His Big Paintbrush

Leah and I just got home from Hawaii. Yes we know we are lucky and yes we had an amazing time. We did all the touristy stuff and went to all the touristy shops. We hung out on the beach and went to a luau, and we had a blast.

In the midst of all the fun I was struck by the awesomeness of God. Not that I haven’t been in the past, I have, but this time it was different. Each day we would see beautiful birds and flowers and waves and then God would cap the day off with sunsets that would make Picasso blush at his inability to create beauty in comparison. It was as if God just pulled out His paintbrush and went to work. It’s obvious He understands the color wheel and composition and lighting, and it was as if He sat in the heavens and mixed His colors just for me. I felt tiny, I felt insignificant and I felt helpless … and I LOVED IT! It was so cool for me to remember how big our God really is. It means I don’t have to have all the answers. It means I don’t have to save the world, He already has. What a wonderful thought to remember!

Unsearchable? … !

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” – Jeremiah 33:3

When I first grappled with the notion that there is a King and I am not He I dove headlong into a book Christians read called ‘The Holy Bible’. While I wasn’t aware of the substance that made this book ‘Holy’, while all others remained just bookly, I was hungry to find out.

One of the first pieces of scripture to captivated my heart was Jeremiah 33:3, and while I knew absolutely zero about Jeremiah and I was slightly confused by all the numbers embedded into each paragraph of the book I was interested in the wording of this particular verse non the less. I remember reading it the first time through and stopping, deadpan, on the word ‘unsearchable’.

Up to this point in my life I was always taught that, with enough research, we could find out anything about anything. As a matter of reference the encyclopedia sales man that came to our door once a year said his books had all the knowledge of the cosmos, so I figured with enough digging any fact could be unearthed. So you can imagine my amazement when I found out that this King had this ‘unsearchable’ information and He was willing to share it with me. I felt honored!

It wasn’t until sometime later that I found out that God (the King) was speaking to Jeremiah and that Jeremy was a prophet and God gave him the insight to speak to the nation of Jerusalem. God wasn’t directing his ‘unsearchable’ statement to me directly, but you can see the effect it had on my life.

One sentence captured my heart and I began to read and study, and now some 15 years later I have a hundred verses that have come to life in my heart and head. Some of them have helped me through rough times while others have encouraged me from day to day. God speaks through these sentences, through these chapters. Wouldn’t it would be a pity if you chalked the whole thing up as ‘unsearchable’?

I Heart Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for many reasons. My favorite is the classic Christmas flick. Last night I watched “A Christmas Story” with about 35 teenagers and it was apparent that many of them had never seen the film before. The laughter was uproarious as Ralphy gets his mouth washed out with soap for yelling an unmentionable and when the kid screams in horror as his tongue gets stuck to the pole the youth went nuts. Good times, good times.

To be honest, it’s not really the movies I love or the tree’s or even the food. It’s the memories. It’s the laughter, it’s the lightheartedness that goes hand and hand with the holiday season. Christmas is one of the few fond memories I have of childhood, but I can recount in detail the one Christmas when I got every G.I. Joe that I asked for or the Thanksgiving when we lost power and ate cold mashed taters and I sat on my Grandpa’s lap while we all sang Christmas songs in the dark.

You may think you need that new diamond necklace or that new socket set this Christmas, but you don’t. You can live without them, but imagine what it would be like to have to live without memories. Those wonderful Christmas reminders that bring you back to kid-land where it’s OK to make snow angels in your Sunday best and there is no such thing as eating too many sweets.

I hope and pray that you have a wondeful Christmas filled with memories from your past and new adventures that will be memories in your future.

No More Mr. Nice Christian


A few months ago I was asked to speak at a camp in March and I was excited!  It’s not everyday I get asked to speak somewhere (as a matter of fact the youth at my church are glad I only speak once a month!) so I was up for the challenge.  I was then told about the theme of the camp and I was given a suggestion for a book to read to help me better understand how the camp was going to be set up.

So, I get the book on Amazon.com and I begin to read through it and the more and more I read the more and more I wanted to find out about the author.  So, I ask around and I find out he has a couple web sites and I find a podcast that he did with a different website so I decide to listen.

At the beginning of the podcast we hear the hosts making nicey nice with the guest but you know, deep down in side, that they are about to bring the noise, thy are going to bring the hammer down on this cat, and sure enough about halfway through, they do.

The thing that is the most hurtful to me as a Christian who is trying his darndest to love God and love others it the angry, cocky and sometimes mean spirited way both sides of the ‘discussion’ were treating each other during the cast.  Now, I know that makes me sound like a prudish big time sissy boy, but trust me I am not.  I just know that the world is checking us out and if we are not living for Him on our websites, podcasts, bus rides, work places, hearts .. people WILL see it, and God knows nobody wants to serve the God of punks.  When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus replied:

The first in importance is, “Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: “Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

I don’t see anything in His words about being right all the time and if your not getting aggressive when challenged, or lashing back.  As leaders we have a duty to be humble, to serve, and above all else to love.  I realize this is a strange post, but I have had a heavy heart about this so I wanted to put it up with the hopes that it start some dialog.

[Note: If you are interested in hearing the podcast I was referring to check out www.stupidchurchpeople.com and find the Tony Jones podcasts.  There are two of them]

Ride For Africa | Pre Ride

A lot is happening in Africa. Some would say we have enough problems here in America to deal with and that attitude would be perfectly fine if Jesus had died for Americans, but He didn’t. He died for humans, that includes Africans, Frenchies, and Iraqi’s. His love wasn’t bound by masses of water and his people shouldn’t be either.

So for the next seven days I am riding my bicycle for Africa. I am attempting to raise awareness and a few dollars for Invisible Children. Below is a video from invisible children and below that my pre-ride video. To find out more go to www.InvisibleChildren.com and www.HopeIsRampant.com.

Are You a Purple Cow?

Seth Godin wrote a book called Purple Cow “Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”. In short the story of the purple cow goes like this.

Seth and his family were on a road trip and his kids were in the back doing what kids do, fight, and his wife was zoned out. As the road stretched on they came across some cows and suddenly the fighting sounds ceased. Seth looked in his rier view mirror to see his children starring at some cows. Then just as quickly as the punchfest ended it began again. Seth then asks the readers why this happened and what would happen if those cows had been purple instead of normal old cow color. He says not only would the kids stop fighting and stare, but he would have pulled the car over. The whole family would have gotten out and many photos would have been taken. They would have most likely jumped the fence and petted the purple cows. Those cows would have been remarkable. In other words they would be worth speaking about again (re: marking).

What about our faith, our church are they remarkable? Are you a purple cow? If you take the whole marketing thing away and apply it to our faith it really does take on a whole new meaning. Our faith is worth discussing, it seems our “leaders” are remarkable as of late, unfortunately. Eastgate is remarkable! The people that fill the big room and corner every Sunday are genuine and loving, and that, to me, is remarkable. You are remarkable, if you choose to love others more than yourself. If you don’t think Jesus was remarkable consider this, more books, songs, poetry, and speeches have been written about Him than anyone else who has ever walked this marble. I would say that makes Him ultimately remarkable.

What about Jesus, Christianity, Eastgate is remarkable to you?

Rocky Gets Saved?

180x150Hollywood has been pimping people for a hundred years. They have chewed up and spit out hundreds of thousands of wanna be actors and actresses and then wiped the corners of their collective mouths and let slip a satisfying burp.

Now they are ready to pimp the church.

You see it’s the job of film execs to make sure that a film will be well received by the public. They want sex, and they want violence because that is what sells! There has never been a consorted effort to advertise to ‘Christians’ because the truth is, Jesus lovers all over the world sit in movie theaters chalk full of scenes we are supposed to abstain from just like everybody else … so why advertise to us any differently? Enter Mel Gibson and the The Passion of the Christ, and everything changed.

Exec on Rocky: “I want to pimp the Christians, and make them put our banners on all of their blogs and websites, but how do we go about that?”

Marketing Guy: “Just add one line about faith and they will jump all over it”


It’s not that I am not excited about this movie coming out … I am, as a matter of fact I almost got into a fist fight earlier in the week when a friend of mine started making fun of Sylvester’s age, but c’mon. You can’t add some clever tag line and think we will jump all over it, oh wait yes they can, and yes we will. CRAP .. I want to be Buddhist.

(disclaimer: Rocky execs: I am sure you didn’t use the word pimp | Everyone else: please remember this is my knee jerk reaction. I will be back, at some time in the future, (probably after seeing the film) and I will bust out my thought out, prayed about thoughts.)


100255856_0941538d88_mThe facts are these.  1. Our purpose is to love God + 2. Our purpose is to love others.  Everything else that comes with our faith are just details.  You may be a Christian who chooses to live in the details or you may decide your life is better spent just trying to master the first two purposes.   If your like me loving others ‘as much as I love myself’ is about as difficult a task as they come.  I believe that God knew how difficult it would be for us to love each other, but He also knew that His beautiful sacrifice would be the example that would stir men’s hearts to action.  His love for me, the King of the unlovely, has stirred my heart.  It is now my hearts great desire to love those that the world deems unworthy, unspecial, and unlovely.  Today I was able to speak to the ministries director at the Panama City Rescue Mission about having our youth ministry help with some of the programs that they are providing.  I pray that the youth of Eastgate will see through clear eyes the love that God saw when He looked down at us from His heavenly perch.

Happy Turkey Day!

A list of things I am thankful for, by Dustin Bryson

  1. My King and his love for wind up toys like me.
  2. My Wife & Family
  3. Eastgate
  4. The youth
  5. Friendship
  6.  Corndogs
  7. Starbucks
  8. Mac’s
  9. Blogging
  10. Laughter
  11. Good TV
  12. ipods
  13. Samuel Adams
  14. Freedom
  15. Holding hands
  16. Turkey sandwiches
  17. Santa
  18. Cameras
  19. Love
  20. Moleskines
  21. TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
  22. The hard stuff on the top of creme brule
  23. Sunsets
  24. Arm wrestling
  25. Hot Pockets … my back hurts.

The Wisdom of Youth

Sammy carries boxes to the car for Operation Christmas ChildYes this is a shameless plug, and I will concur that his may not be the correct venue, but since I write on Monday’s I get to do stuff like this.

The youth of Eastgate are amazing! I am sure you were already aware of that, but for a few minutes I would like to explain to you exactly why.

I believe youth are a wonderful example for the church. They are enthusiastic about our faith and dive in head first to whatever study we are currently in. They are hungry for truth, and show up to every bible study, youth meeting and worship service that is offered. They also show their faith with actions. At least once a month they are serving the church, or the community in some tangible way. You probably don’t know this, but they once cleaned up after a wedding and then picked up all the garbage that had sprinkled the ground at the Panama City Rescue Mission, just because they were asked to! They are both hearers and doers of the word, and that makes me excited, but where I think they shine ever brighter is in their love for each other. They have had more than one conflict, cried together and for a moment wanted to annihilate one another, but in the end, love prevails and they are back, stronger than ever. We really can learn something from these young people. We can learn to love our brothers and sisters.

Hey, isn’t there even a verse about that or something? (wink, wink)

Click Here to See More Photo’s From Last Nights Operation Christmas Child Event.