Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Delima

Again today has been a hard day to put into words what I am dealing with.  After speaking with my wife and a few friends, I figured if nothing else I can just post my thoughts and as I get a resolution I can post that as well.

Early in our marriage, my wife and I began attending a beautiful church.  I say beautiful not because of the way it looked on the outside, but beautiful because of the people that were a part of the church.  We developed great friends, were involved in a lot of different areas, and were growing in a lot of different ways. 

As one of my passions is music it was ever so encouraging when they hired a worship pastor that I could worship with, was challenged by, and could learn from.  When we left, one of the hardest parts for me was leaving the experience, feeling, and growth that came from each Sunday.  

I was on such a high there and even in spite of other challenges we were facing, I felt I could rely on God.  After being there 4 years, I felt God calling me to something different.  He asked me to be a youth pastor and I was so excited about it.  After a few months of searching, we found a church.

Having never visited the church (even though my wife thought it to be a good idea to visit first) we accepted a position and moved.  It was a hard move.  Leaving our friends to start a new venture was a challenge, but I knew God had things in control.  

Being a pastor at the church was challenging it and of itself, but going from where I felt filled each week to a place where I was not being filled made things extremely difficult for me.  I was searching for what I left, not really looking for what God was putting before me. I became empty, run down, and had very little to give anyone.  Needless to say, after being there a little more than a year, and really feeling discouraged, we moved back to our hometown.
I am terrible at always comparing things to the past.  I know we should learn from the past, but for some things, especially good things, we want to try to replicate them in the future.  I am sure that we all do that to a certain extent.  Think about it.  If you cook something amazing, you don’t want to just stop trying to cook that food, you want to try and replicate it so you can enjoy it time and time again. 

That’s how I have been with church.  I want ever so much to be in that place I was.  I want to experience, feel, and grow in a church the way I was.  Is it possible?  Should it even be what I am searching for?  I know God has a plan and has me where I am for a reason.  I know I need to trust Him.

So here is what I am dealing with.  I know I am attaching strings to what a church should be…should look like…should do for me.  How is that stunting my growth?  Are my standards of what a church should look like even ok?

You might be able to see why this would be hard for me.  I love the people I go to church with.  I like that we are not tied down to a denomination.  There is so much I like about the church, but I am just stuck in the mindset of comparison...wanting what I had, but knowing God has me where He wants me helps.  I know a certain part of what He is teaching me now is that I need to learn to be with Him and not rely so much on the church for the needs He should be meeting.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Today I am torn.  Torn between leaving the blog blank because I have nothing to say and posting for no other reason that I want to post as regularly as possible. 

I really don't have much to say today because of the thoughts that are stirring in me.  I want God to shape my where He wants it to be. 

I am not stressed....worried....or frustrated, but rather in a contemplative state that I have yet been able to put words to. 

I need His guidance...His direction....Him.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Looking vs Seeing

As I am venturing into the realm of what it takes to be a good photographer, I have come across several articles that speak to looking vs seeing.  It has been stated in several of them that their is actually a big difference.  When you look at something the mind actually takes what information it is given from the eyes and processes it to what you believe you see. However, as we get older more and more of what we "see" is a mixture of what is actually there.  For many times have you looked for your keys and couldn't find them.  You search all over the house, high and low, looking everywhere you think they could be, just find find out that they are laying on the table.  The mind likes to somewhat play tricks on us.  It saw the table and just put pieces together to form an image of the table in our mind that didn't include the keys even though they were laying on the table.  It did it from its memory.  The less data it has to process the faster and more efficiently it runs, only sometimes that can really make things challenging.

Seeing on the other hand is quite different.  It is taking the time to actually make your mind process all the information it can.  Example:  Find somewhere in your house to sit and just sit there for 5 minutes looking at anything and everything you possibly can.  Look for details you may have missed before.  After those 5 minutes you will see that place in a whole new light.

Photographers often do exercises like this to learn to SEE rather than Look.  Its hard.  It takes time and patience.  On the other hand, you get to enjoy things you may not have seen before.  Things will appear different to you.  In the case of a photographer, he might get a photograph that he would never have thought of taking before.

So what does that have to do with people that aren't looking to take better photos?  Well, its rather simple.  I believe often times we do the same thing with our relationship with God and how we interact with His word.   How many times have you skimmed a story because you have heard it a thousand times. 

Example:  Did you know Jonah, even after being spit out of a large fish, still wanted God to destroy Ninevah?  Did you know a man fell asleep while Paul was preaching and fell out of a third story window?  Did you know that Adam named all the animals before Eve was even created...meaning he was the only human on earth for quite some time?

You see, most of us have been so blinded by "religion" we miss seeing a lot of what is out there, and frankly many pastors preach on the same set of scripture and yet miss some key points that are just on either side of the passage they are preaching from.

In reality, today's blog is just a reminder of why I am blogging in the first place.  I want to see things differently.  I want to take the time and see things the way God sees them.  I don't want to miss all that He has to offer just because I was too busy looking at things the way I always have.

I had a teacher one time who spent every Saturday in a Jewish synagogue because he wanted to see the Bible the same way the writers saw the Bible.  He wanted to understand more than just the Hebrew language...the Greek language.  He wanted to understand the context, the reality of the scripture, and the true meaning behind each verse.  That's a challenge.  Most of us only want to read it through our Christian American glasses.

Why did Jesus cry out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" in Matthew 27:45-46? Did you know that he was actually quoting Psalm 22? Did you know that in their culture many of them had so much scripture memorized that they would quote bits and pieces, but were actually implying the whole passage? Looking at that passage without understanding that would make you think that He actually though God had forsaken him, so that line would seem so far out of place with the relationship God and Jesus had.

Take some time today and really try to see. Stop looking...Start Seeing Change in View

Friday, February 24, 2012

Pray for...

I was actually going to title this post Pray for our Country, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it, for fear people would just glance over it and not care because they have heard it before.  Most that know me, know that I am not ultra patriotic or anything like that.  In fact, I've never really been a huge supporter of any organization other than my church, so talking about praying for the country is something different for me.

When I say pray for our country, I don't really mean the organization as much as I do the people.  There is so much corruption in the running of the government its almost hard to be proud of it.  However, today as I sit listening to the radio (talk radio is the only thing that comes in where I work) it makes me wonder what the truth really is.  Think about it, every candidate has their own version of the truth; I know for a fact the government does stuff we don't know about, and in reality most Americans are really not informed about what is actually going on in our government.  It is a scary situation to be in.

So, what do I really mean when I say pray for our country?  I mean pray for the people in it, just like you would the people of the church.  Realize the people of the country are what make the country, not the land we actually live on.  Without faith in God I don't know how anyone could not live in fear.  Terrible things are happening to kids everyday, people are expressing their selfish desires more and more, and corruption is being exposed left and right.  This is a scary place to live if you think about it.  The only thing that can keep us sain is our faith in God.

I wonder what God thinks of our country.  I wonder how much pain He deals with every day seeing the pain we put each other in.

Today when I ask you to pray for our country, I want you to pray for the people.  Really pray for the people.  It has been said that when you pray for someone it is hard to hate them or want anything bad to happen to them.  I would also venture to say that if you are really praying for someone it would be hard not to desire to show them God's love. 

I would venture to say that most of what we deal with in our society would be changed if we began showing love and grace to each other and if the church (as a whole) would begin to facilitate that change.  If we began introducing God to people in our actions rather than forcing Him on them, people would be more than willing to accept our actions as loving rather than some religious duty.  Jesus didn't force himself on anyone. 

Where is the church being the church to the people of our society?  So many are just isolating themselves and trying to bring people into their building for a service rather than going out and being where the people are...Jesus was constantly going to people and getting to know them and showing them His desire to have a relationship with them.

Aren't we called to be a follower of Christ?  Aren't we called to strive to be more like Him? 

Christian? ....maybe Disciple of Christ should be what we strive for.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Stay Close My Son

So... Today has been a real challenge to come up with a topic.  Thanks to my Dad's help and a couple of his connections, we were able to get both of our cars up and running again.  Two weeks dealing with all those issues can really create some stress if you let it.  Now, I am back to a place where I know I need to continue to rely on God, but it is so easy to say, "everything is ok, I can take it from here," whether I care to admit it or not. 

I have found that over the years God has put me in situations that cause me to draw closer to Him and realize how much I really need Him. While it is a scary place to be from a human standpoint, it is during those times that I draw closer to God and really find what it is He is asking of me. Now that I recognize that, it is somewhat scary to not be in that position.  It is so easy to just go about life and gradually slip away from where I was, sometimes without even noticing for a while.  I have to admit....the "blog" does help.

As I was dealing with this all in my mind today, I began to have this sense that God was just saying "Stay close, my son." I know that is what He wants.  I know He wants to be close to us.  It is just a hard reality to accept: knowing that God calls us Sons and Daughters. 

It is times such as this that I am reminded of my relationship with my boys.  Whenever you get out of the car as a family, you tell the boys to stay close.  It's not just that we want them to be close to us for the relationship aspect, but at that point it has more to do with their safety.  I'm certain it is the same way with God. 

Do you ever think that God has saved you from something that you might not have even known about? How many times would you have been killed in a car accident if He hadn't intervened unbeknownst to you?  How many times has He protected you against sickness that could kill you?  How many times does he intervened in our lives that we have no clue about? 

I know God has protected me many times.  I've seen it. How many times though has He said "Stay Close," and I have not listened and then had to deal with being out of His protection....out of His desires....out of His Will?  Scary place to be.....