Monday, August 11, 2008

...I'm Alive...I Promise

So....I made a comment on my last blog post ( May...) that I was "back".  Well, I lied. This has been an intense, crazy, stressful, refreshing, and amazing summer and somewhere in that craziness, I forgot to blog.  A good friend once said that blogging was like working out, once you fall out of practice and gets incredibly difficult to get back into it.  But I am going to try.

First....I GOT MARRIED THIS SUMMER!!!  I have had the priv
elage to be married to my best friend Julie for over 2 weeks.  I can not wait to see what God has in store for us in the future.  I am the luckiest guy in the world to get to walk alongside this amazing woman for the rest of my life.

...I will add some more wedding and honeymoon pictures in the future

P.S  I highly recommend the Hotel Villa Rolandi for a honeymoon...IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!

Ok, I am going to head to bed.  But I am going to try and get back to this now...hopefully.  

...I have posted a few times this summer as a contributer on the Katy Budget Books Blog....check it out.

Friday, May 9, 2008

...done and done

Well, I have been away from the blog-o-sphere for apologies to my vast readership.  
The past few weeks have been crazy.  I got a new job and finished up my first year at my blog had to take a back seat.  But, now I am back and can now officially say that I am done with my first year of seminary.  So in honor of this monumental occasion, I am going to give my observations on seminary...

  • Seminary is not a requirement for can be used immensely without ever going to seminary.  People who say otherwise are arrogant, a seminary recruiter, or just dumb. Seminary is a useful tool for equipping a person for ministry...NOT A REQUIREMENT.
  • It is physically impossible to read everything that is assigned....that might be a slight exaggeration
  • It pays off to get to know professors...I know I should have learned this in undergrad, oops.  It was amazing to hear some of the professors stories and experiences.  If anyone knows Dr. Horrell, ask him about his time in will blow your mind.
  • Have a life outside of seminary.  Don't let seminary become your life...I had to learn this from experience.  I learned more when I enjoyed the other parts of my life.
  • Be involved in ministry during seminary.  Studying theology is great.  But understanding how that knowledge of theology actually plays out in life is even better.
  • Take Horrell for Trinitarianism
  • Ask lots of questions.  It is easy to take everything being taught as "gospel"...ask questions and engage.  
Seminary has been a great experience overall.  I just wanted to give a few of my observations.
Take what you want and leave the rest.

I am back readers...check back often for new stuff.


Saturday, April 26, 2008

...nerves and excitement

Well, I teach today for the first time at The Gathering which is the sunday morning event for the student ministry that I work with at Trinity Chapel.  I am so excited about this opportunity and what God has in store for Julie and I in the future.  But I am also a little nervous because this is such a huge step and a brand new adventure.  But I know that God is there and I know that this is going to be a wild, fun, and exciting ride.

Pray that I continually seek Christ during this adventure and that I never lose sight of Him amongst the business.  Pray that this ministry can be a place where true community happens and that lives are changed by the Gospel.  Pray that God will do His thing...because thats all I can ever ask for.

Friday, April 25, 2008

...amazing grace

My favorite hymn of all time is Amazing Grace and I may have to admit that it could be my favorite song.  This wasn't the grace until recently, as I have been diving in and trying to understand what exactly grace entails. (see previous blog on grace)  And every time I do, I leave saying, "thats amazing".  That old song has been sung for a very long time and I think for most of us it has lost its meaning, but I pray that we slow down and hear the words.  I pray that we hear the passion in the words "Amazing Grace".  Thats my challenge to all of us...hear the words and fall in love with the free gift of grace.

Amazing Grace (How sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ'd!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snare,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall profess, within the vail,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be for ever mine.

...mans guide to mystery (follow-up)

Yesterday, I wrote my take on the Top 5 mystery authors for men and posted it on this blog and on the Katy Budget Books blog.  The author that toped my list was Harlan Coben...and this is where it gets funny.  My mom owns a bookstore and guess who stopped by today to sign copies of his latest book for stock at the store...Harlan Coben.  My mom printed off a copy of my blog entry, showed it to him and he signed it and said that "this is the best blog ever".  So now I have a celebrity following.  I thought that was pretty funny considering I just randomly wrote it yesterday.  


Thursday, April 24, 2008

...a man's guide to mysteries

This post can also be found at the Katy Budget Books blog where I am a new contributer.

Several guys have asked me, what's a good book that will keep me entertained throughout?  They usually go on to say that they don't like to read or get bored easily because its never is as good as 24 or Gladiator.  This pains me because there are some amazing books out there that men of all ages will absolutely love....and ladies, they would make great gifts as well...and you might like them too.  These authors are just the tip of the iceberg and I will add to this list regularly.  Read on and enjoy.

A Man’s Guide to Mysteries

 1. Harlan Coben (stand alones)

…Tell No One, Just One Look, The Woods

 The current King of suspense…bar none.  Coben has already claims the top 2 spots on my list because he is just that good.  I would argue that he is among the best to ever master this genre.  His books beautifully weave epic suspense, brilliant humor, dry sarcasm, and fun into a wild ride.  If you have never read Coben…I only have one question…why not?  His absolute best is Tell No One…check it out and I promise that you will be amazed.

 2. Harlan Coben (Myron Bolitar Series)

…Drop Shot, Fade Away, Back Spin

 Really anything that Harlan Coben writes is gold and the Myron Bolitar series is no exception.  This is where Coben started and there are some genuine gems.  The main character, Myron Bolitar, is an arrogant sports agent who winds up in some very interesting (…to say the least) situations.  The books are funny, great for guys (…honestly, Coben transcends all gender gaps), and keep you guessing the entire time.

 3. Vince Flynn (Mitch Rapp Series)

…Transfer of Power, Separation of Power, The Third Option

 This is the author that ignited the spark and made me love to read again after I rebelled against my mom (…yeah, I was a wild child and rebelled by saying that I hated to read…yeah, I’m a dork) in junior high.  Flynn’s run of masterpieces are built around the character of Mitch Rapp.  Rapp is a CIA assassin that must protect America by taking the war on terrorism right to the terrorists and it makes for an exciting thrill ride.

Plus, he is the creative consultant for the tv show, 24...maybe you have heard of it.  And I say this with the most respect to Jack Bauer but Mitch Rapp would kick the crap out of him.

 4. Brad Thor (Scott Harvath Series)

…Lions of Lucerne, Path of the Assasin, Blowback

 Cast from a similar mold as Vince Flynn, Thor builds his books around Secret Service agent Scott Harvath.  Harvath has killed his share of terrotists…just with his own unique flair.  Plus, the author’s name is Thor…that guarantees that it is going to be great for guys.

 5. Old School John Grisham

…The Firm, A Time to Kill, Pelican Brief  and The Partner

 Let me first say that I really am not a big fan of Grisham’s newer stuff.  Its good but nowhere near where it was when he first defined the genre of legal thriller.  Basically, he “jumped the shark” with some of his random recent stuff and hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Partner, or The Pelican Brief.  I highly recommend Grisham and I promise that he will keep you engaged and thinking until the very last page.  His new stuff is good but his old stuff is phenomenal.

Thats my thoughts...check back soon for more recommendations.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

...going green

Even though the concept of "going green" has now become nothing more than one more sales pitch for corporate America...I am on board.  I have been thinking about it for awhile but I am here to announce that...I am "going green".  I am not really sure what this will look like yet but I know that the first thing that I am going to do is set up the apartment that Julie and I are going to be living in with an energy provider that uses all renewable energy like Green Mountain Energy.  This will be a process...I drive a truck for example...but I am going to take steps such as walking to work from the new apartment.

I decided this because of Earth Day...I felt it was time.

More details to come...

Does anyone have good ideas about how to go "green"?  I would welcome your thoughts. 

...fresh fruit batidos

It has been a few days since I last posted.  It has been nuts between new jobs and seminary and I just have not had the time to sit down and write a good post.  But have no fear...I'm back.  And I am back with one of my all-time favorite recipes.

I have a confession to make...I am an INTENSE sweet tooth.  It doesn't matter if its cookies, cakes, pudding, ice cream, or fruit...if its a dessert, I will eat it.  It is so bad that when I went on a cruise this summer, I would order 2 desserts for dinner. Hmmm...this may explain why I am out of shape?  Maybe I should explore that sometime.

But now I want to pass on one of my favorite dessert recipes and it is even [relatively] healthy. It is a recipe from Bobby Flay called Fresh Fruit Batidos.  It is the perfect summer time dessert as it combines fresh, sweet mangos and ice cream to make a very smooth and fun dessert that everyone will enjoy.  I have cooked this desert for a plethora of people and I have never had a single person not like it...and that includes Ryan Jackson who doesn't eat fruit.  So check it literally takes 3 minutes and it will blow your mind.

Here it the recipe: (or you can go to the recipe on

6 ounces mango sorbet 
3 ounces vanilla ice cream 
1/2 cup chopped fresh mango, plus mango slices, for garnish 
5/8 cup cold milk
1 to 2 tablespoons honey, or more to taste 
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a 10-ounce glass and serve immediately. Garnish with a mango slice and mint sprig, if desired.

So...there it a fantastic recipe for you to all check out.  I absolutely love it.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

...blogs, blogs, and more blogs

To all of my faithful readers...all 3 of you...

I am joining another blog as a contributer in the next few weeks.  Katy Budget Books has asked me to become a contributer on their new blog endeavor and I am very stoked about it.  I will be reviewing books (...mostly in the mystery, suspense, and religious sections) and giving my recommendations.  You should check it out for helpful reviews and advice from many people who have a passion for books and can always recommend just the right book for the moment.
Katy Budget Books is a 25 year old independent bookstore located in Katy, TX.  It boasts a huge selection of new and used books and there has never been a book that I wanted that they were not able to help me locate.  It is the perfect place for everyone who prefers to talk to a person who loves to read...rather than someone in a corporate chain who has never heard of Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts or Dr. Seuss...

Check out the new blog or Katy Budget Book's main site...I am confident that you will enjoy the experience...


...a brand new adventure has been a few days since I last posted anything.  But you are all in luck because this is a pretty important one today.  I have some big news....drumroll please...seriously, this is earth shattering news...

I am very excited to announce that I have accepted the position of Director of Student Ministries at my church, Trinity Chapel Bible Church.  This is an opportunity that I never expected but one that Julie and I both feel is where God is leading us.  The past year has been crazy as I began working at Trinity as the college intern, began seminary, graduated TCU, got engaged and this is just the next step.

It has been crazy to see God work in the midst of everything in the past few weeks.  The idea was first presented to me around Spring Break and I had a lot of questions but God grabbed a hold of me and really opened my eyes to what He was doing and where He was taking Julie and I.  I could not be more excited to get involved with the students at Trinity Chapel, to encourage the leaders who are working with the students, and just see God work in the lives of students.

Please pray for Julie and I as we make this transition, pray that God would prepare us and allow us to have an impact on these students.  Just pray that God's name would be known.  

I never would have seen this coming, but now I wouldn't have it any other way...isn't it crazy how God works?


Monday, April 14, 2008

...1001 things and a maddening world

Why is it that there always seems to be something that has to get done?  Why is that when your plate already seems like it can't possibly be added gets added to?  Why is it that when there are a 1000 things going on...there has to be a 1001 and a 1002...etc.?

It appears that I failed to capitalize on the very "easy" beginning of the semester and instead pushed everything back so that everything has to get done in a very condensed amount of time...yes, I am an idiot.

When will I learn?  Hopefully soon...perhaps...maybe not...

Lord, help me to stay focused on you in the midst of a maddening world.  I pray that I don't sacrifice moments of intimacy with you in order to get the 1003rd thing done.  It is so easy to prioritize but so often my priorities get out of whack because I fail to place you as primary. Humble me Lord, and allow me to rest and trust in you alone.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

...a new game

I read an article once about a couple who were married for many years and they would go out into nature, on a walk, etc and they would play a game.  The game that they played has really stirred my affections for God and caused me to slow down and see Him at work all around me.

First, take a look at Romans 1:19-20, "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse for not knowing God".

...This is where the game begins.  This is where the conversation starts.  The game is seeing the nature of God and how He is working continuously in the world around us.  The husband in the article would see a falcon and then ask his wife how the falcon reflected God's nature and she would reply "God's freedom because the falcon can not be contained".

...or the wife would see a line of worker ants and her husband would comment on God's faithfulness because just as the ants faithfully seek out food and supplies, so does God faithfully seek out, provide for, and redeem his chosen people.

Julie and I find ourselves playing this game as we drive through the flat Texas plains and are amazed at a sunset, and we both see the beauty of God.  Or maybe we see a perfectly clear sky where stars go on for miles and stand amazed and the unchangingness of God.  I found myself walking around TCU and slowing down long enough to actually see God's creation.  I write this not to make myself sound holy.  I continually fail to give God the glory that he deserves and I have missed seeing his characteristics in nature more times than I would ever care to remember.

I write this instead to encourage all of us to slow down, take a breath, and see the world as what it is...God's beautiful creation.  Sure, there are a lot of things that are messed up...but thats our fault, its not the way that God intended for it to happen.  But if you slow down, you can see God's amazing fingerprints everywhere.  Can you see them?  Look closely...what do you see?

Well, thats all I have for now.  I implore you to slow down.  It is worth it.  Thats my take.


Life is full of changes and new adventures...

Question:  When does the unexpected become the expected

I am not sure.  But God sure has a way of making things happen when you least expect it. I think its keeps life interesting...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

...grilled rainbow trout

Well...this is going to be a very different post but it is what I am thinking right now.  I love to cook.  I know what you are thinking..."Wow, Brent you are amazing.  Is there anything that you can't do?!?"...and the answer is no (kidding).  But I do love to cook, I love to take on a new recipe, food, etc.  and see how everything turns out.  I find cooking to be incredibly relaxing and an amazing way for me to slow down and clear my head...I know that I am weird.  Honestly, I like to cook so much that Julie and I have had to work out who will be the main cook in the family.  Our solution is that she gets most nights but I get the really awesome dishes so that they will be "Dad's dishes" like "Dad's shrimp" or "Dad's steak"...I think it was a good solution. So from time to time, I am going to share my thoughts on recipes, foods, and restaurants.  I know, its incredibly random...

Tonight, I tried out a new recipe and it was fantastic.  It was rainbow trout grilled on a cedar plank with corn and asparagus.  I must was received with a rave review from the world renowned food critic, Julie Duhrkopf.  

The fish was very flavorful and the entire meal was very filling but also light at the same time.  Julie said that it was the perfect spring time meal...and remember, she is a world famous critic.  I think its a meal that the entire family would enjoy, assuming that you like seafood.  By the way, I have never understood people not liking seafood...but that is a topic for another day.  So check out the recipe and give it a whirl...I think that you will thoroughly enjoy it.

Here is the recipe which you can find on  Which by the way is an amazing source for good food ideas.

I know that this was incredibly random.  But its me and that is what this is all about.  As my grandfather always says, "If the good lord willing and the creeks don't rise, I'll see you on the other side"...


Friday, April 11, 2008

...whats in a word

Grace.  I was challenged in my 1st semester in seminary to consider the true nature of God's grace.  It seemed to be an innocent enough endeavor but what I discovered has rocked my world.  I can not get it out of my mind.  I find myself constantly tearing apart scripture, talking about it, and wanting to [attempt to...] understand it.  It keeps me up at night and yearning to know more about the free gift of grace.

I think that is what really rocked me.  Grace makes  God the center.  I can do nothing to earn it and I have done nothing to deserve it, it is a free gift.  If I am being honest, I hate that.  I hate that I can't be in control and make God love me.  The truth is that God is in control and out of his infinite love, He gives grace to those who have done nothing to deserve it.  It has nothing to do with our works; IT HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH GOD'S LOVE AND GOODNESS.

Matt Carter, pastor at The Austin Stone, defined grace as the unmerited love of God. Unmerited...that just blows me away.  It blows me away that God loved us when we were still sinners.    It blows me away that when we were dead in our sins, God redeemed us through his grace.  It blows me away that God made us alive to Christ through his grace.  It blows me away that we have been called to salvation by grace.  And it blows me away that God could possibly love me...because I know my flaws, and issues.  He says come and know Christ because grace is enough.  Grace is a free gift that comes from the unmerited love of the Trinity.

I just never quite understood it.  I thought the whole point was to have God become part of my life.  But the real truth is that through grace, we have the opportunity to be a part of God's story of redemption in the world.  

Grace should change the way that we see the world.  Grace should stir our hearts so that we share the gift of grace to the world.  Grace should cause us to humbly worship the Father.  Grace allows us to be still, to rest, and realize that we don't have to carry the world on our shoulders.  Grace should stir our hearts.  Grace...

My all time favorite movie is Good Will Hunting (go see it...) and there is a scene in which Robin Williams character is counseling Matt Damon's character (Will) and is telling him that the crap in his life is not his fault.  He keeps telling him that its not his fault and Will eventually just breaks down weeping.  So here it is our is our fault that the world is broken, and that things are not perfect BUT GOD GIVES GRACE!!!

Grace is a free gift that is given out of the abundant love of God.  That causes my mind to spin.  Do I live in a way to display that grace has changed me?  Do I show grace to the world? I don't know...but I want too. I pray that I do.  I pray that God allows me to see just a glimpse of the nature of grace.  I pray that I never underestimate grace.  I pray that grace is always prevalent in my life, my ministry, etc.  I pray that we are all transformed by grace.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I do not have enough time right now to adequately dive into what has been on my mind lately but I wanted to give a quick preview:

-Go check out Ephesians 2:1-10

Everyone has their "favorite verse" of the Bible, and if I am required to pick only one...this would be it.  I love the picture of the brokenness, sin, and wretchedness of man in light of God's amazing goodness.  I love the "but" is verse 4 because I think its the most beautiful word in scripture.  I love the fact that we are called God's workmanship (interestingly, the word workmanship is also the word for poetry in the original language...I think its cool).  I love the fact that we are saved by GRACE...

...there it is..its Grace.  Thats the thing that keeps me up at night, thats the thing that constantly races through my head like a llama escaping a lion, and thats the thing that keeps me thinking.  Grace.  What is it?  What is your view of grace?  Why is it so hard for me to get my head around it?

...I guess we will just have to explore that on another occasion.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008 first glimpse

So I am going to embark on this blogging journey without any idea of what I am going to write about on this thing.  At this point in my life, I have lots of questions but not very many answers and I am ok with that...or atleast trying really hard to be ok with it.

I pray that this can be a glimpse at my own journey as I seek to know and understand my wonderful savior deeply.  Things such as grace, mercy, the Trinity and Christ's sacrifice have been constantly running through my mind lately and I find myself continuously turning to scripture and begging God to help me to understand him better.  It is an exciting journey and I hope that my thoughts may encourage you to ponder the wonder and beauty of God for yourself.  I encourage you to go deep into scripture, seek out community, and ask lots of questions.  That is how we will begin to catch a glimpse of our beautiful savior...If you don't know Jesus, welcome and join into the conversation.

Well, thats it for now.  I will be back.

P.S.  I am also a huge cooking and movie buff so I will probably include some reviews of movies, restaurants, etc....just to spice things up (get cooking).  This will definitely be an electic assortment of thoughts and musings.  It should be fun.