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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Countdown: 9 Days to go (pottery and willow edition)

Fellow Travelers,

Here we are, 9 days until we leave for Portugal.

Random List of 9 things taken into space.

It got me thinking, 9 is such a strange number. It is so transitional. You never countdown from 9 to start anything, and you never say "I'm gonna give you to the count of 9!", no, no, no, it always must be the number before 10. I wonder, if numbers could think, if 9 would be frustrated with its placement? Watching "10" get all the glory, as 9 gets passed by. Do you know what the traditional 9th wedding anniversary gift is? Pottery and willow...really? And to make matters worse, sometimes people confuse 9 with an upside down "6", how embarrassing.

That is how 9 could feel about itself, or it could choose to see the value inherent in where it stands. Without 9, 10 would never be reached, and no one would ever go seeking in hide-n-seek! Without 9, every shuttle launch (when we had those), would be stuck at 10. It is just like the good book says,

...I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. I Cor 12:19 (msg)

9, you are important because you are part of something significant, like-wise, 10, you are only as important as you are, because of 9's role.

Dont get fooled into thinking you are doomed to be a 9. See the value in your place and in what you are part of, and you will find significance in all you do!

Happy Trails,

Monday, September 19, 2011

Countdown: 11 days (faithful and good)

Fellow Travelers,

Here we are with 11 days to go! It is amazing how even with it being so close, it still feels so surreal that we are leaving. Of course, the fact that we are not quite at 100% of support doesn't help, but the reality is, God has been so faithful and true to His word and promises, I really have no doubt that we will make it.

This weekend was our church's annual mission conference "World Mandate"!
It was an amazing time of refreshing worship and inspiring teaching. What stuck me was that even though we are already going, there is always more to give, and always more to gain from God! My faith was stirred to believe for transformation among the Portuguese friends we will live with, and that through our investment in other missionaries and ministers, we will truly impact the world!

I have been thinking lately about the past 2.5 years, and trying to sum it up. I keep coming back to 2 words, Faithfulness and Goodness. God has been so faithful and good. He has turned everything that seemed hard into something good and useful! And He has been faithful to take care of every need, and provide in some of the most surprising ways. (like giving us a landlord who "happens" to have a spare laptop to use when ours were stolen)
But those words also describe the people we have been blessed to walk with during this time. There have been people supporting us for 2.5 years, and we haven't even left yet! How is that for dedication, love, and faithfulness. And these aren't family members, these are just people who believe in us, and in what God has called us to, and we are humbled by their giving.

What I am struggle with now are all the "expectations" I put on myself for what should happen before we go. There are so many things I would like to do, and people I would like to see...too many. And to try to force it all would put un-needed stress and strain on my family. So I am once again relying on God for wisdom on what to prioritize, and I know He will not let us fail.

I am so blessed by you all, keep up the prayer, and lets see God do the miracle!

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let the countdown begin: 16 Days

Fellow Travelers,

It is hard to believe, in fact it feels very surreal to me, but we have arrived at the eve of what will be a very telling day in our journey to Portugal.

We have reserved tickets for a flight leaving Sept 30, just 16 days away. And tomorrow we make the final decision on whether or not to buy these tickets.

God initiated with us to act like we are leaving, and ever since then, things have not been the same. We have experienced God's provision and grace unlike any other time in this 2.5 year journey. And there is so much more to come, I just can't wait to see what happens next!

One thing that I have learned during this time, is that it is always better to trust and rely on God's promises then on what seems best. Faith for us has become so much more then a simple mental assent to a God in the heavens. Faith has become part of our lives, we have been forced to trust God and He has proven Him faithful, and in that process, we want to trust Him even more!

God has spoken over and over again that He will be glorified through this time, and at first, I thought I knew what that looked like. I had dreams of huge donors coming in out of nowhere and pushing us to 100% within a few days. And God may still do that...but what He HAS been doing is speaking to people for us, people who carry the same vision we do, but for whatever reason didn't feel led to give before, and He is bringing them to us, and as they hear His voice and obey, He is growing our support. That is glorious. That is God building our support, in ways that we could never do.

Tomorrow, whatever happens, we will do it in faith. We will not make our decision based on fact and "common sense", only wisdom from a living God can help us now, and that has already been promised!

Keep an eye out for more countdown,

Happy Trails,

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: Don't Get Suckered - How to survive college debt free and with your shirt

I just got finished reading "Don't Get Suckered" by Josh Lawson.
In DGS, you will find many helpful tips and skills for living a life debt free. The first half primarily deals with how to attend college without accruing debt, but the later half pertains to anyone, and has some excellent tools for living a life financially free from debt.

My initial reaction was one of regret. I graduated from college many years ago, and I had college debt. If I had been told all these things 12 years ago, how different would things have been. Even so, I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but definitely it will do the most good for someone who is still in high school. I would recommend though, if you are giving it to a high schooler, don't hand this to them and expect them to read and implement this lessons in this book on their own. The ideas shared are not the norm in our culture and it would be wise to walk through this book with them.

Despite the fact that it is too late for me to go through college debt free, there are still many tools and mindsets that I can use in my family today in this book. And Josh doesn't just share good information, he also delivers it with humor and without making it too serious. It is a fast read, but one that you will want to highlight and go over again and again as you set your financial life straight!

Don't get suckered into thinking you don't need what this book has, get it and read it today!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I let the boat do the work

Fellow Travelers,

The past month or so has been a really interesting time. We have seen God do amazing things, and He has called us to really rely on Him, more so then we probably have had to in our entire lives.

This morning I was just praying and thinking about how crazy it is, the way God has continually encouraged me to wait and trust Him to bring what we need. And then I had this hilarious realization...its like I am sailing:

And just like Bob, I am learning to let go of the shore, where I can feel in control, and I am can "see" fruit for "my" labor. But in the end I have to come to the same conclusion that Bob does, my secret is not that I am a good sailor, my secret is that I let the boat do all the work.

So as you see us sail off on our journey to Portugal, and beyond, all I can say is "Ahoy! I sail, I'm a sailor!" But only because I am on a really good boat.

Happy Trails,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's going down!

Fellow Travelers,

It has been quite awhile since I last sincere apologies for anyone who has been emotionally or physically crushed by my internet absence.

But you will be please to know that I am making a comeback and I have added a nice gadget that will allow you to follow my through your email! Yeah for you!

I have some other good news as well. Over the past 2 weeks God has been speaking some really exciting things. Actually He has been confirming things He first spoke almost 6 months ago!

We felt like God was telling us to "Act like we are leaving". We weren't sure what that meant at first, but as we prayed it became very clear that the time had come to step out in faith and (even though we were still only at 66% of our monthly budget) start preparing and planning on leaving Sept 30!

You read that correctly, we are just 6 weeks away from our target departure date...CRAZY!!!
For now, it is still a major faith step, mostly because we still need to raise $1600 in monthly and $38,000 in one-time support...but God has stirred our hearts to action, and we moving!

Throughout these past few months, God has been really speaking and showing His faithfulness, and because of that we are confident in Him and His ability to do a miracle and get us to Portugal, despite any shortcomings I may have.

Keep an eye out for more encouraging news!

Happy Trails!

Friday, April 8, 2011

as the world turns

ok so pay no mind to that title...I just had to put something there.

Fellow Travelers,

I have been reading this awesome book, and it talks about not letting your love grow cold. And one of the ways this happens is when bitterness and unforgiveness (google chrome thinks that is not a word?) is allowed take root in your heart. Now we all know that those are bad things, but a powerful statement the author makes is this:
The people who possess the kingdom of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other's faults.
That just really struck me. Something about the fact that he doesn't try to make it seem like it will be easy, and also that the goal is not to kind just for kindnesses sake. Rather he says that we have to "overcome" the faults of others, and that the result of doing this is not just making people feel good, but we possess the KINGDOM of GOD! That is totally worth it!

And what makes it even better is that we don't overcome these faults by our own will power, but by choosing to let God soften our hearts. By turning our hearts to God we allow His love to fill us, and that love is what helps us overcome each other's faults, and when we do that, we experience the Kingdom of God in the most real ways!

So I guess what I am taking away from this is that I do not want to let mt love grow cold, and that my best defense to is soak up as much of God's love as possible.

Heres to overcoming!

Happy Trials,


Friday, March 18, 2011

Smitty was right

Fellow travelers,

Over the past few weeks Elijah has really gotten into people's full names, and who they are in relation to their family.

So now instead of introducing himself as Elijah, it is Elijah Luke Whiting, and then he goes on to introduce his brother, Judah Benjamen Whiting. He loves to explain to me how I am his dad, and so and so is his friends dad, and Pop is my get the picture.

What I find fascinating about this is that it is such a clear picture of what we all are wanting: a place to belong, a sense of fitting in. He wants to know who he is, and he wants to figure out where everyone goes, and we all are seeking that. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo teach in "Growing Kids God's Way" that one of a father's most important jobs is to implant a sense of belonging and purpose. That really struck me. My sons need to know where they belong, and they will find it. Whether I teach them or not. The problem is, if I don't take the task myself, the person who teaches them may not be someone I would like. It could be their friends, or a TV show, or any number of other people who will fill that void and that is just scary.

So I have started being very deliberate in calling out not just who Elijah is as a person, or as a man of God. But calling him into who we are. As a Whiting family, and as members of the family of God. It is fun to be sitting there with Elijah and Judah and be able to say "Whiting men don't complain, we are thankful for what we have!". Sometimes they seem to get it, and many times they don't. But I know that their little hearts are soaking it up. And one day that sponge will pour out, and they will be confident of who they are, and where they belong...and that will make all the difference!

Happy Trails,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Team Whiting Adventure: Episode 1

Episode 1: Adventure at Chuck E. Cheese

So today was a Whiting Man Day. The boys and I set out for Chuck E. Cheese with a coupon for more coins then we could ever use, and a desire for fun.
Everything was going great. Judah was pretending to drive race cars and Elijah was busy putting 4 coins into games that only need one...but little did we know what wild times were ahead.

You see, Judah needed to go to the bathroom (Yeah for potty training!). Unfortunately, when I asked him if he needed to "sit down" or "stand up", he told me stand up...he should have told me sit down.
To save you a mental picture you would rather not see, lets just say that he ended up needing new pants, underwear and socks. And guess what dad forgot to bring? BINGO, the bag with extra clothes.

So here I am, in the bathroom with a boy sitting on a toilet, with no pants to wear (no clean pants), and my other son is out playing games. What would you do?
I know what I would do...because it is what I did. I went and asked if they had any lost and found clothes I could borrow. They did, a jacket. Thanks Chuck E Cheese lady. So I place the oversized jacket on Judah, just big enough to be acceptable, just short enough to be obvious that something is missing.

I grab Elijah and we walk across the parking lot to Burlington Coat Factory. We must have looked so strange, there I was walking with one son who had on a long-sleeve soccer jersey, shorts, and snow boots and another son wearing just a big jacket...yeah, we got some strange looks. 
I found the cheapest shorts I could, and picked up some Diego underwear (of course Elijah wanted me to get the Power Ranger ones). We pay, and as we are walking out the store I accidentally knock the cup of Chuck E Cheese coins and spill most of them on the sidewalk. I inform Judah (who has yet to be dressed) to not bend down to help, and Elijah and I quickly gather our booty.

We make it to the van, dress the boy, and return to Chuck E. Cheese for 10 more minutes of fun.
We finish our adventure at Wendy's (we did not get pizza at Chuck E. case you were wondering), where upon hearing that a friend of mine was sick, Elijah immediately says "Lets pray right now for him" which we do, and then head home for that is a great way to end an adventure.

Go Team Whiting!

Lesson of the story?


oh, and we have a lot of coins keep an eye out for Episode 2: Clash of the Skeeballs

Backstop of the Gospel

Fellow travelers,

What is the good news? If someone asked you right now, what would you say?
Even though I have been walking with God for many years, I still find myself sometimes fumbling for the right words. It usually is because my head and my heart can disagree on what the most important part is...

@Bill Johnson
the heart of the Gospel is love, passion, glory and we are called to go from "passion to passion". Discipline is part of it. It is the "backstop of the Gospel". It is there to help protect us. But it is not the focus.

When we offer people a system of values for living a better life, we are shortchanging them. The good news is not that we can live a good life, and be nice people, who live nice lives...the good news is that we have a loving father in heaven, God, and He loves us with a passion that cannot be explained except that He was willing to give His son, Jesus, to die for us. Because of that sacrifice, our mistakes and sins are forgiven, and we can have a full relationship with God!

I think sometimes I don't "feel" like sharing the gospel with people, because I only think about the discipline, the rules. I need to keep my eyes on the prize, because when I do I share from a place of passion and excitement!

So, what are we offering people? Am I living a life of passion, love, and glory? That is something that sounds good to me, that is something I can get excited about.

Happy Trails,

Monday, March 7, 2011

I wanna be in the light

Fellow travelers,

There is this tiny traveling carnival that has come to our fair city. It is one of those 5 ride and a steal your money game places. As I was driving by it this afternoon I just thought how run-down and scary it looked...I was like "I ain't taking my kids there!" But then this evening I was driving by it again, and it had transformed into a lighted wonderland! The shadows hid the ugliness and the bright lights attempt to pull you into the "fun".

The light shows things for what they really are. Darkness is excellent at covering up things you don't want seen. Sometimes you can even use a little light to cast shadows right where you want them. But in the light of day, there is no hiding the blaring faults and problems.

It just made me realize that I do that myself. Try to create the illusion of being all together and perfect, when I really am in need of Jesus and His forgiveness just as much as anyone. I love that old (I can't believe I can say this song is old...what does that make me?) DC Talk song, "In the Light".

I wanna be in the light, as you are in the light, I wanna shine like the stars in the heavens.

It is hard to be vulnerable, but if we live in the light, we allow God to bring the change we need. If we live in the shadows, we end up getting used to the darkness, and start to fear the light.

I don't want to be afraid of God's light...I want to embrace it and all it entails...because I know I can trust God to not just reveal my problems, but help me deal with them.

I hope I see you there...

Happy Trails,


aka Jesus Freak

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Good quotes

"Faith begins where man's power ends"

"Whatever is not from faith is sin"

"Peter walked on Jesus' invitation to come"

"Our first call is to know Him"

"Now faith, what are you standing on now?"

-Bill Johnson

happy trails

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Put your behind in your past

Fellow travelers,

I just finished watching "Secretariat". It was a good movie, and it got me thinking about the Lion King, where Pumbaa incorrectly quotes Timon and says "You gotta put your behind in the past". I love that! There is something right on about taking responsibility for dealing with your past, and not expecting others to do it. In Secretariat they have a similar message. Face your challenges, run your race to win (I like that one...go Paul!), if you don't win, press on, and keep running. 

Combining these thoughts I think is important. I was reminded of James 1: 2-3 where we are told to 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

Challenges, and trials are used by God to grow our faith. And as our faith grows we gain perseverance. Trust me, we know how hard it can be to consider trials "pure joy". But as one who has made it through some trials I can tell you, on the other side it is really fun. Being able to look back and see God's faithfulness is one of the most rewarding things EVER!

So what is the point? How did a warthog and a race horse get us to this thought? I don't know...perhaps it is because in order to race to win, we must have the proper attitude during the race (joyful) and if we are to even get in the race we have to be able to trust God with the past (where your behind goes) and look forward...He is I AM...He is here, with you now. 

Happy Trials,


Friday, February 25, 2011


Fellow travelers,

Don't you love it when you see something or hear something and it reminds you of a truth or something you forgot, and it rejuvenates you?

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the song "He's Alive", by Laura Hacket and Cory Asbury.
Listen to it here

What I like about it is that even though it is simple, not too many lyrics, they are full of powerful truths.

There is no power in heaven or hell 
that could keep me from the love of the Father on His throne

Chains of sin can't hold me down
Even death itself can't keep me in the ground

Death where is your sting?
Grave where is your victory?

I love the picture painted by the words "chains of sin can't hold me down" I can just see chains being busted off me, like Samson breaking the chains. Or these "even death itself can't keep me in the ground", death, the one thing we all have to face, the greatest fear for most people is exposed for what it is now, a sheep in wolves clothing. 

Satan wants us to think that sin and death are still in control. That we are subject to them. But we have overcome, by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. 

He's alive now I'm alive. He's alive now I'm alive.

Because the power of death is broken, we can now walk out in the power of God like we were meant to.
So much happened when Jesus died and rose again. We are all like sleeping giants, capable of so much, through the power of God now available to us. We just have to be awakened to it!

Happy Trails!


Sunday, February 20, 2011


Fellow travelers,

I was laying on the couch this morning, tired, after going to bed late last night, and I had this thought...this scary thought:

"I need to go to bed earlier"

What? Where did that come from? That is when it hit much as I enjoy hanging out with my friends at night, I really want to be able to get up in the morning and not feel tired. This was a novel idea for me. But it made sense. If you have 2 things you like, and they come into conflict with each other, you have to decide which one you will give preference to.

As usual this is not some new idea I came up with, but it didn't stop there, the sermon at church today had a common theme, "if you want to do something, you have to plan to do it". Be intentional.

And a major part of being intentional is having the right perspective. My boy Elijah wants to be better at being nice (and he is getting better). But every night he tells me that it is hard, and that he doesn't want it to be hard. He won't listen to me when I try to encourage him that he is doing better. He can't seem to accept the fact that it will get easier to not hit or be mean to his brother, and that he will get better at obeying mom and dad right away. And the fact that he is in this rut of seeing it as hard, actually makes it harder. His negative perspective will hold him back. In fact,  in the end, without the proper perspective all our attempts to change things will fall through, because they will not have a solid foundation  for "why" we do it.

I also gained some more appreciation for my parents from this. I realize now that just because they were "mom and dad" did not mean they did not like things like video games, and hanging out late with friends. They just knew that in order to be at their best in the morning, they had to go to bed.

So take a look at your life. Is there something you have been trying to start, or be consisten at, and you are finding it hard? Check to see if you have healthy, appropriate perspective for the why you want to do it, and then be intentional.

Happy Trails,


Friday, February 18, 2011

Freedom part II

Fellow travelers,

Just wanted to share this one thought I had...kind of a add-on to my last post.

What sets our walk with God apart from other religions is that God values the freedom of choosing to obey and He empowers us to make these choices. When we mess up He is there to help us back up. Therefore we are even free to make mistakes, because we know that there is always hope beyond them!

Truly we are free!

Happy Trails,


Thursday, February 17, 2011

freedom vs Freedom

Fellow travelers,

Have you ever thought about freedom? Freedom gets thrown around a lot, and depending on who is using it, its meaning can change radically.

I sometimes see freedom being used as an excuse. An excuse to say what they want to say (even if it hurts others). Or an excuse to do what they want to do (hey I'm free to eat what I want, drink what I want, or do whatever I want to my body).

Other times freedom becomes a trap. People scare you into doing something, so you don't lose your freedom. You see this all over the place in politics, scare tactics, meant to bully people into voting for them.

Before you get too judgmental, hear me out. The point I want to make is that freedom is not something we came up with here in America. It is not a man-made thing at all. God is the author of freedom, in fact He tells us:

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

God created freedom, freedom is a promise from God for all who believe and love Him! 
Go God!

But wait! If that is true, then why do so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ live under tyranny and without what we consider some basic freedoms? Could it be that the freedom God promises is something other then what we find in the Constitution?

I am reminded of the lyrics to a song called "Red and Black" in "Les Miserables" 

It is time for us all

To decide who we are...
Do we fight for the right
To a night at the opera now?
Have you asked of yourselves
What's the price you might pay?
Is it simply a game
For rich young boys to play?

Jesus died for us, He consider the cost, and thought us worthy of His life. But was it so that we could do what we want, have our fun and still get into heaven? No!

He knew that we were stuck, and so He bought our freedom from sin. We had no choice before, and now we do. We can choose to not sin, we can choose to flee from temptation because the Spirit of God is in us. 

"God has led you away from danger, giving you freedom" 
Job 36:16a

This choice is the freedom we are promised. Laws change, governments fail, but God's law is forever, and His authority is never shaken. We can proudly stand up for our freedom to choose righteousness over sin. 

For we have overcome, by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our Satan, bite the dust (Thanks Carmen)

Happy Trails,


Monday, February 14, 2011

Seasons of life

Fellow travelers,

Today was a good day. The sun was shining, the weather was awesome. The boys and I made Valentines Day cards, and we got to play outside. Then to top it off, I was able to go on a great date with my beautiful wife...BONUS!

It is on days like this, when things go well, life is full, and I am happy that it is easy to see how good God is.

It is the other days, the ones where the boys are constantly fighting, or crying, or both, and the car breaks down, and asteroids are hitting the earth...thats when it is not so easy to feel like things are good...those are the days when you need something to rely on. 

A good friend of mine once gave me a good way to look at life, in regards to good times and bad. The good times are like seasons of rain. The ground is rich, and there is life everywhere. The bad times are like the droughts. The ground is caked, and barely anything grows. 

Just like Joseph did with Egypt, we must store up during the times of plenty. Faith can be stored. You can hold on to the faithfulness and goodness of God, and when the seasons turn dry, you have something to help you through. And while that can be difficult, you will find that faith is like wine. As you let it age it matures, and gets fuller and more delicious. Faith that has been tested actually satisfies more then the faith that comes directly out of the good times. 

There is something mysterious about it, but when we press in, in faith, to God in the dry times, and sometimes we have to dig deep, but when we do, those become the times we remember. Those sweet moments of oasis in the desert come to define us, and help us navigate the rough times beyond. 

So no matter what sort of season you are in, take full advantage of it. Drink in the sweet water of the rainy season. Fill up your cisterns. And if you are in the drought, remember the faithfulness of God. He never changes, and you will find that He is even sweeter in the desert. 

Happy Trails,


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Fellow travelers,

Tomorrow is the big V not victory day. I'm talking about Valentines Day. A day of frolicking through the fields of love and sugar comas. And also a great chance to take your wife on a nice date (SCORE!)

OK, so why do we take these great ideas, like love, or thankfulness, or hard-work, or trees; and relegate them to one day. I know the idea is that by having a holiday in honor of something we immortalize it and make it part of our daily lives...right. Who spends their days thinking about the holiday that just past? Instead of creating a system to help us keep the important things in front of us, we have created a way for us to be ADHDed by the blitzkrieg of holiday sales, TV specials, and give-a-thons.

Now, I am not saying that I think we should do away with holidays (my goodness NO! What would I do without my Thanksgiving pie, or my Christmas presents?)

But I am saying that if we are to in this world and not of it, we need to show them God's way of remembering love, joy, peace, thankfulness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. It is not by having a party for each thing once a year, or by sending funny cards to each other.

God calls us to live out these values daily, but not under our own power. By living in community, and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, we live in a way that confounds the world, and makes people ask "What is up with him?" 

Or as in the immortal words of that awesome Newsboys song, "Shine, make em wonder what ya got, make em wish that they were not, on the outside looking bored"

Happy Trails,


enjoy! oh and if you did not click the link really should.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Think about it...

watch this first
Fellow travelers,

Did you notice that this ad was 30 seconds of funny, but not much else? I have been paying attention to commercials recently, trying to figure out what EXACTLY they were saying. Most of the time, not much. The ones that do contain a lot of info, are usually boring.

This probably is not a news flash, but if ad companies are spending billions of dollars on ads that don't have much content, but plenty of laughs, then they must think it works. What does that say about us?

I know personally I tend to make decisions based on how I feel about things. Since I know this, I try to use facts to help shape my feelings (Know Thyself...thanks famous Greek dude). Yet, I am still amazed at times at how sometimes I want something just because I thought the commercial was funny.

And so I had this revolutionary idea. What if we all just thought things? What if whenever we saw a commercial we didn't just laugh at the guy getting bad counseling from a former drill instructor, but we also said "man that is funny...but it doesn't mean the insurance is good". Or if whenever we see some show that spouts out some lie, we didn't just sit there and assume everyone knows it is a lie...we call it out, "hey, that is so wrong", like the boy calling out the naked emperor. That is something we all know...but until we say it, it can be kept in our thoughts and not actually affect our actions...

So guard your mind, think about things, and call out absurdities. You will be surprised at how much more you will laugh, and how much less you will persuaded by other peoples attempts to get you to do things.

Happy Trails,


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Process

Fellow travelers,

A good friend of mine shared this with me, and I thought it was well worth passing along. (Thanks Billy)

Graham Cooke pointed out in a teaching that God takes us through a process:
  1. Declaration:  He declares what he will do in our lives. (Abraham:  a great nation/a son, Jospeh:  the dreams, Moses: deliver Israel, etc.)
  2. Distress:  He makes it look like the declaration will never happen.  (Abraham: barrenness, Joseph:  sold into slavery, Moses:  40yrs in the desert/Pharaoh's hard heart, etc.)
  3. Development:  He build's character and grows our faith when we trust despite the circumstances, so that we are in it for him and not the promise.  (Abraham:  great faith, Joseph: integrity/forgiveness, Moses: boldness/confidence, etc.)
  4. Display:  He fulfills his promise and does what he said he would do in a way that we least expect.  (Abraham:  child in old age, Jospeh:  2nd in command of Egypt, Moses:  the plagues and red sea, etc.)
What is so cool about this, is that we have totally seen God doing this in us over the years, even before we started this journey to moving overseas 2 years ago. 

I think that we are currently in step 3, hopefully moving on to step 4...but I have a feeling that this is not the kind of thing you go through only once. God has so many promises and dreams He wants to fulfill in us, I don't want to get comfortable where I am, and not let God take me further. 

Where are you in this process? I know how hard steps 2 and 3 can be...but take heart that the Display is on the way. Habakkuk 2:2-3 says:

2 Then the LORD replied:
   “Write down the revelation 
   and make it plain on tablets 
   so that a herald[a] may run with it. 
3 For the revelation awaits an appointed time; 
   it speaks of the end 
   and will not prove false. 
Though it linger, wait for it; 
   it[b] will certainly come 
   and will not delay

God does not ever let His promise come back void...and that includes human error. He knows us, and He knows that we will have set backs, but God is not in a hurry. Our salvation is being worked out, our faith has to be tended like a garden, and He is he gardener. He knows when to prune, and when to leave the ground fallow. He also knows when to water, and how much sunlight we need. 

I hope this was as encouraging for you as it was for me. 

Happy Trails,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On This Day

Fellow travelers,

On this day, you were loved. You were thought about all day long, and even all night.

On this day, the entire universe was preserved in perfect order, all the stars, planets, black holes, nebulae where kept spinning, expanding, and contracting, just for you.

On this day, you breathed air, felt wind, and walked upon ground that was created just for you.

On this day, you caused angels to sit on the edge of their seat, guessing what you would do.

On THIS day, your mistakes, your mishaps, your misspoken words were all covered by the sacrifice of Jesus, and they all are being turned to good.

On this day, make sure you remember that you are valuable, and that you are remembered and loved like this...everyday!

Happy Trails,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For it pleased our Father

Fellow travelers,

In Ted Dekkers "The Circle Series", he describes this future world where the Spiritual is made plain to the natural. In it those who are not "saved" have scabs all over their bodies, and they smell rotten. To be cleansed you must dive into one of the pools of Elyon and die, breathe in the blood red water. At first there is pain, and fear, but it quickly turns into exhilaration and excitement as you realize that you are not dead, but rather more alive then you ever thought you could be!

I got this picture today of God smother me with His love, like when my boys cover me with the couch pillows and cushions. They keep pile them on top, even though they can no longer see me. It gets to the point where even as I reach up, all I find are more pillows. God was saying He wants to cover me so deep in His love that even if I were to reach out for something else, all I would find is His love.

In both of these thoughts the main idea is being completely surrounded and enveloped by God and His love. God is an all or nothing God. He will not accept only part of us, His passion is to see us WHOLLY His, and wholly made whole. (lots of wholliness) He does not rest until we are completely saturated with Him, inside and out.

So dive in, let His love fill your lungs, and just when you think they will burst, you will find yourself surrounded by a sea of cushions, floating there you will be completely and totally at a loss, because you will be lost in Him.

Happy Trails,


Monday, February 7, 2011

Couple Thoughts

Fellow travelers,

I had a couple thoughts I wanted to share this fine evening/almost morning.
Janice and I were talking about faith the other night and I was reminded of Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

And I noticed something I hadn't thought about before. "Faith is confidence in what we hope for", this is not revolutionary, but it hit me that faith works best when we know what we are believing for. Duh, you might say, but think about it. How many times do we ask God for something, or say we are standing in faith for God to move in a situation, and we really don't have any idea and what exactly we want. We might have a general desire, for God to "heal" this, or "restore" that, but I wonder if God likes it if we shoot for more exact things. Not in a testing way, but in a I-know-what-I-want-and-I'm-not-afraid-to-ask-for-that way. I think we forget that we are God's kids, and kids are not afraid to ask their parents for exactly what they want. If Elijah wants pizza, he does not want just any pizza, he wants it a certain way, and he expects me to make it that way. Not because he is manipulative, or testing, but because he knows I love him, and that I like to make his pizza without sauce, lots of cheese, pepperoni, and no crust.

Jesus tells us that if we, who are evil, no how to give our children good things, then how much more will our heavenly Father who is perfect give us great things, to those who ask.

So, whatever you are praying for now, get specific, trust God, that He is good like He says He is, and that He can and will satisfy your needs with good things. 

OK, I was going to talk about how blessed I was by Greg Jennings interview at the end of the Super Bowl, the first thing out of his mouth is "to God be the glory" and after that he only would praise the rest of this team, honor his coach, and then end it again with glory to God...nice, but I think this is long enough.

Good night, good luck, and Happy Trails


Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Paradox of Love

Fellow travelers,

Have you ever heard of the Triple Point?
It is this crazy thing where if you have the right pressure and temperature you can have all three phases of a substance at the same time coexisting. As in, water, ice, and water vapor all at the same time in equilibrium. Weird I know!

Check it out 

I remember learning about this in High School (Thanks Dr. Bah!) And even then it reminded me of God. That somehow He is 3 distinct people, yet He is one, and here we have in nature an example of that.

Cool huh?

Well of course that is not all. Today Janice and I had a chance to talk with some friends about this past couple years, and we kept talking about how hard it has been, and how good it has been. God seems to like paradoxes. Taking us through times of extreme faith testing, but during those times we often experience God's grace and love in extreme ways as well.

Check out this quote from Graham Cooke and his "Nature of God" teaching:

And Beloved, we are learning to live in the paradox of God – to know that He is consistent, but He is also unpredictable.  He is consistent in His nature – you always know where you are with God, but you seldom know what He is going to do next.  But you always know where you are with God because He never changes.

We will walk this line all our lives, the more we choose to follow God the more we will have to balance His consistent nature, and his unpredictable actions. 

But that is where the adventure lies 

So embrace this paradox of love, the hard and the good, because it is in THAT place that we experience ALL of God, in equilibrium, just like that triple point.

Happy Trails,


Here is the full teaching on the Nature of God...if you want
Part 1 

Part 2

Sunday, January 30, 2011

which came first?

Fellow travelers, 

We were cooking hot dogs over a fire this evening, and enjoying the glorious weather. As I was sitting there I just started to soak in the sights, sounds, and wonderful smells. And I began to wonder, do I like the smell of a fire because God made fire smell good? Or do I like it because it was made to smell good for me?

It got me thinking about tons of other things I enjoy as well, such as: I love looking up at the stars, the taste of popcorn, laughing with my friends, spending time with my beautiful wife. 
Normally I would just think that I like those things because of the way God made me. But I remembered the words of Jesus when asked about the Sabbath. He told the religious leaders that man was not made for the Sabbath, but rather the Sabbath for man. If God created something big like an entire day dedicated to rest and rejuvenation, just because He knows that we need it, then why not all these other things as well?
Doesn't it say, that EVERY good and perfect gift comes from God?

So it is not just happenstance that I like popcorn, or that I feel close to God when I look up at a starry night sky. And it is not coincidence that I love my wife. God created the world for Himself. He made us to interact and love Him, and we were made in His image. Therefore He knew exactly what to create that would bless and please us. WOW!
I like that.

Go out there and enjoy what was made for you!

Happy Trails,


Squirrels in my pants

This last summer we were blessed to be in Keystone, CO with many of our friends for a conference. While we were there we discovered this amazing show. When I say amazing I mean "so good that it reminds of the cartoons I watched when I was kid" amazing, that is pretty good!

It is called Phineas and Ferb, and it has music, humor, slapstick, and all kinds of zany off-the-wall antics. (I love using the word "antics").

So, for this short post, I wanted to leave you with a little taste of the awesomeness that is "Phineas and Ferb"

Friday, January 28, 2011

There and Back Again

Fellow travelers,

As I was driving home from dropping Janice off at a hotel in Dallas  (so that I did not have to drive her at 3:00am to get to her flight tomorrow). I realized something...I really miss her.

I know, I know, that is not a truly revolutionary thing, but it is something that even though I knew, I had to learn it again. And that got me thinking...

How many things out there do "know"? Yet, we continually are having to re-learn them again. 
For instance, we constantly seem to forget how much we appreciate certain the garbage man (man, when he doesn't come, we REALLY miss him), or a close friend, or even a random co-worker we barely know yet their absence affects our world.

Point being, we seem to use much of our time re-learning things over again. Why? Why do we have this built in reset, its like after a little while things start to build up and our minds have to reset, and we have to hit it on the top, or blow into it...just make sure the connections are clean (those of you who had an original NES know what I am talking about). 

I guess if I had to make a hypothesis it would be this. By allowing us to forget things, that we know, it makes things fresh, as I was thinking about how awesome Janice is, it really made me want to see her, and now, as I wait until Tuesday for that to happen, it will make the reunion that much sweeter. So go God for that!

So if you are finding your life a little stagnant, maybe you need to relearn some things, go watch Princess Bride again and be laugh until you are mostly that book you loved (you know, that one you read in High School?).  Send your spouse on a nice vacation somewhere for a couple days so you can miss him/her (note: I am not suggesting you do this without their consent, that could get hairy)
Whatever you do, make sure you take time to enjoy it...because you never know when you will get to relearn it again!

Happy Trails,


Enjoy these Farsides I relearned

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Elijah Luke Whiting

Elijah Luke Whiting

Born to be free
Full of honesty
Bright eyed and hopeful
A ball of loving energy

Passion and grace
All in one place
Laughing and smiling
Joy on your face

Let me tell you why I love Elijah. He is light, brilliant, he can light up a room and bring joy to all who are in it. He loves people, and he wants to treat them kindly. He hurts when you hurt, and laughs when you laugh. His young heart grows with each new friend he makes. He is quick, and he can tell when you are trying to get away with less then the best. He is quick to pray, and quick to play, and I love that those rhyme ;) At 4 he is already showing glimpses of who God has made him to be, and I am in awe that God entrusts me with this precious life.

We Love You Son

Happy Trails,
Luke Father of Elijah

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We can't walk straight...

Fellow Travelers, 

Before you read this, watch this video (if you have already seen it, then feel free to move on)

I don't know about you, but I found this story extremely fascinating. Not only is it random that as humans we are incapable of walking, swimming, or driving in a straight line without a point of reference, but I think it is a purposeful thing.

Speaking of purposeful:
I watch the State of the Union address tonight with my LifeGroup (a small group of friends who all love Jesus and each other, and who share life together). I will leave the political commentary to the commentators (its job right?) But I will say this, I was struck by something that I had never noticed before. Out of all the political partisan and bipartisan rhetoric there was one thing that EVERYONE in the room agreed on totally, when President Obama said that despite our differences and bickering, we all are happy to be Americans, and not in some other nation. And it hit me, I felt the emotions rise, and at the same time I felt a tug, something remind me that while I love America, this is not my hope. I am not waiting for the government to lead me down a straight path...
now the connection

You see we all HAVE to have something show us the way. If we don't, we walk in circles and end up walking into trees. For most people they look to their government, or some man-run institution,  for that point of reference. But God created that need in us, so that we would look higher. Everything changes, except God. He is the only light that does not fade, and He will not lead us astray. 

Ever since I saw this story, I have been in awe of how we all have a built in need for something to guide us, and not just in our hearts.

Something to think about as you go...where are you looking for your reference?

Happy Trails, 

Monday, January 24, 2011

What if?

Fellow tavelers, 
This is a is large...very large
When my brother and I were kids and we would start asking the age-old question: What if...? 
 What if I get sick? What if my teacher hates me? What if I don't like it? etc
My dad would always retort with this: 
"What if a battleship fell on your head?"
That usually got us quiet...because even though the answer to that is quite simple (you would die, in case you were wondering) it would remind us that "what if" is a tricky question, and usually pointless.

But today my mind was racing with thoughts and ideas, and many of them centered around things God could do...and I realized, the "what if" question could be very inspiring!

What if God brought complete healing to my family?

What if God cured my disease?

What if He provided all our support in a month?

What if I saw an entire nation saved in a day?

Thinking like that excites you! Those questions drive you to God, to ask Him for the impossible, to dream!
God loves a dreamer, He created us so that in our minds we can escape the "rules" we live in. It took dreamers to imagine going to space, or flying, or communicating with people half-way around the world instantly. And those dreams aren't even close to the amazing ones God has in store for us!

So the next time you find yourself in a slump, like a battleship has landed on your head and is keeping you down...start asking God the what if's, and dare to dream!

Happy Trails,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Laughter is medicine for the soul

Fellow Travelers,

As I was contemplating what I wanted to share with you, all I could think of was how good laughing is.
Not only is it proven to increase your life expectancy, but it is in the Bible that a happy heart is good medicine (Prov 17:22, go ahead and look it up)

So here are some hilarious things to read, watch, or listen to:


Brian Regan: One of the funniest comedians out there, and he is CLEAN! You can't get better then that.
Here are 2 of his best sketchs: Pop Tarts and Flying

Things. I. See. This is a blog by a guy named Justin Jaksha...he has some hilarious stuff
Check it out

Tim Hawins: This is a Christian comedian, he is just slap your momma funny
Bed time prayer and Favorite Verse

Enjoy your Sunday!

Happy Trails,

Friday, January 21, 2011

Work in progress

Fellow travelers,

I have been writing this blog for a few days now, and I am really enjoying the process. I find that I do better if I can say or write my thoughts out. I am an external processor, and so this is a great way for me to go through ideas and thoughts that have been running in my head.

That being said, I still feel like this is a work in progress. As you may have noticed some of my posts are a mixture of silly and serious, some short and sweet, some longer and less sweet.

What is interesting to me though is that I am finding some correlation between this blog and my life. I find that as I am getting older I am getting more predictable in some areas, and less so in others. Just when I think I got something figured out, it changes, and sometimes when I am ready for change, things stay the same.

Being a work in progress is an essential part of our walk with God I think. It forces us to rely on Him. It means that we can't comfortable and just watch life go by, if we want to have the full life God intended. I desire to live that life, and let me tell you, embracing that "work in progress" spirit can be tough. It implies that there is a goal to be reaching for, and that means you have to hold onto hope through it all, believe that where you are now, is not where you will be tomorrow. It is hard to see that sometimes, but I have seen enough lives changed and hearts healed to know that it is true.

So thank you for starting this "work" with me. I hope that as I grow so will my ability to share any wisdom, humor, or revelation I receive along the way.

Happy Trails!