Friday, April 23, 2010

Coming Soon

I spent a weekend in Atlanta and the last few days in Notre Dame. God is good!

I have some things to relay. It's too late right now to write anything in detail. Within the next few days, you'll have something new to read.

God bless you for giving me your time and following this blog.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Gonna Be a Great Day!!!

Today's gonna be a good day!

Looking to the cross of Christ and His resurrection has a habit of bringing everything into focus for me. When we see ourselves and our trials through the lens of what Christ has done for!

I've changed my mind. Today's not gonna be a good day.

It's gonna be a great day!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Story of Fernando Bermudez

The story of a man I meet and became friends with while in Atlanta.


Fernando was released roughly 4 months ago and declared innocent after spending the lion share of his life in the notorious Sing, Sing prison in upstate New York. He spent an unreasonable 18 and a 1/2 years of his life inside the beast, but God.... I meet a man during this past few days that has been more than set free from the steel and concrete that housed him. I meet a man free'd from the bindings that often threaten those of us who have been through the hells we have as the innocent.

In Fernando, I saw a free man. I meet and came to know a free man.

What did I see that would make me want the rest of you to know him and stand beside him? His joy. His unselfishness. His infectious personality and smile. He came to this years National Innocence Conference in Atlanta and, from the start, came with humility and life. I also saw excitement that lives in the moment.

I'm in no way saying Fernando has arrived and has been perfected. He's a work in progress....just like the rest of us. I'm just saying that the progress that I witnessed this weekend within Fernando was amazing and full of God's grace.


This past Friday night, after we sowed up the first official day of the conference, we all went to a club and celebrated our shared freedom and success in the innocence movement. There were at least 83 innocent men and women present (including myself) and over a hundred volunteers involved in innocence projects throughout the country and abroad represented at this party. There was food...a nice lay out of pork, beef, cheese, sausage and onion sticks. There was music...and then there was Karaoke.

About an hour into the festivities, Fernando had requested and talked me into singing Billy Joel's "Innocent Man" with him. That's right people. Fernando got me to do Karaoke. In truth, I can only claim the assist, but....I'll take what I can

Fernando is a man on fire for life. He invites others into his fire. He had some others share in the experience of singing an "Innocent Man" as well. It was a real moving moment. He had the whole room lit up, participating and singing together.

Getting to know him has been a blessing. I'm sure it will continue to be. Learning from him and experiencing the conference weekend with him and others has been a rewarding experience.

This evening into this morning, he and I went out dancing with a group of others and had a blast. We didn't get back to the hotel until past 3am. We all came back exhausted and ready for sleep, but we all came back speechless and appreciative of the fun we had dancing to what turned out to be a pretty wild mix of 70's and 80's jams in a downtown Atlanta club.

Fernando has a saying. I'm not sure if he knows he says it or not. I'm not sure if he knows the impact it has had on me as his new friend. "What a day!" "What a day!" Indeed, Fernando. What a day it has been for the past few days getting to know you.

Thanks for being my friend.

Please. Do yourself the honor of reading through these links and listening to the others. Look into what God has done. You'll be better for it.

Please, keep Fernando and the many others like him that I've come to know in your prayers.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A 12 and a 1/2hr Road Trip w/ Me, Myself and God

4/15/2010, I ventured out on a cross country road trip and drove from Columbia, Missouri to Atlanta, Georgia. Google-map estimated the trip would take 10 hrs and 44 minutes. It took, give or take, 12 and 1/2 hrs. Google didn't inform me that I would also get stuck in rush hour traffic going through Nashville for an hour at a snails pace....aaaaaaaggggghhhhhhhh.

Something "real" happened on the way to Atlanta.


On the road, I had plenty of time to process some emotions of my own and "I" did. I had way too much "me " At one point, I went through it. Out there by myself, I found it real easy to get lost in a little negative thinking and went over it again and again in my head. I vocalized. I acted out. I even took a minute to stop and stew in it for a moment, but God... As usually is the case with Him, it was right in the midst of the struggle and the ~#*!#@^`!* of it all that a wonderful thing happened. God's love and patience were confirmed.

The personal struggle I went through is personal and irrelevant at this point but, you should know, I had reached the point of really getting down on myself and kicking myself. Out there alone with my own thoughts and the devil's pestering, I was really just feeling like I wasn't living up to the calling God has placed on my life. I know, I know. I can already hear all of you saying, "what!"

(FYI...this would have been a great time to have a specific friend in the car with me to support me...hint, hint...not that I'll mention the name of the person I'm referring to....Jared

No worries though. The Big Man was in the car with me. The GOD was on the scene. I really believe He just started to calm my heart and communicate to me that He loves me. Isn't that amazing?! I didn't get some, "yep, you're a mess " or "you're a disappointment to me". I didn't get a, "what's wrong with you?" or a "you no good piece of trash". Instead, I got something along the lines of "I love you" or "I know you, knew you, wanted you, want you, believe great things for you and am going to see to it that you succeed." Wow! He's so good!

In the judicial scheme of things, I'm an innocent man. As a "man" though, on occasion, I'm a mess just like the rest of you. I live in the noise also. And it's so refreshing to know that, in the midst of just being a "man" in a car out in the middle of po dunk America between Missouri and Georgia, this man is loved by God...we're loved by God.

So...the next time you're alone and having a bad day, whether in traffic, somewhere exhausted, at work or sitting in your home, take a moment and listen to the heart of God. You'll like what you hear. You'll hear Him telling you how much He loves you. You'll sense Him making His love real to you...if not again, then graciously & wonderfully for the first time ever. You won't regret it. I can promise you that.


1 Kings 19:4-13

4 He (Elijah the prophet) himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

5And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.

6And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.

7And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

8And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.

9And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

10And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a gentle whisper.

13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?


What do you think he heard in the "gentle whisper"? What do you think were the tones and inflections? What do you think was the content and context? I think I got a glimpse into it on the way to Atlanta, Georgia this past Thursday.

This Sunday, I'll be taking the trip again but in the reverse this time. Keep me in prayer. I want to hear the "gentle whisper" again. I'll never grow tired of hearing His voice or of having His love made real to me over and over again....ever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What I Choose To Believe

I'm a man with a purpose in this world and want others in my position to know that they can be as well and that the situation we have been through doesn't have to define our purpose. We can use it, however, to launch out into the deep of life's oceans of wonder. God has a plan for us. It may be hard to understand Him at times and He may make us shake our heads but He is writing a story for us all that is full of good and grace and adventure. This is what I choose to believe.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

At the heart of true Christianity resides the source of all honor, integrity, valor, justice, love and virtue. At the heart abides Christ Himself. At the heart, there is Christ alone.