Friday, June 24, 2005

Currently on the Palette

currently reading:
The Last Juror by John Grisham
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot
The CoffeeHouse Gospel by Matthew Paul Turner
I Peter

currently listening to:
Blackeyed Peas
Jason Mraz
Mariah Carey
David Crowder

Lessons From A Horse Named Haley

Last week, I looked up (literally) my horse trainer from several years ago. She has since moved to the other side of my county about 45 minutes from where I live. I went out to her new farm just to say "hey" and catch up, as it had been almost 3 years since I'd seen her. When I pulled up to the barn, she was in the middle of teaching a lesson to 10-12 middle-school age kids. We talked for a few minutes and set up a time for me to go back out this week. I went back on Wednesday after work to ride and interview her and her daughter (as it turns out she was looking for someone to write an article about her daughter to be in some horse publications and local newspapers). After the interview I found the horse that she wanted me to "work out". In reality, the horse would give me a work-out! For the past 2 days since riding, I have had sore muscles that I didn't even know I had! It was a lot of fun though, I was able to do some jumping patterns and just enjoy riding, something I haven't had the opportunity to do in quite a while.

So the horse that I rode was named Haley. Haley was very strong-willed. She wanted to run the whole time, and after I had been riding for a while she started bucking and trying to throw me off. Believe it or not, I really enjoyed riding her, despite her flaws. So as I was riding along, figthing and pulling the reigns trying to gain control of this 1,500 lb animal, I couldn't help but think about how she and I were so very much alike.

Haley didn't want me to control where we went and what we did. She wanted to decide. When I wanted to walk, she tried to run. When I wanted to speed up, she'd slow down. How often do I treat God this way? I try to control my own life. I make plans and go about them, paying no attention to where my master is leading me.

A properly trained horse doesn't require to be kicked very hard to understand what the rider wants it to do. In fact, a good horse only needs a slight brush of the leg, or even merely a vocal command. I think that God gets tired of "kicking" us into submission. If only we would respond to His voice or even His gentle nudges we would avoid so much discomfort and pain.

The mid-nineties movie The Horse Whisperer has always seemed to me a very clear illustration of the redemption and restoration we find in Christ. The horse had been severly wounded...physically, mentally, and spiritually (so to speak). To many he seemed beyond repair, worthless, and deserving of death. Throughout the movie, there are several scenes in which the horse trainer exhibits the character of Christ. He waits patiently for the horse to respond to him, he brings healing to his wounds and restores his purpose. The final scene of the movie clearly depicts the horse choosing to surrender his will and through that surrender gaining peace, joy and purpose.

I was reading this week in Elizabeth Elliot's book Passion and Purity, she says this of surrender:

"Wen the will of God crosses the will of man, somebody has to requires countless 'little deaths' - occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yest to God...Surrender does not mean that everything about ourselves is evil. It is a choice to lay down everything - the good and the bad - for the love of God...We die in order to live".

May we respond to His nudges. May we understand that only in surrender, only in death, can we experience healing, redemption, and restoration.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Random Thought #178543

I've got a BIG secret!

Chinese Take-Out

Something that I have really come to love over the past few years is Chinese food. I think I could eat chinese food almost every day and not get sick of it. Sesame chicken is, by far, my favorite, but I can settle for other selections of the americanized version of chinese (I can't help but wonder what people in China actually eat!). So as I drove back to my office today with my nifty chinese take-out container I began to think about some of my Chinese food buddies. My best friends Jennifer and Megan and I have a tradition of going out to eat Chinese food everytime I am home. I have also gotten Chinese take-out with my brother, Patrick, a time or two. At school, there is...well there was...Jes and Heather. I guess now it'll just be Heather and me as Jes has moved on to a "real" college, as I like to call educational institutions that have a student population of over 2,000.

Today was Chicken w/ broccoli and an egg roll. Good choice. After I ate the main course, I moved on to dessert: the complimentary, wraped-in-plastic, fortune cookie. I've never really understood the fascination with fortune cookies. They are stale and tasteless and have a piece of paper in the middle. Beats me!

Today, my fortune read, "A pleasant surprise is waiting for you". That's exciting. Maybe I'll meet the woman of my dreams, maybe I'll win a new car, maybe I'll find a ten dollar bill in my jeans when I do laundry tonight. Surprises make me smile, no matter how big or small or seemingly insignificant. However, the whole idea of things being unexpected is a little bit scary.

he Bible teaches on this a little.

James 4:14
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

We never know what tomorrow holds. Tomorrow could be the day I meet my wife, or it could be the day I meet my maker. We should live each day as if it were our last on this earth, striving to make a difference in whatever way we can showing Christ's love to all.

Life's a journey...proceed with passion!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How Are You Defined?

At some point last weekend, my mom asked my dad and I this question: "Are you defined by what you do?" Good question. My mom has a habit of engaging our family in very deep and philosophical conversations. I'm not sure if I know what I think about my mom's question. I guess my answer would have to be "sort of", which I know is a very easy, safe, middle-of-the-road answer. I definitely think that other people's perceptions of who we are is very much molded by what we do, our actions and activities. However, I think that the very essence of who we are, the core of our identity is not even something that can be physically measured or determined. I think that who we are will be revealed by our actions; however, not neccessarily in what we do, but how we do.

How does this affect me?

I am a college student. But how do I do college? Well, I'm a slacker. I procrastinate, and do the least amount of work neccessary for me to keep my scholarships. I only read about 1/4 of the reading required of me; again only that which is neccessary to make the grade. You may be thinking "that's completely normal", I know. I have entertained those thoughts in pursuit of some sort of apathetic justification of my actions. Do I want to be defined as "completely normal"? Do you?

I am a son. I am a brother. I am a grandson. I am a singer. I am a writer. I am a friend. I am a leader. I am a Christ follower. I work at a newspaper. I sing on a worship team. I listen to music constantly.

How do I do all of these things? Well to be quite frank, for quite a while I've been doing everything rather half-you know what. I don't want to be defined as normal. I don't want to be defined as good. I want to be defined as someone who does everything with passionate excellence.

May I live a life worthy of the calling I have recieved.

Just a few "random thoughts"!

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Cell Phone

Good news: I finally got a new cell phone this weekend

Bad news: I don't have anyone's numbers

So.......Shoot me your digits!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Some Really Old Pics

Since I have access to a scanner at my office, I decided to post a few pictures from the end of the semester. I really think that the last few weeks of this past semester were some of the best of my life. I had so much fun and made many memories to be cherished for a lifetime. I miss my friends from school a whole lot, especially since I still have no cell phone and therefore, no communication!

Me and some of my girls went to G-ville for Laura's B-day and to celebrate the end of the semester (Heather, Christy, Jes, Me, Laura)

Me and one of my best friends Jes at the RA Banquet

Melissa and Me at Freedom's Hill Church before the Formal

My friend Melissa was my date to this year's Jr/Sr Spring Formal

My friend Ashley and Me at the Spring Formal

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Goochland Gazette, this is Brett"

So I am nearing the completion of my first week on the job. I started a "sort of" internship this week with a local newspaper. I am serving as an editing assistant and I also do alot of random office tasks. One of these seemingly meaningless tasks is answering the phone. I couldn't even count how many times I've said, "Goochland Gazette, this is Brett" over the past week. I'm really excited about this expereince; I think that it will be beneficial to me in the future.

I lost my cell phone this week so I have been barren of all contact with the outside world for the past several really sucks! So guess what I get to spend my first pay check guessed it...a new cell phone. I'm going to go this afternoon or sometime this weekend to check out my options. I'm not overly thrilled with the idea of wasting my time or money in the Verizon store. Every time I have ever been in there I am treated with such disrespect and rudeness that it pains me just to think about my upcoming venture.

So I have unofficially dubbed this summer as "Extreme Makeover: Brett Edition". I am really trying to focus on myself...spiritually, emotionally, and physically this summer...not that I've ever had a problem focusing on myself! But I am really trying to make some improvements in each of these areas this summer. I'll keep you updated on the successes and failures throughout the summer.

Pray for me this weekend as I will be leading worship at my church. I'm really excited about this opprotunity and want to make sure that I am in the right place spiritually to lead the body of Christ in worship.