late Sunday night…

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

It’s late on Sunday night and though my body is trying to convince my mind that it has been a really long day, I’m still up with my thoughts. Tonight was really a great gathering at Breakaway. I feel so honored to serve with such a gifted worship leader. We had a mellow acoustic night because of the rain and a leak around our sound system. Johnny is so great at nights like tonight. I was also so proud of one of our students who had not practiced with him, but got up to sing with him during the set. She has really discovered a great fit for her and her participation is another great blessing to the life of our community. After Breakaway was over, one of our staff asked me if everything was OK. I was surprised by the question because Breakaway had gone so well. When I asked her why she was wondering, she said, “you just seem so calm.” That was actually a nice compliment. Tonight was a night that I just felt so at peace being with our students.

To end our time of worship tonight, we celebrated Holy Communion. What an honor to share that gift with these students. I thank God that I feel so at home and connected to them. It has happened to fast. It has caught me by surprise. But I love my job. I love working with our staff. I love working with our students. They are a tremendous blessing to me. Words can’t express it.

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A great birthday…

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Tonight wraps up a great birthday. I took a day of vacation to be home with the family. it’s one of the perks of having a spring break birthday. Everybody’s home! We stayed home for the evening and Steph made me a great plate of low-fat spaghetti and cholesterol-free chocolate chip cookies. It was awesome. Here are some pics of something else I received today as well as a few pics of my daughter and one of my best friend’s daughter who was here to help celebrate.

Click here for the photos.

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Study Leave

Saturday, March 11th, 2006

I have just wrapped up a quick study leave for the spring. This one seemed a bit more rushed than the few days I was able to get away in January, but since I did not have a message to prepare for this week, it was a good time. These times are set aside for me to forecast future messages and are probably some of my most fruitful days of the year. I laid out the rest of the year for our High School ministry in a couple of days and I am really excited about what we will be doing. Here’s the highlights.


This summer we are going to continue to have our regular High School worship each Sunday night. I’ve never done this before, but I felt like this would be beneficial, especially for a large group of 8th graders coming up. I hope it helps them feel a connection with what we do. During the summer we are going to encourage our students to read the book, “Never the Same” which is a Youth Specialties book from their invert line. The subheading is, “Stories of those who encountered Jesus,” and each chapter is dedicated to a particular person’s interaction with Jesus in the Gospels. Throughout the summer, our staff will be sharing one of those texts in worship. We are also going to be doing a six week study just for Freshman called the Fish Bowl. That should be fun!

Sex in Six Weeks

We are kicking off the fall with, “Sex in six weeks.” This sure does make the fall easier for me as I have taught this series 3 times already. This will be my first time to share this at Mansfield. I look forward to their expressions of shock. “Did he really say that in church?” Here are the six messages.

What’s the big deal about sex anyway?

What’s the bible teach about sex?

How far is too far?

Why are guys so strange and girls so different?

Dating & Relating

How to put an end to the guilt trip


Our second series will be “WIRED: The way I was made.” During these four weeks we are going to look at how God has specifically designed us for relationship, community, growth and service. This is another standard series that I do periodically, but I am excited about playing with the “WIRED” theme. Here are those messages.

A relationship like no other

Crafted for community

Made for more

Designed with a purpose

Life Hurts, God Heals

Our last series will be one more that I have never felt confident enough to try before… which means I am really looking forward to it. Stealing a great title, we are going to call it, “Life Hurts, God Heals,” and I want to deal with several specific hurts that teenagers experience. We will start out with a softball, breaking up, before moving through parental relationships, coming to an appropriate understanding of our bodies (anorexia, bulimia, steroids, tanning, weight loss surgeries, appropriate clothing selection, etc… We are going to cover them all), and finally ending up with addiction. This will be a stretch for me, like the Nuts and Bolts series that we are about to start next week, but I am excited about it. The four message titles are…

How to heal a broken heart

Parents just don’t understand

The lies we hear from a piece of glass

What to do when you can’t let go

Bible Institute

The final thing we have put on the calendar which has been another long dream of mine is the Bible Institute. Although I don’t really like their curriculum, this will be based on the Saddleback model of having some extended class times where we try to educate our students about the history of the bible as well as equip them to more appropriately understand how to use their bibles. When it’s all said and done, I think this will be a 4-6 session training program, but in the fall we will just be teaching the first two. They will meet on Saturdays with the first session happening before noon and the second after lunch. They can do them both in one day or pick two Saturdays to attend. I am not sure how many of our students will attend, but I will at least be able to look Jesus in the eye in heaven and say, “we tried.” Our student’s lack of bible knowledge is scary.

Appreciate your prayers!

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This is crazy!

Friday, March 10th, 2006

I am reading The Sacred Way right now by Tony Jones. Next Sunday we are starting a four week series with our High School students called, “Nuts & Bolts: Holding faith together during the dry times.” This is another one of those things that I never would have had the guts to try at my previous church. I would have been too afraid that the kids would have balked at it, but there is something about my present community that makes me feel more comfortable with risks. It’s one of the things I love about our church. Anyways, what makes the series a little risky (at least in my opinion) is that we are going to be discussing several spiritual practices or disciplines that Christians have used for centuries to refresh them in their journey of faith. If you haven’t ready Tony Jones’ latest book, that is the meat of The Sacred Way. The titles for the four messages are “Receiving,” “Giving.” “Resting,” and “Breathing.” I am actually pretty excited about it.

But one of the things going into this that I felt pretty strongly about is that if I was going to talk about any of these spiritual disciplines, I needed to spend time doing them myself. So over the next 4-6 weeks, I will be giving several of them my best effort. The first one is pretty easy. We are going to focus on gathering as a community. I already do that one, so no problem there. The third week, we are focusing on the idea of Sabbath. I am going to make a real effort to set aside each Saturday over the next 4-5 weeks to be home with my family refraining from doing any work associated with the day job. The fourth week is focused on prayer. I am going to try praying the Jesus Prayer in the mornings as well as two of the daily offices throughout the day.

Preparing for the second message will be my most difficult task. We are going to talk about fasting that night. Yikes! I am going to be attempting a “normal fast” once a week during this (no food), but I decided to add one other thing that I thought would be even more difficult for me to maintain. I am going to fast from the internet through the rest of the lenten season. AHHHHHHH! In order for this to work, I have set up a few exceptions.

1. I am allowed to check my bank account information. This just seems responsible.

2. I am allowed to continue to communicate through email. Because of my job, it’s impossible to cut this out of my life for the next 30+ days.

3. I am allowed to update our High School website. Again, job related casualty.

4. I am allowed to post to my blog, but I will refrain from any other blog related tasks. No reading. As I have stated before, blogging is a part of my spiritual discipline, so cutting this out just seemed counter-productive.

5. I am allowed to use the internet for any school related tasks that cannot be accomplished any other way. For example, I have a message board that I have to visit for one of my classes.

Since I can’t think of any other exceptions, I guess that will have to do. I know it sound like I have set up so many loopholes that this seems like a piece of cake, but trust me, I waste hours surfing the internet for useless information. Just ask my wife. So there you go. Tony Jones has ruined my life. I have a feeling this series might move in the direction of, “hey kids, look at how much I suck at spiritual discipline!” We’ll see. To track my progress, I’ll still be here.


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I’m so excited…

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

My pants are falling off… for clarification, see here.

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I think I believe him…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

Most readers won’t be terribly interested in this, but here goes anyway. Mac Rumors is now reporting that Apple does not plan on putting a “TIVO-Killer” type application in any of their computers in the near future. Apple’s Phil Shiller says,

“We’re not trying to replace the TiVo. This is about taking the media from your computer and accessing it via the TV.”

Given Apple’s continual emphasis on direct delivery of digital content through ITunes, this actually makes some sense to me. Why would Apple want to build a DVR into their unit to record Lost when they are selling it online through ITunes. On the other hand if streaming digital content is the only thing they are interested in doing, why can’t you just use your IPOD? Get yourself one of the new media docks for the video IPOD and you are ready to go. Although this latest media event didn’t yield much excitement (why are they building stereo systems?), I still believe that Apple has a huge announcement coming…

Not the Intel Macbook…

or even this wierd video IPOD with touch screen…

I think we are about to see full movie downloads available on ITunes. Watch out Netflix!

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A picture share…

Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

This has taken me a few days to get up. Here is Anna getting ready for Sesame Street Live!


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What’s going on with David?

Wednesday, March 1st, 2006

I have just arrived for my first of three classes on this beautiful Wednesday morning. I am taking three courses this semester… all on the same day… all 2.5 hours long… It makes for a long Wednesday. Fortunately, Brite has wireless internet throughout the building which you would think would absolutely ruin my theological education. But for some reason, it hasn’t. I keep getting rewarded for not listening.

Posts have been sporadic here at the Bucket as of late for several reasons.

1. I’m really not reading anything interesting. None of my classes this semester are that exciting (but required) and the amount of reading they expect is crowding out anything interesting. I did just start Tony Jones’ latest book, Sacred Way, so maybe that will inspire me. I am reading this for the next series I am doing with our High School students that focuses on spiritual disciplines. It should be an interesting read and series.

2. I sold my laptop, (although i am borrowing it from the buyer today) and my new MacBook Pro isn’t shipping for a few more weeks. At the same time, I had a random offer to buy my Mac mini which I have at home and took up that offer as well… which leaves me with no computers… Luckily, my new IMac will be here today which should give me some grounding until the MacBook arrives. I am excited about these new machines, but have felt very disorganized during the transition. Man should not live by jump drive alone.

Hopefully, things will begin to settle in the next few weeks. I am taking a study leave next week, and we have a staff retreat the following week to plan the rest of the year. Planning does my mind good.

Update: You should always check over your posts… You would hate to spell book, b-o-o-b.

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