Monthly Archives: January 2013

Some Words of Encouragment.

So this is probably my first post in a couple week, and all I really wanted to do is share with whoever reads this some words of encouragement I read that I feel like have really touched me.

Honestly, I was just randomly flipping through my Bible reading and I came across a verse that really just kind of stood out to me.

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” -I Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)

Daily everyone is confronted by a temptation of the world.  Whether or not we succumb to the temptation depends on whether we are willfully strong enough to overcome it or not.  I would say 99% of the time for me, the temptation is very, very difficult to overcome.  But the great thing is, it’s not impossible to resist. With God, anything is possible. 

Every one of us has been taken my some sort of temptation.  The reason we are sinful at birth is because Adam & Eve could not overcome the great temptation of eating the fruit from the tree.  

My man Trip Lee puts it in a good way:

“They weren’t the only ones who needed a Hero. No man or woman will experience true freedom without Him.  Each of us is like a hopeless POW, held captive by a cruel terrorist regime.  Until someone more powerful swoops in to rescue us, we’ll be doomed and tortured at the hands of the enemy. We need a Savior.” (The Good Life by Trip Lee)

Thankfully, through Christ we are redeemed.  Through Him we are made new.  It’s incredible to know that even after all the crappy things we’ve done, God still loves us. That’s the reason he sent His Only Son to Earth, to die for US!

As I grow in my walk, I start to gain a better appreciation for what Jesus did in dying on the cross.  Being fully man, he felt the pain of suffocation, and the humiliation of being naked up on that cross.

As I begin to think about it,  what kind of appreciation would I have if tomorrow someone took a bullet to save my life?  Would I always remember and honor that person as part of my life? Sure I would, they gave up their life to save mine.

That’s some pretty incredible stuff.

I hope that the good news of Christ can be an encouragement to you this week as you go into your work, school, or whatever you’ve got to do.  And always know that in any situation, God is always there and He’s never going to give you something to big to handle, because there’s nothing He can’t handle.  

//Jesse//

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Catfishing God.

So last night I watched the new episode of Catfish: the TV Show, on MTV.  Which by the way is the only show I will ever recommend watching on MTV…

Anyways, for those of who you do not know what this show is about let me tell you a little background about it.

Nev Shulman, the host/guide or whatever, finds people who are in online relationships over Facebook and tries to help them meet the other person, whoever they may be.  100% of the time the person on the other end is not who they say they are and are using this profile to pursue a relationship because maybe they have self-esteem issues or cannot really express themselves in person the way they want to.

So Nev going this term “catfish”, which is one of these people that isn’t who they say they are and try to be something that they aren’t to get attention.

As I was watching the show I saw some similarities between the deception of these online relationships and the average Christian’s relationship with God.  

Now obviously we don’t chat with God on Facebook or tweet him, but sometimes we use the same “catfishing” technique to try to come across better than we are.  

Why do we go to church?  Why do we help the less fortunate? Why do we pray? Why do we worship?  Is it because we really want to get in a deeper love with Him, or are we just putting up a front so He will “like us”.

Alot of times I catfish God. Maybe it’s praying just because I want something to go my way.  Maybe it’s doing something nice for the less fortunate to fulfill my own selfish pride.  No matter the circumstance, everyone has something they want to try to “hide” from Him.

The funny thing is is that he already knows everything! This front I may put on is silly, because in the end God knows the real me.  He knows what percent of me is really pursuing Him and which percent just wants a foot in the door.

The tough part is, we will never be a perfect partner for God.  Because of the Fall we are incapable of doing things right every time.  But that shouldn’t stop us from trying:

James 4:7-10 
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (NIV)

I apologize for this less than perfect analogy, I just feel like this concept of deception can be one that is very prevalent in my life and is something I really need to work on. Whether or not you think God will be please, be yourself with him.  It’s foolish to think we can trick God, because He knows all.  Open yourself up to him, and He will be able to do some incredible things.

//Jesse//

Back at it.

Well, ladies and gents, I am officially back in Waco, TX.

It was incredible to, for the first time, get close to a month off for the Christmas holiday.  Much of it was spent, hanging out with friends and family, watching some basketball, and the ever so popular event of eating.

The break also gave me a lot of time to think about my priorities for the upcoming semester.

Throughout most of my life, selfishness has dominated.  I feel like sometimes it slipped my mind that being courteous to people and putting others first can really make an impact not only on my life but also on the lives of those around me. I say “was” very lightly, because still to this day I struggle with putting others first.  That is why is has become a goal of mine to put others first this semester.

I see as this can be done in a multitude of ways.  Sure, holding the door for people is cool, and I’m sure that person appreciates it, but sometimes it takes something deeper than that.  We never know what someone is going through that we see on a day to day basis.  Someone you pass everyday might be encouraged by the smile you give or the warm “hello”.  Yeah it may seem minuscule to us but it could meant the world to them.  

Another way I am going to try to be more unselfish is by the way I study and putting my work before the things that want to do.  

To me, it is more than just studying.  One of my goals forever has been to adequately prepare myself in my education so that when I get out of school I can get a job that will be able to support a wife a subsequently a family later on down the road.  Sadly, that involves giving up a lot of my own time to study and prepare myself for what’s ahead.  The end goal may be a little ways off, but I’ve begun to realize what my determination and diligence now can do for me in the future.

And last, I feel like sometimes I just need to slow down and soak in the incredible awe-inspiring world that we live in, and the Creator of that world. When I look at the big picture, I realize that “my” time is really God’s time.  I’ve begun to realize the significance in my own life of stopping a minute or two, or three, or four to thank God for everything that he has blessed me with, and I do not do it enough.  After all, the greatest example of unselfishness I’ve ever seen is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.  He gave up his life so that we could have ours. Wow. And I can’t give up even 15 minutes of my day to tell him thanks?

Lately it’s been starting to dawn on me the incredible opportunities that I’ve been given by God and honestly, I don’t want those to go to waste.  

//Jesse//

Like it is your last.

So I’ve been given the opportunity to speak briefly to the Varsity Basketball guys as they prepare for district play.

I’ve been wondering what I could possibly say to help motivate them to play their best and for the glory of God alone.

Well I came across perhaps one of my favorite passages, Matthew 6:30-34:

30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

As I began to reflect on my own basketball career, I realized that often times I left too much on the table. Here Matthew writes “do not worry about tomorrow”, and often times I worried about the future more than the present.  I didn’t take the time to realize what God was doing in my life in that moment.

Honestly, I can relate this to the game of basketball.  Every game is a clean slate. Every game should be played like it is the last.  Giving everything you got every game can have incredible results.  It took me a while last year to realize it, and I still have not fully grasped the concept to the fullest.

Whether it be basketball, studying the Word, or reaching out to others, we need to give it our fullest everyday like it is the last time.

We aren’t guaranteed another day, or even another second; so we need to make the best of what we do have, the present.

The State of a Nation. Red Nation, that is.

Since the departure of Tracy McGrady in 2010, Rockets fans have had little to be excited about.  The buzz he brought to Houston was going to be hard to replace.

In the summer of 2011 aka the “Summer of LeBron”, Daryl Morey was hard at work trying to land a superstar that would recreate the excitement of the T-Mac era.  Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade, and even the King himself were all targeted by Morey to be the next face of the franchise.  You know the rest of the story, the “Big Three” teamed up in Miami and introduced the NBA to their “super team”. 

Morey again needed to set his sights on a new player.

As the 2011-2012 season drew to a close, the Rockets were absent from the postseason and the morale of Red Nation was at an all-time low.

Houston was touted as being a “front runner” in the Dwight Howard lottery of Summer 2012, so Morey did all he could to procure a package that Magic GM Rob Hennigan would see as a good deal.  

After months and months of the Dwightmare, Morey decided to look in a different direction.  Longtime Chicago backup center Omer Asik, and New York sensation Jeremy Lin were both restricted free agents who Morey nabbed. 

As Draft Day 2012 comes along the Rockets are sitting with three top-18 picks in the draft.  Surely the Rockets will pull of some sort of trade to grab a superstar at the last second.  After all, that has been Morey’s dream since the summer of 2011.  The Rockets surprisingly draft all three picks.

Jeremy Lamb. Royce White. Terrance Jones.

While these were three great young players, it was hardly a happy buzz around Houston.  Sure the Rockets had been able to get Asik and Lin in the offseason, but yet a superstar was no where to be seen.

Then Daryl Morey shocked the world.

Sending Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and others to Oklahoma City in exchange for 6th Man of the Year, James Harden.  The buzz around Houston was incredible. A superstar had landed in Clutch City.

As of January 2nd, 2012, James Harden is the 5th leading scorer in the NBA, proving himself to be one heck of a player.

Omer Asik is tied for third in the league in rebounds per game, sharing a tie with none other than the man that started the nightmare, Dwight Howard.

Rockets games are actually fun to watch now, and with Lin, Harden, Asik, and Co. continuing to play better together, the sky is the limit for this team.  

Im so pumped to see what will happen in Red Nation in the coming years.

Houston, we have liftoff.

//Jesse//

 

 

Two Zero One Three

Ladies and Gents, 2013 is upon us.  Whether we realize it or not each and every one of us is thinking of something they’d like to do better than they did in 2012.

Losing weight, making more money, or being a better person are common New Year Resolutions that are set to mark the start of the new year. Now I have never really ever had a New Year’s Resolution so I thought that 2013 would be a great year to start. 

College is an extraordinary thing. It is an incredibly fun time, but also forces you to think for yourself more than you’ve ever done in your life.  There are no parents to advise you on what to do, it’s just you and the consequences of your choices.

“Do I go do something fun, or do I stay in the room and study for this test in a couple days?”  

You and only you are responsible for the negative consequences for making the wrong decision.

In college you also get a chance to find your spiritual identity and make what you believe your own.  With the help of my buddy Christopher Mack, a faculty member within Baylor spiritual life, I have started to practice lectio divina as a way to take my relationship to another level. Growing up in church I have always been very great at knowing all the facts about the Bible, what it means to be a Christian, etc. but have often struggled with making that firm connection on a daily basis and really get to know Christ on a personal level.

I say all of that to tell you that I have 3 really important New Year’s resolutions:

1. Make better grades

2. Be a better friend, boyfriend, son, grandson, etc.

3. Connect with Jesus Christ on a deeper level than I did in 2012

The fact is I am never going to be the perfect student, the perfect person, or the perfect Christian. 

But I can strive to be the best. Here’s to an incredible 2013.

//Jesse//