January 23, 2014

  • Walking and Talking with God

    Up until about 2010 I only talked to God occasionally, usually when I needed something, was praying for someone else, in a group prayer time, was in a crisis, or when making big decisions and plans. I usually wasn’t praying unless something specific was compelling me to pray, and days would go by where I didn’t pray at all.

    To be honest it was the collapse of most of my plan for my life that prompted me to run to Him in a complete panic and cling to Him for several months out of sheer need.

    After some time there I realized that, when I thought of spending time apart from Him, it seemed completely empty and pointless, and that moved me to a place of wanting and trying to share every moment of every day with Him.

    As more time passed I came to realize that I’d been missing out all this time. I’m actually a very passionate and romantic person inside and I feel words like “always” and “forever” strongly at the core of my being. I consider God my soulmate and believe He’s the only one who can really fill that role, especially when it comes to satisfying desires like “always” and “forever.”

    But really I think all of us have a place inside that is only satisfied by spending all our time aware that He is with us, and otherwise, that we search for meaning and fulfillment and contentment in other things that eventually leave us empty or wounded. And I am certain He deeply wants this kind of relationship with every one of us – an all day long, every day kind of relationship.

    Genesis suggests that Adam and Eve had a personal “walking with God” relationship with God like this, before the fall. The bible talks about Enoch and Noah walking with God. It tells us about Moses talking with God face to face as a friend to a friend. What we read about Jesus is all about Him, being God, walking and talking with his disciples while at the same time He was in perfect relationship with the Father constantly to say “I only do what I see the Father doing.” And in Revelation Jesus told John to say to the church, essentially, “I’m standing right outside the door, knocking. If anyone hears my voice, open the door! I will come in, and we will share a meal together. Like friends.”

    He wants that relationship with us. Adam couldn’t be with God because his sin got in the way, but Jesus paid for all that, and now we can be with God. He’s the one knocking on the door and He says in that for eternity the people He wants with Him are the ones who open the door and let Him in and want to be with Him too.

    He says the ones who will be turned away from eternity with Him will be because He never “knew” them. And how do we really get to know someone? We talk with them and spend time with them in everyday life. Not just on special occasions or in special situations but in real everyday life.

    So I really want to hear from you guys. What is your walking and talking with God like? How did that come about? What are your favorite scriptures about it?

  • Growing through Pain

    Our good, good Lord is sometimes not content to just take away our pain, even though sometimes we might beg Him for just that. Much like a good fitness trainer, He is more about coaching us to a place of greater life – true, rich, full, life beyond what we can imagine or ask for. He can see us living in that life so clearly, despite all our current flaws! So sometimes we ask Him to relieve pain, but it seems He desires to lead us through pain in a way that grows us in the wisdom that leads to a life with less of some types of pain. And it seems He desires to lead us through pain in way that grows us to a place of more strength to endure more of other types of pain.

    A few years ago, for about a year, I went through by far the most excruciatingly difficult emotional pain I had ever experienced in my life. For the first 9 months, especially, it was relentless. Hundreds of times I cried out to Him for relief. Occasionally He brought it, for hours at a time. First, and early on, He gave me hope that He had something wonderful for me on the other side, through a vision of Him carrying me away from my hopeless situation to a hillside full of hope and peace and beauty. Then, He began leading me through my pain – through loving brothers and sisters, through scripture, through words I heard from Him, and through things He opened my eyes to see. He wasn’t content to take away my pain. He wanted me to grow, to change, to be transformed, to a new man.

    If He had just taken away my pain, I might have stayed the same person, sought out the same things in life, and ended up in the same situations. Instead, He led me through a transformation into a man who wants more of what He wants, one who craves the purity of living in His ways, despite the challenge of that. It is sometimes exhausting, but, having exhausted myself previously in the pursuit of things which were not from Him, I find it less burdensome to exhaust myself in the pursuit of those things which lead to eternal joy.

April 28, 2013

  • Jesus the Healer and Life in Laying Down Self

    When we are wounded, Jesus is our healer, and for deep and severe wounds, he is sometimes like our hospital. And the point of the hospital is to be healed to the point of getting out there and loving well again. We don't have a mean coach, sending us out into the game to get wounded again. We have a loving father, who knows that He created us to be in relationship. Not only do we find life in the context of relating to each other, but we especially find it in that part of relating that requires us to lay down self and to give something more. It's more than simply regaining life. We actually soar to new heights of living in working past the challenges and pressing on through the pain.

    And so as difficult as it is sometimes, as much pain as it causes, Jesus calls us to actively love one another! He does not offer us himself as an alternative to actively loving the other 7 billion people on the planet. He does not offer himself as an excuse from actively loving the hundreds that we are personally acquainted with. He does not offer us a platform for holding on to arrogance, judgment, grudges, resentments, wounds, or the role of a victim. Instead he offers himself as the answer to the question “Where is the justice? Who will pay for all this? How does this work out well in the end?” Unlike the world we chose to create for ourselves, in choosing to claim for ourselves the knowledge of good and evil (and yet in our fallibility, requiring many judges), in the world He created, only one point of justice is required, for there is only one judge, and his judgment is perfect.

April 4, 2013

  • Soul ties and emotional dependency

    A soul tie is a spiritual connection between two people. It can be healthy or unhealthy. It can come about through a vow, through sex, or simply through close relationship.

    In a healthy soul tie or a healthy emotional connection, God comes first for both people. God is more important to me than the person I am in relationship with, and He is more important to them than I am. As a result the healthy soul tie or emotional connection is a source of blessing and encouragement. Each person finds completeness and contentment in their relationship with God, and freely shares out of that abundance with the other.

    An unhealthy soul tie or emotional dependency is a form of idolatry and addiction. The relationship with the other person or the desire to be with them has taken a place of authority that should only be God’s. Some symptoms of this are when the relationship is a source of emptiness, abuse,pain, and unfulfilled longing.

    A person with many unhealthy soul ties is a minefield of emotional complexity, but the really sad part is that the real person often stands paralyzed, buried underneath a web of conflicting emotional strings that pull them in different directions while others block their way.

    Because of His great love for us, God wants to be number one in every heart. He knows He is the only one who can hold that place of authority without abusing it, the only one who can free every true self to truly come out and live. And so while He is patient, and waits to be invited,He is eager to free us from soul ties and emotional dependencies. He is eager to take the number one place in our hearts and begin settings all things right.

    Breaking a soul tie or emotional dependency is a cooperative effort including the person with the soul tie, the person interviewing and praying for them, and God. The Holy Spirit leads the process, but here are somethings that often need to happen in case of a soul tie or emotional dependency:

    1. The person with the soul tie or dependency should:
      1. Repent of any sin such as extramarital sex that contributed to the soul tie
      2. Get rid of any objects that remind them of the soul tie, such as gifts
      3. Renounce any vows that led to or were part of the soul tie or emotional dependency, especially vows that gave someone else authority that should be God’s
      4. Forgive the other person! Unforgiveness is a powerful bondage.
      5. Renounce the soul tie, out loud, naming the person.
    2. The person praying for them should break the soul tie in Jesus name
    3. Both people should invite the Holy Spirit to flow in to that place, establishing it as God’s own forever.



November 10, 2012

  • Tom's Walk Toward Reality

    When I find myself "too much in this world" - too focused on or concerned about something other than God, and too invested in this reality (often at the cost of peace and contentment) instead of the one He gives us in His eternal perspective, there are some pieces of truth I have learned from Him over the years that I have found are very helpful in turning my focus back on Him and "getting back to reality."

    1. I realize that I am a new creation: the old me is dead and buried, along with the power all its wounds and sins once held over it. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, Romans 6). The new me is resurrected, God loves me and chose me and wants to be as close to me as possible: He wants to be in every part of my life; He wants me to share my whole day in close relationship with Him. (Ephesians 1:11-14, Romans 8:38-39, Romans 12:1-2).

    2. I realize this life will be over in about 40 years, maybe a little more, maybe much sooner. (James 4:13-17). And then I will be in a different life. (John 14:2, Revelation 21:3-5).

    3. I think about how all that will matter in that life is relationship, and all I will take with me from this life to the next is relationship. Not my earthly appearance, money, status, competency, knowlege (much of mine may be wrong anyway!), debts or favors, fitness, health, marriage, spouse, accomplishments ... nothing but the relationships I have built with God and others who have also built relationship with Him. (Luke 16:1-15, Matthew 6:19-21). I realize that relationship with Jesus is built in part through acts of kindness to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46), and I realize that my true heart in every relationship will be revealed - all the good and the bad. (Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 16:19-31).

    4. I realize that in that life I will know, and be known, and have deeper and more satisfying relationship and intimacy with EACH and EVERY person, than I could ever have with even one person here, even in marriage. (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Corinthians 13:12).

    5. I realize that, since I am the church and we are the church, as the church in that life we will all be "married" to God, which makes God my ultimate (eventual) soul mate - and every other believer's eventual soul mate as well. (Ephesians 5:25-27, 2 Corinthians 11:2-3). I realize that like the first man, adam, I am bent toward preferring Eve's logic over God's command, but, I also realize that I can (and should) choose to relate to God as my "soul mate" now, as He is actually the best match for what my culture describes as a "soul mate." (Urban Dictionary "Soul Mate", Luke 24:32, Matthew 4:18-22, psalm 139:13-16, psalm 18:1-2, psalm 4:8, psalm 138:1-18).

    6. I realize that what really matters, here, then, is not what I can get or collect or gather for *myself*, but for Him and others, to enjoy together with Him in a way that builds relationship. (Matthew 6:19-21, Luke 16:19-31).

    7. I realize that I can be a point of presence for Him for others - and they can be a point of presence for Him for me, but only in part, and not purely, and that is ok - it is what it is. (Luke 16:19-31, Eph. 2:10, Acts 2:15-18). In my mind, as I ponder this, I see a high security prisoner and his loved one touching the plexiglass barrier in the same spot during a prison visit. (Person 1 is the plexiglass; God is the visitor; person 2 is the prisoner).

    8. When I extend hope, love, acceptance, etc. (with integrity to the truth) to others to the point of risking and even experiencing rejection for long periods of time, I participate with Christ in His redeeming work in the world. For how long has he extended such things with open arms to the world and been rejected by so many? His will - for those gifts to be extended to all - is accomplished whether the gifts are accepted or rejected. When they are accepted I share in His joy; when they are rejected, I share in His suffering. (Rom.8.17).

    9. At this point, I can put all my hopes, dreams, longings, needs, etc. into perspective. (For me, for example, my desire to be partnered with someone here in this life, and what kind of person. And I realize that partnering with someone has its purpose in the purposes above).

September 8, 2012

  • “So I wait for you …”

    “So I wait for you …”

    One thing I think we fail to remind or demonstrate to each other often or well enough is that God understands and is present with us in times of emptiness, longing, loss, and discontent, and longs to open our eyes to some of His “higher thoughts” during those times.

    I think we often partner with Him in better in encouraging others to “find the secret of being content in all things” (Phillipians 4:12)than we do in the “mourning with those who are mourning” (Romans 12:15), or providing encouragement and companionship during their periods of emptiness and testing (Matthew 4). We see someone depressed and want to cheer them up; we see someone focusing on a lot of negative and we want to help them see the blessings in their lives.

    But in doing so, I think we sometimes miss an important detour God is taking with them. Everything is not right here; we are still living in the not yet.  All around us,people relate to each other out of just about every motive except love. We see people with basic needs unmet; we see others swimming in a swirling pool of riches and discontent. And often when we attempt to help someone in either camp find real, meaningful and lasting change, we find our attempts met with anything from quiet resentment or mistrust, to open hostility.

    But we are not the only ones longing for change.

    God is also longing for change.

    He understands unfulfilled longing, and is present with us.

    Matthew 23:37

    New Living Translation (NLT)

    Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem

    37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.


    A few other illustrations came to mind this morning as I thought this over …



    New Living Translation (NLT)

    15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.


    Don’t get me wrong. I am passionate about the good news that God is available to us at all times, in all places. I don’t believe God is ever “unavailable” to us. But we don’t get to be with Him like the people we read about in the gospels. They got to see Him with their eyes. Touch Him. Hear Him with their ears.

    And yes, I am also passionate about the good news that we carry Him with us where we go; that we can be a point of presence for others to experience Him through at any time, in any place. At any moment we can feed someone, give them a cup of water, cover them to bring relief from shame, and visit them in life’s real and virtual prisons – including being present with them in their periods of emptiness and testing.


    New Living Translation (NLT)

    17 A friend is always loyal,
        and a brother is born to help in time of need.


    New Living Translation (NLT)

    Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

    But some day, you know, we will see Him face to face.  Clearly. Someday we will embrace Him. Someday we will hear His voice, with our ears, tell us He loves us. Someday we will hear His voice, out loud, call us His children.

    And some day, the love we experience through each other will be pure – free of even unwanted impurities – and we will know it. No longer looking (straining?) to see the pure love beyond each others often conflicted motives, we will simply open our arms and hearts wide to receive everything that is given.

    That is where we are going, and we are not there yet.


    “Sing over me a new song; sing over me what you’ve been all along. So I wait and wait and wait, for you … how long to wait, to wait, to wait, to wait for you? Oh,how I’m longing.”

    In the years from 2000-2010, most everything in my life looked good on the surface. Looking at myself from the outside, I would have told myself to be content and thankful for what I had in my life. But it was regrettably shallow in some places, dangerously shallow in others, and below that surface were very painful circumstances and struggles I couldn’t see a way out of. It certainly didn’t seem likely that it would be within God’s will, from what I knew about Him, for my circumstances to change, so I rarely prayed for that.  Yet somehow I was certain that even if what seemed to be a paradox of broken circumstances in my life was not His design, redeeming it was His specialty. So I wrote a song asking Him to speak new life into my life, to speak into my life His greater things that I believed would have power over all the lesser things and lesser motives that filled my life. 

    My greatest friends during those years became those who sat and listened, recognized how painful my circumstances and struggles were, and instead of minimizing or getting caught up in trying to solve those things that could not be solved by my and their efforts alone, instead, partnered with God ins peaking and encouraging His greater realities into my life.  I don’t think any of us saw it coming (no one told me if they did), but suddenly, one day, God’s greater realities were the wings I needed as most of my reality (and circumstances with it) suddenly crumbled and the ground fell apart beneath my feet.

    He had answered my prayer, my song. He had sung a new song over me; given me wings to take flight and follow Him to a new world as my old world fell apart.


    Matthew 4:1-3

    New Living Translation (NLT)

    TheTemptation of Jesus

    Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

    During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, ….

    Before I quote the rest of verse 3, stop and think for a moment. When you are empty and longing, in those moments where all you are aware of is unfulfilled desire, what does the enemy point out first? What does he suggest to you? Fill in the blank ...

    What He said to Jesus was, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” For me, he varies it a bit. He suggests things that are within my power … or that seem to be. “You know, if you just did this, you could have this. You’re smart enough. You can pull it off.” Or, “relief is as close as … and nobody will know.” Or, “here is the answer to all your troubles. Don’t pay any attention to all the cautions people offer about this, everybody has an opinion. You can have this right now and work out the details later. Follow your heart.” (Knowing my heart is starving).

    Jesus has experienced periods of emptiness, unfulfilled longing, and the parade of tempting counterfeits that comes along with them,and He is ready and willing to be present with those who are walking through periods of emptiness and testing.  Are we?

December 10, 2011

  • At the foot of the Cross


    God and man

    Separated for thousands of years

    Separated by uncountable offenses

    A creator longing to reconnect with his creation

    A father longing to be reunited with his children

    With you

    His child


    And finally a way

    The cross

    A place to meet

    Where years of pain, suffering, emptiness and longing come to an end

    Where uncountable offenses are laid down and no longer counted

    Where the created turns back to the creator and finds him

    A loving father, celebrating the joy of his returning children with all his might


    And so we come Lord

    To the meeting place, the cross

    With all our offenses and all our need

    We come and we bow down

    You are the One

    And this is where you change our lives

July 11, 2011

  • This weekend, take a walk with God through your heart

    Last year, during one of the hardest times in my life, I attended a weekend CrossCurrent retreat offered by the Houston Vineyard. I was surprised to personally encounter God in very powerful ways throughout the weekend. The beautiful setting in Round Top, Texas was a safe and peace filled place away from all the noise of everyday life, and the material, stories, and leaders helped me bring every part of my heart into the light of God's truth, to see how well it was partnering with God's original design for experiencing the awesome joy and freedom He designed for his children to live in.

    At one time or another, all of us experience relational struggles. Even in the Church, many are often plagued with bad patterns and habits that interfere with daily life and create barriers to relationship with God and others. Gone unchecked, these can cause us to live in a “broken” state. God offers to meet us in these places to bring wholeness and transformation.

    This weekend, The Vineyard Church of Houston is offering a weekend CROSSCURRENT Retreat at the Round Top Retreat Center. The leaders and teachers will be introducing God's perspective on sexuality and relationships. CROSSCURRENT materials are published by Desert Streams Ministries, who also produce the Living Waters course.

    We will cover:
    -God's original intent for our lives,
    -the ways we have been wounded,
    -how we have tried to fill our needs as a result of those wounds, and
    -essential tools that enable us to better give and receive love in order to restore His image in us

    I would love to tell you more about my experience with this retreat. Or, click this link for more information or to sign up.


August 11, 2010


    My dad emailed this to me and I got a kick out of it and had to post it.


    The Maker of all human beings (GOD) is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart.  This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed "Sub-sequential Internal Non-Morality," or more commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

    Some of the symptoms include:
    1. Loss of direction
    2. Foul vocal emissions
    3. Amnesia of origin
    4. Lack of peace and joy
    5. Selfish or violent behavior
    6. Depression or confusion in the mental component
    7. Fearfulness
    8. Idolatry
    9. Rebellion
    The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this defect.  The Repair Technician, JESUS, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

    The number to call for repair in all areas is: P-R-A-Y-E-R.
    Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through the REPENTANCE
    (confession) procedure. Next, download  ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Jesus, into the heart component.
    No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Jesus will replace it
    1. Love
    2. Joy
    3. Peace
    4. Patience
    5. Kindness
    6. Goodness
    7. Faithfulness
    8. Gentleness
    9. Self control
    Please see the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

    WARNING: Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded. For free emergency service, call on Jesus.
    PROHIBITED MATERIALS NOTICE: The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility. Thank you for your attention!
    - GOD
    P.S. Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by 'Knee mail'! 

July 7, 2010

  • All of the Sudden

    All of the sudden
    It's only you and me
    Everything changes
    You open my eyes to see
    Face to face with you
    Everything known
    Though nothing is spoken
    Buried in your embrace
    All of my cares Melt into nothing
    Hold me, You just Hold me
    Know me, like no one knows me
    And I know that you Love me
    And I know who I am,     in you