Snowboarding trip with Clayton  

Posted by DonnieSmith

video

Clayton and I went to Wolf Creek to snowboard. We spent 41 hours in the car and got two days on the mountain. We got caught in two snow storms and spent more than 6 hours of our trip going 25-35mph. It was crazy but I loved every second of it. This was a trip that we will both remember for the rest of our lives. Clayton loves to snowboard and I wanted to take a special trip to teach him what the bible says about girls. Now, we didn't have the birds and the bee's talk (he is only 6)but I did teach him what the bible says about respecting, honoring, being kind and praying for girls. It was an amazing trip and I praise God for the gift of being Clayton's dad.

4 things passed on  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I love my Church, I have an amazing family and the best friends a man could have. If that was not enough-----God seems to keep pouring His grace on me. The past few months have been very challenging but somehow I seem to keep finding peace and joy that I can’t explain. I have been sick for the past few days and I have had more time to myself this week than I have had in the past year. I was able to look back at the past year of my life and see so much of me has changed. I think it has all been good change but only time will tell. What hit me this week was a harsh reality… I need to create more time for me. This feels selfish to say but it is the truth. One of my best friends wrote me a letter just before I moved here a year ago. I read it this week at the perfect time.
This is part of what he wrote.
“Paul told Timothy, “Pay close attention to yourself" (I Timothy 4:16a). Growth is not automatic; it does not necessarily come with experience, nor simply as a result of gathering information. What we want to see is transformation. The word “transformed” in Romans 12:1-2 is metamorphoo in the Greek. We learned the word in grade school. Metamorphosis. A caterpillar “morphs” into a butterfly. That’s what God intends for you. You will change, you will morph, you will grow! Staying the same isn’t an option. You are walking into the biggest challenge you might ever face. I know you will do a great job. I want to pass this wisdom onto you. I want you to avoid the pain I have experienced over the years. You are a gifted man of God. People listen to you and love you because you are real and God’s hand is on you. Stay bold, burn brightly, but don't burn out. Know these four things well and recite them often.
I am not invincible. I can get sick and grow weary and sin. Therefore, I must be careful.
I am not immortal. I am going to die. Therefore, I must be responsible.
I am not indispensable. The Kingdom keeps going without me. Therefore, I must be humble.
I am not an island. I need friends around me. Therefore, I must be accountable."

I miss Papa Bear's wisdom already.

The valley  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Yesterday my dad called and my sister’s time on earth is coming to an end. I am at a loss for words and my emotional swings have not been healthy. My sister loves to talk, laugh and has the worst eating habits of any human alive. Over the past few months I have replayed our childhood several times over in my mind. We had a great life growing up. She has been an awesome big sister. I watch Kylie and Clayton and see the two of us growing up in them all over again. We played and fought like champions. My mom once told me that my sister was her favorite---(I don’t think she was kidding). My mom went to be with the Lord almost two years ago and while I have learned to bury the emotions of her not being here, it still hurts and I miss her so much. I am positive that my mom could not handle this. My sister has lived in the valley for a long time. Although she has lived in the valley she could always laugh. While my sister was in the valley I have been on the mountain top. This has been one of the best years of my life. I have a joy that is deep in my bones. But from my mountain top view I am experiencing a heart break. I hurt and I can literally feel another part of me is dying.

I read John 11 tonight over and over, the story about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. I am not asking for a miracle; I will take one but truthfully I just needed a reminder that Jesus has power over all things including death. As I read through John 11, what I walked away with was that death is unavoidable even for the most faithful follower of Jesus. Think about it-- After Jesus raised Lazarus at this time in John 11, it’s pretty safe to say that likely a few years later Lazarus died again. So, this miracle - this gift - from Jesus to Lazarus didn't shield Lazarus from further death. We live in a fallen world. Jesus actually tells us that pain and death are coming.
We see in Psalm 23:4 "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for You are with me"
Notice that the verse doesn't say “if” I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but “even though.” We have to go through the valley. We don’t go around it. We don’t go over it. We don’t go beside it. We go through it.

So, tonight I start my walk down the mountain side into the valley. I will walk through the valley over the next few weeks. As I walk down the mountain side and through the valley I will soon start the climb back to the top. My entire journey I am committed to celebrating my King. I will mourn but my eyes are fixed on Jesus. He is my reward! I will continue to praise Him ---He is the only One who could rightly say, "I am the resurrection and the life." Pray for my family

Fulfilled: to convert into reality  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Old Testament Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus

Fulfilled Prophecy - Hebrew Scripture - New Testament fulfillment

His pre-existence - Micah 5:2 - John 1:1, 14
Born of the seed of a woman - Genesis 3:15 - Matthew 1:18
Of the seed of Abraham - Genesis 12:3 - Matthew 1:1-16
All nations blessed by Abraham's seed - Genesis 12:3 - Matthew 8:5, 10
God would provide Himself a Lamb as an offering - Genesis 22:8 - John 1:29
From the tribe of Judah - Genesis 49:10 - Matthew 1:1-3
Heir to the throne of David - Isaiah 9:6-7 - Matthew 1:1
Called "The mighty God, The everlasting Father" - Isaiah 9:6 - Matthew 1:23
Born in Bethlehem - Micah 5:2 - Matthew 2:1
Born of a virgin - Isaiah 7:14 - Matthew 1:18
His name called Immanuel, "God with us" - Isaiah 7:14 - Matthew 1:23
Declared to be the Son of God - Psalm 2:7 - Matthew 3:17
His messenger before Him in spirit of Elijah - Malachi 4:5-6 - Luke 1:17
Preceded by a messenger to prepare His way - Malachi 3:1 - Matthew 11:7-11
Messenger crying "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" - Isaiah 40:3 - Matthew 3:3
Would be a Prophet of the children of Israel - Deuteronomy 18:15 - Matthew 2:15
Called out of Egypt - Hosea 11:1 - Matthew 2:15
Slaughter of the children - Jeremiah 31:15 - Matthew2:18
Would be a Nazarene - Judges 13:5 - Matthew 2:23
Brought light to Zabulon & Nephthalm, Galilee of the Gentiles - Isaiah 9:1-2 - Matthew 4:15
Presented with gifts - Psalm 72:10 - Matthew 2:1, 11
Rejected by His own - Isaiah 53:3 - Matthew 21:42
Rejected by the builders but became the headstone - Psalm 118:22-23 - I Peter 2:7
A stone of stumbling to Israel - Isaiah 8:14-15 - I Peter 2:8
Entered Jerusalem as a king riding on a donkey - Zechariah 9:9 - Matthew 21:5
Betrayed by a friend - Psalms 41:9 - John 13:21
Sold for 30 pieces of silver - Zechariah 11:12 - Matthew 26:15
30 pieces of silver given for the potter's field - Zechariah 11:12 - Matthew 27:9-10
30 pieces of silver thrown in the temple - Zechariah 11:13 - Matthew 27:5
Forsaken by His disciples - Zechariah 13:7 - Matthew 26:56
Accused by false witnesses - Psalm 35:11 - Matthew 26:60
Silent to accusations - Isaiah 53:7 - Matthew 27:14
Heal blind/deaf/lame/dumb - Isaiah 35:5-6 - Matthew 11:5
Preached to the poor/brokenhearted/captives Isaiah 61:1 Matthew 11:5
Came to bring a sword, not peace - Micah 7:6 - Matthew 10:34-35
He bore our sickness - Isaiah 53:4 - Matthew 8:16-17
Spat upon, smitten and scourged - Isaiah 50:6 - Matthew 27:26, 30
Smitten on the cheek - Micah 5:1 - Matthew 27:30
Hated without a cause - Psalm 35:19 - Matthew 27:23
The sacrificial lamb - Isaiah 53:5 - John 1:29
Given for a covenant - Isaiah 42:6 - Romans 11:27
Would not strive or cry - Isaiah 42:2-3 - Mark 7:36
People would hear not and see not - Isaiah 6:9-10 - Matthew 13:14-15
People trust in traditions of men - Isaiah 29:13 - Matthew 15:9
People give God lip service - Isaiah 29:13 - Matthew 15:8
God delights in Him - Isaiah 42:1 - Matthew 3:17, 17:5
Wounded for our sins - Isaiah 53:5 - John 6:51
He bore the sins of many - Isaiah 53:10-12 - Mark 10:45
Messiah not killed for Himself - Daniel 9:26 - Matthew 20:28
Gentiles flock to Him - Isaiah 55:5 - Matthew 8:10
Crucified with criminals - Isaiah 53:12 - Matthew 27:35
His body was pierced - Zechariah 12:10 - John 20:25, 27
Thirsty during execution - Psalm 22:16 - John 19:28
Given vinegar and gall for thirst - Psalm 69:21 - Matthew 27:34
Soldiers gambled for his garment - Psalm 22:18 - Matthew 27:35
People mocked, "He trusted in God, let Him deliver him!" - Psalm 22:7-8 - Matthew 27:43
People sat there looking at Him - Psalm 22:17 - Matthew 27:36
Cried, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me?" - Psalm 22:1 - Matthew 27:46
Darkness over the land - Amos 8:9 - Matthew 27:45
No bones broken - Psalm 34:20 - John 19:33-36
Side pierced - Zechariah 12:10 - John 19:34
Buried with the rich - Isaiah 53:9 - Matthew 27:57, 60
Resurrected from the dead - Psalm 16:10-11 - Mark 16:6
Priest after the order of Melchizedek - Psalm 110:4 - Hebrews 5:5-6
Ascended to right hand of God - Psalm 68:18 - Luke 24:51
LORD said unto Him, "Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool - Psalm 110:1 - Matt 22:44
His coming glory - Malachi 3:2-3 - Luke 3:17

Take a Step  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Christmas is about Jesus "stepping down." Jesus stepped down to create a revolution. God wasn’t happy with the world. Too many proud people needed to be scattered. Too many lowly people needed to be lifted. Too many hungry people needed to be filled. So, God sent His Son.

Jesus "stepped down" to die on a cross and forgive our sins. He came to heal the hurting and to help the poor. Jesus was a revolutionary for justice. He has called His followers to do the same.

We must "step up" to serve the needy among us. We have influence and affluence. Will we step down to lift somebody up? The scriptures are clear on our responsibility.

Give generously to [the poor] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:10-11

He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
Proverbs 28:27

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
Isaiah 58:10-11

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I John 3:16-19


I want to stand before God one day and say I spent it all for you! I took the responsibility seriously. I stepped up because you stepped down. I am so blessed to be part of a church that is challenging people to step up.

Rethink thankfulness  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Our current series is called rethink thankfulness. Here is this weeks journal info that didn't make the cut.

Thankfulness is an internal emotion created by an external force. Jesus taught us to live with a different approach. What if our thankfulness was an external response to an internal force? What would our lives look like?

One of the most challenging things about being a pastor is that I have all too often been up close and personal to witness the unevenness and lopsidedness of God’s miraculous activities.

This person misplaces his keys and prays to find them. Viola! There they are on the kitchen counter where he’s already looked twice!

That person can’t get pregnant and no amount of prayer opens her womb.

This person’s child has a fever. Her small group prays. The child recovers. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

That person is diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and dies a slow, miserable, painful, gut-wrenching death. His church wonders if their prayer vigil did any good at all.

This family sells their house two days after listing it…for $10,000 more than they asked. Then, they turn around and find their dream home listed for $20,000 less than they were willing to pay. He gets a promotion, and now they can afford to put the kids in private school.

That family loses their house because he was let go at work six months ago. Now they have to move in with her parents, halfway across the country. He’s starting to wonder if he’ll ever find a job.

One time there was a guy named John. He was a prophet. He was also Jesus’ cousin. And he’d seen some incredible things, heard some far-fetched stories, learned things, discerned things, revealed things. He was a good theologian and a trustworthy servant of God. And his service to God earned him a spot in Herod’s dungeon. It’s no wonder that his faith in his cousin began to waver, is it? Jesus knew what was happening, knew all about John’s situation. He wouldn’t leave John in there, would he? Jesus would show up and save the day, right? But Jesus never shows up. He’s preaching in some Podunk place or other, telling hillbillies about the Kingdom of God. John sends some of his friends to talk to Jesus, to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus’ response is interesting, but it’s cold comfort. He says, “If you want some proof, how about these miracles I’m doing? People are being healed and helped. Amazing things happen everywhere I go.” And then he adds, somewhat enigmatically, “Blessed is the man who doesn’t fall away because of me.”

Taken by itself, the statement doesn’t make sense. Why would anyone fall away on account of someone doing miraculous things?

Well…if you’re the one sitting in prison, you’re the one Jesus said was the greatest prophet of all times, you’re the one who helped pave the way for Jesus’ whole enterprise, and not one miracle is coming your way…. “Blessed is the man who doesn’t fall away because of me,” he says. “You know…me…the one who does all this great stuff for seemingly everyone else but who sometimes leaves you to rot in prison.”

Sometimes, thankfulness is hard.

Date night  

Posted by DonnieSmith

It is hard to believe...but she is just as beautiful on the inside!
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Here is my silence  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I am finishing a series called Unmasking Godly Character this Sunday. I have spent four weeks talking about Godly Character and have not touched some of my deepest thoughts. Here are some thoughts from my journal over the past two weeks. It is weird to hold back information but I couldn't teach what was spinning in my head through this series. I wanted to deal with the Character of God in regards to salvation. But, God’s character is multifaceted. So, in a nut shell----here is my silence.

The Bible and Christianity begins with God. In fact, some writers have suggested that the real meat of the Bible is just the first four words; everything after that is merely commentary.

The goal of the Bible is not to get you to live a different life; (or to teach you how to have better relationships) the goal of the Bible is to reveal the character and nature of God — by understanding or at least seeing God’s character and nature, we are inspired and drawn into a different kind of life. When I study, I practice a theocentric hermeneutic. That’s a fancy way of saying that, when I read the Bible, my first thought isn’t how should I apply this verse to my life but rather what does this verse teach me about God. After I have this answer I am in a position to apply the verse to my life by asking one simple question: How can I be more like him? In this series, I could not preach what I practice when dealing with my deepest thoughts.

Here was my problem. You can’t swing a stick in the Bible without hitting a verse that talks about how holy God is. It’s everywhere. In fact, some verses don’t just say, “God is holy,” they say, “God is holy, holy, holy.”

Now, when you begin trying to apply that verse to your life, you’re headed for some serious frustration — because we’re not holy. We are not able to understand what "Holy" even is----and outside of the very presence of God it is not within reach for us. From my little understanding---God’s holiness means he can’t have anything to do with impurity. It’s not that God is religiously fussy or uptight — like he gets uncomfortable and has to leave the room when something sinful happens. It’s that God and sin are mutually exclusive — like light and dark. Where one exists, the other is absent.

God can’t have anything to do with impurity on account of his holiness. But we’re shot through with impurities — impure actions, thoughts, motives, you name it. So, you can see how this might be a problem, right?

Now, here’s where I think we often get off track in explaining what Christianity is and what Christians believe.

We understand that God is holy, but he’s not only holy. He’s other things, too. The characteristics of God we choose to focus on after his holiness lead us to present this need for salvation in a particular way.

For example, if we move from God’s holiness to God’s wrath (because God is holy, he gets angry at impurities), well, we’re likely to say that salvation is being spared from God’s wrath which will be poured upon people in hell.

If, however, we move from God’s holiness to God’s love (because God is holy, he longs to love us but cannot because we’ve separated ourselves from him), well, we’re likely to say that salvation is being saved from that separation, bringing us into a relationship where God can lavish his love upon us.

If we move from God’s holiness to God’s power, we’re likely to say that salvation is being saved from our own helplessness and empowered to live with a whole new operating system.

You can see how this has implications. God’s character is multifaceted. The characteristics we choose to focus on most will determine the way we present the need for salvation and its implications.

Question: Why do so many focus on his wrath but not his mercy? On the other hand, why do some folks tend to soft-sell his wrath? Which characteristic do you think should follow holiness?

You are  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I had a great night with kylie. She is growing up so fast. Sushi and my baby girl---hard to beat. She talks a lot...not that I don't but once she get's going...wow. In the midst of our conversation tonight I saw my mom and my wife in kylies eyes, smile, stories and her laugh. Tonight I spent time praying for Kylie---that she will continue to walk after God. I prayed for God to nurture her loving spirit and to keep her heart and mind pure. I asked God to teach Kylie how to respond to the Holy Spirit. Will you stand in the gap with me and stop right now... and pray for Kylie. Ask God to continue to protect and shape her life into a Godly women that He will use. Kylie told me tonight that she wants to be just like Kristina. I asked Kylie to describe Kristina to me. She said "she is beautiful, creative, good cook (amen), smart, nice, loves God". I looked into her eyes--deep into her eyes and said "so, you want to be just like your mom?" Kylie said "ya, I do." and I said "you are". With a smile from ear to ear I took this picture to capture the moment.

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Man vs Beast  

Posted by DonnieSmith

The battle is over and I won! This is a great statement and like most of Jesus' teachings there is a double meaning. The battle I will present was between me and the possum. Since we have moved to Austin, our cat food has been going fast. I knew that we had a critter and I caught the little guy in the act of eating out of our cat's dish on the back porch. I have shot it with a bb gun, hit it with a broom stick but the possum kept coming around. Well, I ended his feast by catching him in a trap cage. I loaded him up and took him out into the country to release him. I open the door to the cage and the possum just sat there. As the kids cheered the rat on to victory---they wanted to keep it---I wanted it out of my sight. Since I had to bring the cage home, I got a stick to push the thing out of the cage. It took a bit of a fight but once I got him out, he ran like Forest Gump. The kids starting crying like I had just released their pet. I picked up the cage got both of my crying kids into the car and we started driving home. The kids were sad to be leaving the animal behind. I was pumped, proud and excited about my personal victory. It was kind of like man vs beast to me. The truth is I have several things crossing my mind about this near death experience.....but I will leave you with one thought. We all face a beast---I caught mine then released it. Once you catch your beast turn it loose. It feels great to say "the battle is over and I won". Phillipians 4:13

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Sea World  

Posted by DonnieSmith

....Sea World is now just a day trip for us. One more reason to love Austin, TX!!!





The end goal  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Played golf with a friend on monday. We had a great time and truthfully he is one of my favorite people in the world. He is passionate about life and loves God. We were on the 18th tee box and the wind was blowing from left to right really hard. There was water down the right side of the fairway. My only thought was "don't go right". The shot was a disaster and it didn't go right... it went way right. From the tee box, I was positive I went into the water. As we approached the water I saw a my ball hanging on the edge of disaster. I was worried that the wind was going to blow my perfectly placed ball into the deep blue sea. My first thought was----hit it fast. My second thought was---- I am glad I am right handed. My third thought was----take a picture because there is a lesson in this. I would have never put myself this close to the edge of disaster on purpose. In fact, I was about 50 yards right of where I wanted to be. As I stood over my ball and thought "I am 50 yards from where I want to be".....I smiled. I smiled because really, I was 138 yards from the hole. I was thinking about the moment and not the goal. When I stood on the tee box my goal was not to end up in the middle of the fairway. My goal was to be in the hole on the 18th green. We get so focused on where we are that we forget the end goal.

As a christian "or in my case a church leader" this is important information to have. The spot you are in today is leading you somewhere. It might feel like a disaster but perhaps God is refining you. Once you see the bigger picture you will understand how hanging on the edge of disaster has defined who you are. It could remind you of the end goal or it might show you who you really are. As the church we have an end goal. It is to make disciples of all nations. It is crazy to me how churches forget the end goal. When churches hit hard times--stand on the edge of disaster--- the first thing they do is stop giving with a global heart. They cut off the funds that are reaching outside their walls. They think they can avoid disaster by saving money. Not only is this faithless but it is also mission"less". The end goal is not to pay your bills----it is to expand the kingdom of God. If you have reached the point of cutting off a missional focus....you have lost focus and missed the target and I would bet the blessings of God are far from you. You can't spend your way out of debt and you can't stop being missional and be a church. If you want to be a country club drop your non- profit status and open a golf course. You always have a choice to make.....keep the end goal in mind; If you don't, you will loose.

---- Napoleon once said, "it is a maxim in the military art that the army which remains in its entrenchment is beaten." The non-missionary Church sins against its own best interest and is inviting defeat. A stay-at-home Christianity is not real Christianity at all. The guaranty of Christ's abiding presence is consecration to the world's evangelization. The "Lo, I am with you always," is conditioned upon, "Go ye, and disciple all nations." The Church which disobeys this command insults Christ and cannot survive.             - J. Ross Stevenson, 1902

I had two choices for a missionless church picture. One was hard to see because the brown clumps had settled into the dark green grass. The other is posted!

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Clayton lost a tooth  

Posted by DonnieSmith

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We have ice  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Let me start by speaking clear. I have loved everything about life. I have lived a great life thus far. But, my new friends are awesome. My church family is amazing. This is by far the best church I have ever served with. God is blessing everything we do beyond belief. Not to mention that I am pretty sure--- Austin might be the coolest place on earth to live. To top off all my joy......we have ice here!!!
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Website coming  

Posted by DonnieSmith

The church website is getting close. It should be up within the next week or so. Here is a sneak peek.
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Kylie's visit  

Posted by DonnieSmith

We took Kylie to see her new kitty. She can not bring her home for a few days but we get to go visit the kitty everyday until she is ready to come home with us. I will take kylie several times to visit her kitty to keep her happy. She has had a rough ride over the past week. Her sugar glider "sugar" escaped one night last week from her cage. We spent a week looking and now all hope is lost. The worst part of sugar leaving is.....our cat "cat" has been gone for two weeks. Kristina and I were going to tell her Cat was gone but the stinkin squirrel had to run away. So, rather than telling her the cat and squirrel are both gone; we opted to just get another kitty and hope she never notices that our old cat "cat" the cat we have had for the past 8 years is gone. What do you think----good idea? We shall see.

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Round with clayton  

Posted by DonnieSmith

On the course with Clayton.
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Pluckers with a pro  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I am mobile now. Trying out my new mobile skills....I thought the best place to start would be at pluckers. Pluckers have the best wings in Austin. I went with a couple of friends. Jim (the tool man....he can fix anything) and james (the gentle giant). Two guys that I am honored to know and wing stop worth making....
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March was.....  

Posted by DonnieSmith

OK, March was amazing. In the middle of our move we went to Colorado and had a blast. It was bad timing---it was a long trip--- but it, like the entire month was amazing. We have some great video of the kids on the mountain but this is the only clip I can get to upload. I will post some pics of the new church, new friends, new house and catch up on the past month as we roll into the next week or so. Life is good and my God is great!


video

Clayton "Card" Boarding  

Posted by DonnieSmith


Clayton "Card" Boarding from Rayden Hollis on Vimeo.

Dad  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Dad, this is the video I was talking about on the phone last night. I hope this makes you smile.

This is how I feel  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Both of my parents rubbed off on me---in one way or another. I see them in my life every so often. My mom was a creature of habit (borderline OCD). My dad is an organizer and wants things done in an orderly manner. Wait, it is not that he wants it done in an orderly manner it is that....it is always done in an orderly manner. Between the two of them I never had a chance to make a real mess. Once I got married Kristina took over and is now the keeper of my sanity. She is amazing and like my parents she brings stability and structure to my life. So, my life is and has always been very structured. When things are not orderly..I feel very out of control.
We are in the heat of our move and my office is torn apart. My house— ugh--is not my house. There are boxes, piles and piles of boxes everywhere. It looks like a box bomb went off. There is nothing structured about my world right now. So, to give you a visual of what I feel like check out the full video…….

My Valentine  

Posted by DonnieSmith


I have been excited all week about our date for tonight. Kylie and I had a great time...She is growing up fast!

Pray  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I am doing a personal study out of the book of Zechariah. I hit a passage that opened a great reminder for me. In fact the passage made me go back and study what Jesus taught on prayer. Here is a summary and the passage that got my wheels turning.
John's Gospel includes 3 key passages on prayer—all three from the words of Jesus in chapters 14 through 16.
First, in 14:13-14, Jesus teaches that prayer is for the glory of His Father. God gives whatever we ask—provided it accords with the pursuit of his glory.
Second, in 15:7-16, Jesus teaches that prayer is for our fruit-bearing. Prayer is a wartime walkie-talkie for advancing God's global mission, not a domestic intercom for calling in personal comforts.
Third, in 16:23-24, Jesus teaches that prayer is for our joy being full. God wants us to be happy, and he means to do it through our prayers.
Yes, prayer can seem like a duty at times—the way eating and drinking and breathing are duties. But prayer also is a means of grace and a great gift from God.

Zechariah 13:8-9 was the passage that got my wheels turning: God can put His people through the fires of suffering to awaken their appetite for prayer. With or without suffering, Let us be a people of prayer and let's turn to God in prayer.

I am in a deep season of prayer right now. I hope that you will stop what you are doing right now and pray with me. Pray for Kristina and the kids as we transition. Pray for my Forest Hill family. Pray for my new church. Pray that you will touch someones life today.

Smile  

Posted by DonnieSmith

My world is spinning faster than it should be. I have so much going on right now both internally and externally that Kristina and I have hit the point of just laughing. We are both creatures of habit. Every night we settle in and talk through what we have to do the next day. She always has a list handy and I just make stuff up on the fly. It works for us! In the midst of complete chaos I am glad that we can both laugh.
What makes you laugh? I mean what brings you joy. I could get real deep here but here is a short list of things that made me smile today….Kylie waking me up, Clayton greeting me at my car when I got home! Kissing Kristina…Talking to my dad---he always make me smile, Rayden---because he is Rayden. Hearing that a friend is having a baby girl. Clayton asking to listen to Chris Rigney on his Mp3 before bed. My study in 2 Kings 9…funny to think about Jehu having something poured on his head and then the guy just running away….seeing Bob, Danny and Joe all in the same room made me laugh inside…for reasons that I will keep to myself. Thinking about my new church family and what is to come. But ultimately I smiled today because I can. So, what makes you smile?

Great night  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I had a great night. I took my kids to see a friend of mine in concert tonight. In the midst of everything that I have going on, it was nice to just jump in the car and go enjoy life.

About eighteen years ago I met a couple of guys that were in a Christian band. I had never heard of them but they seemed pretty cool. They were in Tulsa, OK shooting a music video. They invited me to come to a show they were doing--they said they were opening for Michael W. Smith. I had only been a Christian for a couple of years and I didn’t know who Michael W. Smith was. But, I went and thought the guys we pretty good. Over the next few years we kept in close contact and when they would come through town I would hook up with them. I watched these guys that I thought were “pretty good” become Christian music icons. About ten years ago I was in Dallas and I went to dinner with my friends and they told me that they were all going to start solo careers. They shared some of their personal struggles they were having and even though they were at the top of the food chain in the Christian music industry they felt it was time. So DC Talk parted ways. Over the past few years I have had limited contact with the guys but when they come through town we get together. Tonight we went to see Toby (AKA Toby mac). Clayton loves Toby and he thought it was very cool to get to hang out with him and just a few minutes later slide into our seats and watch him. He kept saying----we know him! As I sat back and watched the show tonight I could not help but to be proud of Toby. I am proud of who he is, not what he does. He is a Godly man that wants to see people come to know Jesus. He is incredibly successful but knows that without God, his life would be empty. I like being around people that know this truth. It was a great night with the family and good to catch up with an old friend.

Time  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Time moves fast. I have heard people say for a long time "the older you get the faster time seems to move." But you know, time is time. It moves at the same pace today that it has always moved. Days are not getting shorter, hours are not getting shorter, a second is still a second. I think the reason time feels like it is moving faster as we get older is because the longer we live, the more we want to hold on to. The older I get, every day that passes I find a deeper desire to rewind time. If I could just rewind the clock one year to this day....I would be in Tulsa holding my mom. I simply want one more hug. I want to hear her laugh one more time. I want to stand by her in the kitchen and eat off the stove. I want to see her face when Kylie and Clayton run up to the door. I want to look back in the rear view mirror and see her chasing the car. I want to hold her hand. I want to hear her voice. I want to say I love you one more time. As it is, I will have to wait. As it is, I will have to endure the fact that there is a time for everything. The time that I live in now is set, understanding that there is a time for everything I revere a Holy and Righteous God.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14
1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

3 things I noticed  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Great Super Bowl this year. I enjoy the hype of all the big games, I enjoy the media coverage. I am still up watching highlights of a game that I just watched. Like I said, I like the media coverage. Three things I noticed this year about the big games. The BCS championship and the Super Bowl. 1.) My teams lost in both! 2.) I can't let my kids watch the commercials. Kind of crazy but... here was my favorite from the Super Bowl... Please watch it twice...I laugh harder every time I watch it.

3.) The faith of some key players captured headlines. Some sportswriters struggle with the faith-based language that many players deploy during these kinds of events. However, Rick Maese of the Baltimore Sun offered an interesting column the other day in which he working his way through his feelings about this issue, and Kurt Warner in particular.... concluded that he has seen worse things happen in sports. Read it all, but here’s a crucial passage:

----- You’ll have to forgive sportswriters a tad. Most have seen too many athletes espouse their spiritual side yet indulge their criminal. When an athlete mentions God, eyes roll and tape recorders shut off. When thanking Jesus is considered cliche, you know we have problems.

I was engrossed, though. I’m not sure whether it was the message or the messenger, but as I age and as the world around me becomes increasingly unreliable and unpredictable, it’s refreshing to see someone who has every reason to get caught up in a peripheral storm of money, ego, celebrity and excess remain so grounded.

“My faith helps me with everything,” Warner says. “The biggest thing about my faith is it helps keep everything in perspective. You understand the highs and lows. You understand what’s going on sometimes with the highs and lows when other people don’t see them.”

I’m no trend spotter, and there’s no way to quantify this, but from David Tyree to Tony Dungy to Tim Tebow, it seems as if faith has been enjoying an increasingly prominent role in football in America. If it really helps control temperament, I dare say God might be the best performance enhancer you can use legally.-------

The article was great and I hope these guys hold on to the testimonies they are building!

Dear Rayden  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Rayden,
Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for walking with me. Thank you for loving me the way that you do! I am going to miss praying with you “in person”. I will miss our brain storming sessions. I will miss our sushi runs. I will miss your wit and never ending line of jokes. I will long to hear your encouragement. I will miss the sound of your laugh. I will miss that look you give…(that mix between wanting to laugh at me while holding back your commentary)… when I miss a three foot putt. I will miss hearing you teach. I am going to miss you.
You are a gifted man of God. You understand what it means to honor the people around you. You know what it means to serve the people around you. You are a pastor! I have heard you say that you would follow me to the ends of the earth. I would do the same for you. I would walk as far and as hard as you needed me to. One of the things that I have always admired about you is your willingness to “put others first”. Keep that spirit. It our job as pastors to lead the charge but it is never about us. We carry all the responsibility but need to stand in the back of the line. You do this well! Never take a front row parking spot. Never desire to have your name on the sign out front. Never close your door to the people of the church and always listen before you speak. Never neglect His word. If I had one wish for you it would be that you would live out our staff devotion we had today. ---- Seek His wisdom in all things. I feel so blessed to know you. I am going to miss you and I will continue to pray for you daily. You have a big challenge coming your way. You are going to do a great job. I believe in you!
I will forever cherish our friendship.

Empty day  

Posted by DonnieSmith


My day was empty….There are two parts to my feeling empty. The first part is that today I stood in front of a group of people that I love. It’s not just that I love them but they love me and my family. The past four years I have loved my church and served the people with their needs in mind. I have emptied myself in so many ways that today….as I stood before my church to tell them that I was going to serve God in another location, I literally felt empty. I know God has been preparing me for the next season of life for a long time. He has been preparing my heart and I guess in some ways purging my heart as well. Anyway, I got up this morning and in my prayer time I was overwhelmed with the thought that my time at Forest Hill is over. I had not really dealt with this part of the transition yet. I had not really let the reality of my time here coming to an end set in. I started my day with this question. “What does it mean to have something come to an end?” Well, for me-- I only have one clear reference point to this question right now. My current and perhaps very unhealthy reference point to something “coming to an end” is losing my mom. After a full life with her, all I have right now are memories. They are good memories but when I sit still and let them run through my mind they still hurt. So, when I think of something coming to an end ---it means that all I have left are memories. No matter how good the memories might be I feel empty when I think about the last four years of my life being summed up as a memory. The second part to my day being empty is the guilt I feel for my excitement for what God has in store. I feel somewhat guilty at how ready I am to be in Austin. I look out and see tears from people I am leaving and at one point I asked myself “what is wrong with you?” I should not feel the deep joy I feel…should I??? I mean it bothers me to know that my new church family met today and I was not among them. My day was empty because I was not at my church, I was not home. I am looking forward to my new coffee pot/popsicle meetings. I am ready to pray with, worship with, lead with, reach people with, grow with and dream with my new church. Although my day was empty----The Long Horn’s logo I got as an email today made me smile!

Weird email  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I got a weird email today from a stranger. They said they "love to hear me preach". But they thought my sermon Sunday at Church was out of line. I was confused by the email because although I preached last Sunday, it was not here. So, as confused as I was I still felt the need to respond. Their question was based on something I said Sunday but---I was not here to say it. Anyway, their overall statement to me was "why are you so narrow minded to think Jesus is the only way". Even though I was not here to say that. I am narrow minded I guess, because I wish I had been here to say it. Here was the heart of my response.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

One of the criticisms leveled against Christians is that this belief is so exclusive. People say, “You telling me that you believe that Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists can’t be saved? That’s just too narrow and too exclusive for me to believe.” You are not the first person to say to me, “That’s just narrow-minded. It’s arrogant. Only religious bigots believe that Jesus is the only way.”
I say, "You know, you’re argument isn’t really with me. You’re argument is really with Jesus. He’s the One who said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.'” Is that narrow? Yes. But don't we want the pilot of a plane we're on to be narrow-minded? We want him to land it right side up. We want him to land it on the runway, not the freeway. It’s true that the claims of Christ are exclusive. But exclusivity is just part of it. Jesus came for everybody. Jew. Gentile. Muslim. Hindu. All the nations.

Jesus is the inclusive/exclusive truth. Think about these “I am” statements. They’re inclusive as well as exclusive.
I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.
John 6:35
“Whoever” means Jews, too. Jews can come to Him.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.
John 8:12
“Whoever” includes Arabs. Muslims can follow Him.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved.
John 10:9
“Anyone” means Buddhists, too. Buddhists can enter by Him.

I am the good shepherd... And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
John 10:14, 16
“Other sheep” includes all non-Jews. Hindus can become part of His flock.

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.
John 11:25
Whoever means atheists and agnostics. They are invited to believe in Him.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.
John 15:5

Yes, this is exclusive truth. But “whoever will” may come. It’s inclusive, too. This is why we set our focus on reaching all people for Christ.

Monster Truck Jam  

Posted by DonnieSmith



Inspired by John  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Most of you know that I journal everything...Over the past several months I have had to keep a lot of my thoughts to myself. I am surrounded by people, phone calls, emails and meetings but feel very alone. I am not depressed nor do I feel unloved....It is just that with everything I am processing, my mind is busy but my words are few. My heart is full and this is my prayer.
Father, I praise You as the living Vine in heaven. And I thank You that You have made me a living branch on earth. I confess how little I have understood how great my need is for You. And I confess how little I understand that You desire to bear fruit through me to bless the world with Your love. I offer myself as an empty branch to You. Apart from You, I am lifeless, hopeless, and helpless. I ask that You fill me with Your fullness, Your life, Your love. Guide me into an ever-increasing communion with You. Lord, I cry out with my whole being, Yes, Jesus is the True Vine to me, bearing me, nourishing me, supplying me, using me, and filling me to the full to make me bring forth fruit abundantly. And, yes, I am a branch to Jesus, abiding in Him, resting on Him, waiting for Him, and living in Him. I ask for Your strength for my weakness; Your riches for my poverty; Your supply for My need. I yield myself wholly to You. I am nothing without You. I can do nothing without You. But through Your life in me, I can accomplish all Your holy will and bear much fruit. Here am I, send me! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

(Chris) I just finished the study I have been doing in John 15. All I can say is wow...Good passage to study before you go to Turkey.

Open the door  

Posted by DonnieSmith

God has been doing so much in my life over the past several years. I have been thinking a lot about what is to come. I know for sure that God has been preparing me for.... Transition----transition is so difficult..that’s why it’s transition. You are going from something that is typically known to what is unknown. For me, there is peace in knowing that God is leading me right now and has prepared a path for me to walk. Our faith is challenged in transition because we don’t know the path but still have to walk in Christ and with Christ on a daily basis.
This year is going to be full of transitions for me. To say that it isn’t or to say that life and the pace of life will “slow down” is only foolish. When we try to live our life without transitions, without the “uncontrolled” moments, we typically have a more difficult time than when we simply embrace “life happening.” Because God has been preparing me, I have the ability to hit life’s transitions head on and allow God to turn the outcomes into evidences of His glory. I am thankful for life, I am thankful for the life that God has blessed me with. I am thankful for my past, my present and my future. I feel a passion right now that I have not felt in a long time. What I feel inside right now reminds me that living and living well means to follow the convictions and passion of your heart. I am walking through a door. There is nothing about this door that makes sense. This is not the logical door but I have no doubt that this door is the door that God has ordained. I have been staring at the door for far too long. It is time, I am done staring and ready to walk through it.

As you enter the New Year let your joy, love, peace, and hope, which comes from your growing love for the Lord, permeate the very essence of who you are and where you dwell…by and in God’s grace!

Merry Christmas  

Posted by DonnieSmith

With us God  

Posted by DonnieSmith

For my struggling friend. If you really want your feet to dance to the same beat as heaven, stop writing and pick up your guitar.
In Isaiah and in Matthew, Jesus is called “Emmanuel.”

“Em” = with.

“Nu” = us.

“El” = God.

He’s the “with us God.” He wanted to give Himself. "God with us." Each word is so vital.
"El"
God with us. What if it said “man with us” or “girl with us” or “boss with us” or even “friend with us”? As nice as that might be, it’s not that great. No, it’s “God with us.” The most awesome, most powerful, most infinite, most amazing, most holy, most loving, most righteous Creator God who’s never surprised, never worried, never frustrated, never thwarted is with us.
"Em"
God with us. What if it said “God against us” or “God without us”? How safe would you feel then? No. It’s God with us. We don’t have to go through life alone. Jesus didn’t come to take us out of this world. He came to be with us in this world.
"Nu"
God with us. What if it said “God with you”? That would mean He doesn’t care about me. What if it said “God with me”? That would mean that He doesn’t care about you. What if it said “God with them”? That would mean that He plays favorites. No, it’s God with us.
Emmanuel=“with us God”? Hold on to this ---it is something to be merry about this Christmas.

Moscow Ballet  

Posted by DonnieSmith





OK, so I am a proud dad. Kylie danced in the Moscow ballet this last weekend. I knew it was a big deal----but I didn't know how big the deal really was. She danced with professional dancers in front of over 1000 people at the Cannon Center. It was a great experience for her. Clayton was a champ and endured the production. I feel bad saying this--- but, I am really glad that he doesn't like ballet. Clayton stayed occupied with the fact he was missing the Cowboy's game. I could not take pictures during the ballet but here is a write up about the ballet and pictures that I could take

Great Russian Nutcracker
"""Featuring spectacular sets and beautifully costumed Russian dancers, Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is an annual treat for the whole family. Whimsical and imaginative storytelling blends with the richness of Russian classical dance to make the Great Russian Nutcracker a unique performance not to be missed! Choreographer Emelianov and Valentin Fedorov's spectacular scenic design, with larger-than-life puppets and the backdrop of unicorns, exotic birds and animals, the Great Russian Nutcracker is a visual delight."""

I am not sure about the about the "visual delight" part..... but it was a great experience for Kylie.

Land the plane already  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I was on an airplane once that was circling the city I was suppose to land in. The pilot then gets on the PA system to speak the obvious "we are in a holding pattern." I really didn't want to hear "what" we were doing I wanted to know "why" and better yet "when" we would be out of the holding pattern and on the ground. I am really bad at playing the waiting game. I know that patience is a virtue. I know that God does some great things in us while we wait on Him. It just seems to me that God wired me to run at full speed. I move fast and I want things around me to run as fast as I do. There are lots of people in the bible that I have studied and thought "wow, that is not me at all." A person that I would consider myself to be bipolar opposite of is Zacchaeus. In Luke 19 Zacchaeus climbed a tree to wait for Jesus to pass by him. I would have never climbed a tree to wait. I don't know how to wait for things. I go crazy waiting for things. There is a good chance if I thought I was going to wait to long, I would climb a tree just to jump out head first--that is hyperbole---But you get the point. I would have pursued Jesus on the road He was walking down. I would have fought my way to the front of the line to see Him. The last thing I would have done is just sit and wait. It's not that my valor would be greater than his it is that my willingness to wait on things is just really bad. Well, as it stands today I am in the waiting game right now. I am in a holding pattern and everything seems to be moving so slow. I don't want to know "why" I just want to know "when" the plane will land. I am so ready to be unleashed---I am ready to get out of the tree.

Kylie  

Posted by DonnieSmith













Kylie turned nine today! We spent the week in Tulsa visiting family. Kylie made her first trip to a cemetery. She has been asking about granny Smith and she wanted to see where she is buried. It was a painful experience and one would have to question my parenting ability for taking her. However, we pulled up to the grave side and Kylie said "is it the one with the flowers?" I said "yes" and she got out of the car walked over to the grave and just sat down. She sat there for a few minutes in complete silence and then she began to wipe her eyes. I was a mess at this point but sat down next to her and just held her while she cried. Without a word we stood up and went back to the car. Kylie as only she can do to me, melted my heart when she said "dad, it is OK, she is in heaven now". I responded with "I know she is and we will see her again one day."

Restored  

Posted by DonnieSmith





Pronunciation:
\ri-ˈstȯr\
1 : give back , return 2 : to put or bring back into existence or use 3 : to bring back to or put back into a former or original state : renew 4 : to put again in possession of something
This 1947 HARLEY KNUCKLEHEAD rekindled a fire in me. When I was in St. Louis a couple of weeks ago I went to a friends house. His name is Kurt, he is an amazing man, he has an amazing family and look at what he has done. He reminded me that everything can be restored. The lesson I learned by looking at this restored 47 knucklehead would impact me a week later when I was visiting with some friends. Now, if I had seen this motorcycle sitting in an old barn I would have seen a pile of junk. When Kurt saw it, he saw what it could be---not what it was but what it could be. The idea of seeing what "can be" and then accomplishing it, inspires me. Three things come to my mind when I see what Kurt has done. 1. Nehemiah rebuilding the wall. The wall was destroyed and Nehemiah knew what it would take to restore it and then restored it. 2. My dad--seeing his life being restored. Literally watching him rebuild his life. After being crushed by my mom's passing away he has his footing back and is walking again. (I am proud of you dad) 3. The challenge I could face. ---That's all I will say about that, for now--- When I see what Kurt started with and what he has accomplished it brings inspiration and two questions I can't wait to have answered. The question's I am asking today is "What will "it" look like when "it" is restored?" and "Will God use me to restore "it"?"

Texas Longhorns  

Posted by DonnieSmith




So, while in Texas...I ate way too much, met some amazing people and accomplished what some said was impossible. However impossible it looked to be, I was dead set on walking on the field that is known as the home of the Texas Longhorns. We got to the stadium and we waltzed into the main Football office where I ran into several coaches and saw the national title trophies collected over the years and Ricky Williams Heisman. This was all great but the goal was to get onto the field. This was not an easy task. As I have already said some believed this to be impossible. Once we got inside the stadium we were met by locked gates and more security than I thought was possible....we made our way into the locker room area. We ran into some players and I was standing in the tunnel that the players use to enter the field on game day. It was really cool but as you can see--- we faced yet another set of locked gates. I was about to jump the fence when ((no really, I was going over))...When I saw a gate open for a golf cart to exit. Kristina and I rushed around and with a great deal of confidence and walked through the open gate as if we knew what we were doing. The "Keep Off the Grass" signs were a great suggestion but I felt in my spirit that they were just that---a suggestion. So, Kristina and I had an amazing trip to Austin that ended with a story that will no doubt be exaggerated by the time I tell it to any of you in person.

I wish had  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I wish I had....I have heard this a few times in my life. In fact I have said this a few times in my life. I have found myself saying it a lot this past week. I just returned from St Louis. I went to St. Louis to do a wedding. While I was there I got to catch up with a bunch of old friends. When I got to St Louis I said "I wish I had my camera, I want to take some pictures to add to my blog". Well, it just so happened that I was staying with one of my best friends in the world. He told me (he, being Eric) that he would take pictures on his new first gen iphone and send them to me. I was happy with this arrangement. However, here I am several days after the fact and I am saying "I wish I had....my pictures to post". I will continue to wait with the rest of you for Eric to follow through with his commitment. Other than that, Life is good for me right now. I am very busy but God is doing some great things in me right now. Kristina and I are going to Austin, TX this weekend. I am leaving the clubs behind but I will be speaking at a church on Sunday. As busy as I am right now it would be real easy to microwave an old message. Most of you know how I feel about that---so, be praying for me as I attempt to prepare for this weekend. One last thought just for Mandi- Your dad and I are still praying for you. I have no doubt that you will repent soon. If you keep going to the snake handling church your uncle Dale and uncle Joe Jo are coming after you 8>).


Fast forward one hour later and this is ERIC'S RESPONSE.--
Seriously dude, you went public with some bad info....I totally sent them to you, twice! Check your spam box or something. In the meantime, i'm thinking about creating my own blog...and maybe I'll spread dirt of how you stole my dads dress socks 5 years ago and never returned them!
Sent from my iPhone

Radical Devotion  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Radical devotion to Christ:
Karen was a Southern Baptist missionary in Iraq and was killed by unknown assailants March 15, 2004. Her story is told in the book Lives Given, Not Taken: 21st Century Southern Baptist Martyrs, by Erich Bridges and Jerry Rankin. In this book I ran across the letter that Karen wrote and left behind in an envelope for her pastors to read. The envelope said "Open in case of death."
(Here is part of that letter)
“You should only be opening this in the event of death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn't called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward. . .
I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. . . .
There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him.”

The question I have asked myself and would challenge you to ask yourself is…..
Do you have the heart of a missionary? Use this as a guide—

The missionary heart:
Cares more than some think is wise
Risks more that some think is safe
Dreams more than some think is practical
Expects more than some think is possible.

This is not only a great guide to check your heart, it is also a great prayer to pray over your life. This is what Kristina and I are praying over Kylie and Clayton.

Costumes  

Posted by DonnieSmith


Pumpkin girl and ninja boy are putting Zeke outside so we can make our way to the fall harvest party at church. Clayton doesn't think his friends will recognize him ....Hummm...
















Sarah Palin the ultimate "hockey mom" made an appearance at our church harvest party. We had a great time and it was a good night for our community.

Our jack-o-lanterns  

Posted by DonnieSmith



Last night we went on a hayride out into a pumpkin patch. We walked around in the mud and picked our pumpkins off the vine. So, today the pumpkin carving began. Kylie was creative (right side)...bat eyes, ghost nose and moon mouth. Clayton's (left side) let Kristina do most of the work. After carving pumpkins we went to the corn maze and had a great time. After a pretty rough start to my week----The past two days have been awesome. As we stood outside tonight looking at our jack-o-lanterns I thought to myself, "self, stay on course with what God is doing and let the fire inside burn bright".

Jack is back  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I always look forward to the start of fall….I love the change in the weather and of course football starts. This year my anticipation for fall has been high. In part because God is at work and I can not lie---Kristina and I have been waiting over a year for 24 to start back up. We are huge Jack fans. I like Jack because he seems to always do the right thing. As a pastor I wish more people did the right things. Before I get into what I am thinking about tonight—here is a sample of what is coming this fall.



Although 24 can be predictable at times---I love it. It might seem weird but I have learned some great lessons from Jack Bauer. Every season in one way or another Jack has a key player in his life turn on him. His responses to these betrayals make for a great story line. Beyond a good story line it is also a good reminder--- that at some point people will let you down. Think about what you have seen and walked through in your life. At some point you have seen children turn on their parents, who loved them and did an above average job raising them. Pastors turn on their congregations, committing unthinkable acts of immorality and deceit. Husbands turn on faithful wives of 20 years because the girl at the office made him feel young, funny, and relatively attractive. I have seen a lot of people let other people down and of course I have been personally wounded at times as well. I am not an expert and can not speak exhaustively on how to respond when you are let down but I can suggest a couple of things not to do when you are let down.
--Don’t punish the loyal people in your life by becoming a stone cold, arm’s length, “I’ll never let anyone hurt me like that again, the world is out to get me” person. That’s not fair. Paranoia is not a road to recovery. It’s a sure fire recipe for eventual collapse.
--Don’t miss the blessing in betrayal. Because of betrayal, Joseph saved a nation. Because of betrayal, Jesus saved the world. If you walk in integrity and process your pain Biblically, your biggest betrayal could be the delivery system for your greatest blessing.
When that day comes that you are betrayed or someone let’s you down, do the right thing. Jack always bounces back. In fact, he bounces back this fall.
Isaiah 54:17
“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.

Psalms...My pit stop  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I am putting final touches on my message for tomorrow. I just got caught up reading in Psalms in part for my message and in part to validate or console my emotions. In my little pit stop I noticed that I was missing the message of the Psalms as a whole. The Psalms engage with the entire human condition and they do it all to the glory of God. From Psalms of lament, sorrow, abandonment and betrayal to Psalms of praise, thanksgiving, joy and celebration; the Psalms cover it all. Across the entire book there is a movement from lament to praise. You see the theme of lament in the opening 20 or so Psalms, culminating in Psalm 22 which Jesus quoted in his moment of ultimate loneliness, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” We also see songs of joyful praise gathered at the end of the book in Psalms 145-150 with the final verse of the book resounding, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” In the middle we have Psalms of confession (Ps. 51), Psalms of righteous anger and a desire for justice (Ps. 3:7 and many more), Psalms speaking of the glory of and in creation (Ps. 19, 104), as well as Psalms of thanksgiving, celebration, deliverance and hope. In all these expressions, from “praise the Lord” to “break the teeth of the wicked” I believe that every word is inspired by God Himself and they are all for His glory. Therefore, if I am seeking God’s glory I have to take the whole book of Psalms into account. By taking the book as a whole I am forced to wrestle with things I would rather avoid. Well, I have to wrap up my message for tomorrow morning….

Can God Fix It?  

Posted by DonnieSmith

This is a message that I preached at the start of 07. The message starts at the 8:25 mark...You can fast forward it. OK, why did I pull this talk out? Well, The passage in Luke 12:13-20 is a great reminder to me that the abundance of a man's life is reflected in what a man lays down...not what he picks up. I was facing some emotions last week that led me back to this passage. I used this passage all week in my quiet times. After a few days of reading Luke 12 I remembered that I had just put my hands on a copy of a sermon that I had preached using this passage and wondered what I saw today that I missed back then. After listening to it---bad video quality and the sound is not the best--- but as I listened to it, it put wind into my sails. This passage was a big part of my week last week. Rather than typing it out---Grab your bible, open to Luke 12:13-20.......


Psalms of Ascent  

Posted by DonnieSmith

I was reading the Psalms of Ascent again tonight, which are the songs/prayers that the Israelites sang as they went up to Jerusalem for their pilgrimage. The final one, Psalm 134, made me think....I will soon be at the place that I will be able to stand and lift up my hands to bless the LORD. I will be able to look back at this past season of life and stand in awe of what God has done in me and through me. It says, “Behold, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion!” As I begin to climb this mountain in front of me, it is and has been a pilgrimage. This is the final song that the Israelites sang as they approached the temple mound to begin their feasts. For me..change is coming----- and as I approach the end of this pilgrimage to the top of this current mountain, this is my prayer also. I am not looking for a feast, I am longing for a harvest.

September 14th at Cornerstone  

Posted by DonnieSmith

What a set up  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Talk about being set up to preach......You have their attention! I could listen to Dex sing all day.


New Creation from FC Post on Vimeo.

Please Go  

Posted by DonnieSmith


A few months ago I was on a road trip and we got stuck in traffic. My family vacation was off to a rough start. We sat on the highway for four hours, it was crazy. We were on I40 just as we crossed over form the Tennessee border into Arkansas. We were out on the road playing soccer on the highway. Cars were turned off and people were just walking around as if things were fine. When we finally saw cars in the distance moving we all jumped in the car buckled up ---excited and ready to get back to the road trip.....Well, we were ready to go but nothing seemed to be changing. All we could see were the two massive trucks right in front of us. So we were buckled and ready to go but the waiting continued. The two trucks right in front of us did not move. Finally a guy came running by our car and started beating on the doors of both of these trucks. Within seconds;;; break lights, then movement-- they both started off slow but built up speed. I realized that the cars in front of them were long gone. These two truck drivers were in the back of their cabs sleeping or watching a movie...who knows but they were clueless that it was time to move forward. Hummm...clueless that they needed to move over so the rest of us could get to where we needed to be. In short they had set up a road block and the rest of us could not get by. We had no choice but to wait on them to go. In so many ways I feel like I am sitting on that road today. In life, I have one speed and that is go hard and go fast. For some reason God has me right in the middle of a waiting game right now. Everything in me is ready to move forward but I am waiting on God and He is waiting on others. So, for today I am content to pray and patiently wait on His direction.

 

Posted by DonnieSmith

Sit down???  

Posted by DonnieSmith

Simple title for a simple reason. In Matthew 5:1-2 it says "Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountain and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them by saying....."

Jesus sat down on the side of the mountain and his followers knew he was about to teach them. My goal everyday is that God would teach me something new. I often start my prayer by saying "God, I am sitting down will you please sit with me". What I am saying to Him is I am ready to hear from you, I am ready to learn something new...Speak into my life. It is my way of preparing my heart to listen.

So, why sit down? It is the position Jesus took before he taught the beatitudes and it is my desire to learn daily. It is my reminder to silence my heart and hear from God.