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December 28, 2007

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Lovin Jesus, Proclaiming Hope for a lost and dying world, Music, Learning how to better follow my Lord and Savior, Playing my "guitfiddle", writing about random things making them sound country, mexican food, just food in general, live music, traveling, random fun, fireworks, big fires, anything adventerous,


Anything I can worship with, Nickel Creek, Brad Paisley, The King - George Strait, Keith Urban, John Rich, Josh Turner, Matt Wertz, Andy Davis, Dave Barnes, Sigur Ros, Explosions in the Sky, Chris Rice, Tim Hughes, Joss Stone, Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Dierks Bentley, Hillsong United, John Mayer, Mute Math, Rascal Flatts, Shawn McDonald, I love Piano, Grits, All American Rejects, Johnny Cash


Armageddon, A Beautiful Mind, Orange County, Batman, The Notebook, StarWars, LOTR, Anchor Man, Mean Girls, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, ... many more


The Barbarian Way, Uprising (McManus), Searching for God Knows What, Blue Like Jazz, Through Painted Deserts (Miller), Desiring God, Don't Waste Your Life (Piper), I Am Not But I Know I AM (Giglio), Wild at Heart (Eldridge) Best Question Ever (Stanley)

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A Routine Joy

I think I often forget joy. It’s a simple concept, but one that’s rather important. Seemingly, this comes as quite the surprise in that it’s the very thing that is supposed to set me apart from those who have none. So, as absurd as it may seem, I tend to forget the very thing that identifies me. This is dangerous. When we forget our identity we begin to blend in with something we’re meant to stand out against.

We forget the raw, for-no-reason, unexplainable joy; the kind that produces a smile when no one else is around; the kind that allows one to stand when everything else in their world seems so frail? In all the routine, which is as much of the maturing process as the valley or the mountain, I shouldn’t forget that God is still as amazing and awesome as He was the day He saved me.


When I’m walking to class in the morning when it’s 10 degrees and I’m just wishing I was back in bed: He still captured my heart. (Rom 6)

When I’m sitting bored at work: He still holds the helpless

When I get frustrated in traffic: He still mends the broken, sometimes even me.

When I worry because I don’t know what life will look like 12 months from now: He still commands the lightning. (Job 38)

When I can’t understand my stats teacher because he isn’t from here: I’ll also be hearing that language around the Throne one day, only it won’t be talking about statistics. (Phil 2)

When I’m driving down the road wondering why it gets dark so early: He still painted the sunset.

When I get home so late I can barely make it to my bed: He still calls the stars by name. (Is 40)

When the things in life I can do nothing about still come up from the recesses of the past to hinder me: He has still already won the battle! (Rev 21)


May we not allow God’s kindness, love, and “incredible-ness” to be diminished in our routine.

May we open our eyes and see Him all over it.

May we welcome the day, whatever it holds.

May we stand out.

May we not forget our joy.


King Jesus is still King Jesus, even when I’m just me.


“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” Romans 13:11,12


 - JV

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Where the Echoes Stop

Where the Echoes Stop

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Far past where sound has abandoned thought.
Where silence reigns over redundancy.
Where once well said is more than enough.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Where words must be born to be heard.
Where speech is a gift and not a curse.
Where there is more of the unique and less of the mundane.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Where meaning is rescued from noise…
Where conviction replaces thoughtless repetition…
Where what everyone is saying surrenders to what needs to be said.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Where the shouting of the masses falls silent to the whisper of the one…
Where the voice of the majority submits to the voice of reason…
Where “they” do not exist; but “we” do.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Where substance overthrows the superficial…
Where courage conquers compliance and conformity…
Where words do not travel farther than the person who speaks them.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.
Where I only say what I believe.
Where I only repeat what changes me.
Where empty words finally rest in peace.

I want to stand where the echoes stop.

“Be still and know that I am God…” -Psalm 46:10a

 - Erwin Ralph McManus

- JV

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let it be known...

the last entry was not me... not sure who it was... but it definitely wasn't me... probably some poor, lonely freshman who doesn't have better, more productive, things to do...

so rest in peace tonight... ladies and gentlemen

i haven't gone off the deep end!


               - jv

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Ribs and Hearts... Lined with Cupcake Icing

Ribs and Hearts lined with cupcake icing.

As I sit here my ribs hurt.

They hurt because of the Ultimate Frisbee Tournament earlier this week. I took a few hard hits and spills and when you don't usually play that hard… you feel it the next day. The rush of competition and the adrenaline it brings comes with a small price. It may be the "man" coming out in me, but I think it is well worth it! I may feel it the next day, but I wake up knowing that I played hard.

Then, as I sit here and think about it all, my heart hurts.

It hurts for some of the guys I met on the field. Who seemingly embrace everything this world has to offer but in reality only helplessly grope for the wind. The guys who bow at everything one could imagine attempting to fulfill themselves, but walk away empty night after night.

At the risk of revealing my own selfishness I admit to making a couple comments like "yeah, that's why you pay for your friends" when someone would take a play a bit too seriously. But later as I drove home and as I sit here thinking back I look a bit deeper than my surface level selfishness.  

It could be compared to a rich man looking at a poor man and making fun of him as he begs and scrounges for food.

It would be foolish and pointless to stereotype any group of people any certain way so I refuse to.

But it goes further than just that single situation. It's all around us. People attempting to fill their lives with things that were never ever meant to fill them. It's like trying to survive on a diet of only cupcake icing. The icing is the "extra" stuff in life. (A nice house, good food, loving family and nice friends, car to drive, new Bible to carry to church, money in my bank account, being warm at night, etc…) Although we as a western culture may view that stuff as necessary, and inside of these things may actually find our very identity, that's something these things aren't capable of providing. The only thing in this life that will every TRULY satisfy is a relationship with the Creator.

The world who looks so full and satisfied, is actually starving and desperate.

I pray they are lead to the table and are given the ability to feast on the reality of who Jesus Christ truly is.

What am I trying to say here… nothing ground breaking or revolutionary. Just a thought I was meant to sit on for a while.

Somewhere in the midst of the last few nights I was taught something. I was given a chance to see the value of what I have in the face of what others are missing. The gift that identifies me isn't universal, it's personal.

And I thought it was a simple game of Frisbee…

 - JV

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Hawaii Revisited

It's 4:31am and I'm honestly a bit perturbed to be awake. I throw on a shirt, keep my shorts and grab my hat on the way out the door. It's a silent ride to the airport this morning which encourages my thought to drift, something I haven't allowed much lately. I'm on my way to see Aaron Shew and Tyler Haynes off. The long awaited time has come and they are currently in the air on their way to Thailand for NINE months. Their step of faith is inspiring.  

We turned off the airport exit from I24 and I immediately got that sick feeling in my stomach. It's that nervous, anxiousness one gets when they know something big is coming. It's because I've been there myself… about 9 months ago. As I lay in the back seat staring at the ceiling my thoughts started to turn.

I remember leaving everything with no idea of what to expect. I remember leaving my family standing in the darkened driveway; I didn't let them come to the airport because I thought I would be easier just saying goodbye at home. Then came the long drive to the airport with my friend Tracie while the sun rose. I remember praying "Ok God, here I am…" as I watched the sun rise trying to comfort myself and understand that He was completely in control.

I remember how my heart felt when those closest too me got up early to come see me off. I remember how it felt to pray and walk away from them. I remember turning for a last glance and some of them not being "so strong" any more.

That's where the "sick feeling" comes from every time I walk into that terminal. This morning it was dark and early not promoting much conversation which allowed me to think. I've held my thoughts on that season of life tightly captive since it ended, so today has been a new thing for me.

To put what God had for me in one word would be impossible, but the best I can come up with is "desert" The dictionary here in my lovely Microsoft Word defines it as: "a place or situation that is devoid of some desirable thing, or overwhelmed by an undesirable thing." That particular definition may be a bit strong for my situation, but it expresses the idea.

Every single one of us will hit times in life we would consider to be a desert. It's more than just a "dry spell", it's a freaking life-changing, "God where are you?" season where it's all we can do to keep our heads above water. The situation will often be painful and rarely desirable. And hear this… at this very moment we are all at one of three places in life: Headed into the desert, presently in the desert, or coming out of the desert. If you've never experienced the "desert" in life, it is coming.

But why?

That's the non-productive, but human thing to do. We question absolutely everything… so why?  

Check out Hosea 2:14 – 16. In my Bible this passage is labeled "the desert."

14 "Therefore I am now going to allure her;
       I will lead her into the desert
       and speak tenderly to her.

 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

 16 "In that day," declares the LORD,
       "you will call me 'my husband';
       you will no longer call me 'my master.

Now, a few points to help us understand this "desert" concept.

Notice how the word "allure" is used. Most of the time when we find ourselves in the undesirable places of life we think God has banished us here in some sort of punishment. But that isn't even close to what the word "allure" means. "Allure" means "take my hand… I'm going to lead you somewhere. I'm going WITH you!"

Verse 15 refers to the PURPOSE of the desert. There He is going to give something "back" to her and when it's over she will "sing as in the days of her youth"

Verse 16 is where we can get a peace-giving perspective though. It's in this "desert" that our Father "allures" us to where we learn to love him. Here we learn to call him "husband" (as we are the "bride" of Christ). It's where we learn the meaning of true relationship. In this time of undesirable situations is where we learn what it really means to love Him. It's where we grow close to our maker.

Honestly, in the back of my mind, I think I had idea of what Hawaii was going to hold. It's kind of that larger perspective on life we get from time to time where we can view things in a different light. I knew, though I wouldn't have admitted it because that would have scared me, that Hawaii for me was going to be a season of growth and change. I knew things in life would be different when I came back.

I wrote in my journal almost every day I was there. I wrote an entry entitled "I sure hope hindsight is prettier" because what was currently in front of me wasn't exactly a "walk in the park."

What I'm trying to get at is the fact that hindsight IS beautiful. God is intentional and that's where we stand when we find ourselves in the harder situations of life.

Romans 8:28

Jeremiah 29:11

Romans 8:38-39

1 Kings 8:57

Isaiah 40:11  

I walked back into life and nothing was the same. I am not the same. I have experience behind me, a relationship with me, and a peace about the future I didn't know before. Hindsight is beautiful.

May we embrace, in faith, the things that make us stronger.

January 9th, 2006 - airport

January 11th, 2006 - standing on lava

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