Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weekly Video ... crazy guy on a bike.

I saw this video and had to share. 

While I don't know the guy or really what would motivate him to do something, to me, seems so scary and dangerous.  Then about halfway through the video, I started thinking about how much this really reminds me of life.  It seems like the older I get the faster time goes and that really scares me.  I have so much to I want to get done and I think about how I want to do it, but before I know it, a few weeks have gone by and it hasn't gotten done.  

I have to admit, life is slower than it was a year ago, when I was working all the time, finding little time for my family.  Now, however, It seems like the evenings are gone before they even really get started and I haven't spent the quality time I wanted to with my wife and kids.  

Over the past week or so I have really started to think about my ministry here.  Over the past 5 years or so I have spent a lot of time being involved in the church which later evolved into a ministry position.  However, since I moved here I haven't really been involved like I was before, for a number of reasons, but I am somewhat perplexed by the whole situation. 

I want to be involved, because I want to serve because I know how hard it is in churches when no one volunteers and the same people get stuck doing all the work.  I know what it is like to feel like you are alone with very little support and just wish you had someone to count on to help carry some of the load. 

On the other hand, my life just seems so busy and full as it is.  I know how much time ministry takes and that when I am in ministry, I want to make sure I am doing my part to the fullest...which takes time.  Again this would shorten the time I have and again speed up time....which seems to be going so fast as it is.

I love ministry, but I also love my time and a slower pace.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The one book many are scared of.

As I was reading the second book in The Hunger Games, "Catching Fire,"  I started thinking.  These books have been able to keep my attention for the duration of one book and partially through another.  Why is it we don't yearn to read the Bible like that?  Last week I mentioned, in Chapter Two, how my kids challenged me to desire to read my Bible more. Still, however, I find myself reading through other books and not continually reading through the Bible as if all the answers to life can be found in it. 

Why is that? Why is it that the one book that can teach us the most...the one book that can change us the most...the one book that was fully inspired by God is so hard for us to desire to read? 

Are we scared that it might change us? 

What are your thoughts?

Monday, March 26, 2012

What are you reading?

Alright, so some of you might laugh at me, but for the last couple days I have been reading "The Hunger Games." It's the first fictional book I can remember reading for my own interest rather than for some sort of reward.  Really I wanted to find out what the big fuss was all about and the movie trailers somewhat intrigued me.  It's kept my attention, but when sharing bits and pieces with my wife, she is disturbed by the fact that, at face value, it's about kids killing kids...but in reality there is more to the story than that.

I was doing a little research today because I had heard there was going to be a study on how the gospel can be shared out of "The Hunger Games."  It would be at least worth checking out since it seems to have become quite the hit and should be for the next couple years as they make the remainder of the movies.  Digging through all of this material does make me miss my time working with teens.  Teens are fun and help you stay young and allow you stay somewhat immature in some areas of life.

That all being said, I am almost done with it and would love to find another book to read.

Over the past couple years, I have found that in those times when I am consistently reading and expanding my mind I feel so much more alert,  awake, and full of ideas that help shape my life. I'm not saying that the books necessarily change my life, but I find that when I am in those states that God can really enter into my thought life and challenge me on new levels.

That all being said, I would like to open it up to the question of what are you reading?

Friday, March 23, 2012

So Many Questions...

Last week, I felt "blah" (its a scientific term) for a couple days and really couldn't think of much to write. After being up pretty much most of the night two nights in a row left me with little sleep and not much left on the table. It is days like those that really challenge me. They challenge me to think about my life and if my walk with Christ has somehow become less of a walk and more of a standstill. Now I know in tired times we sometimes think things that either don't make any sense or may not reflect what we think when we are fully able to function.

Anyway, that all being said, I was thinking it might be interesting to take a challenge. I know I don't have very many readers and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of my readers believe pretty similar ideas and concepts to what I believe. However, now that I am out of ministry per say, I wonder if I have stopped challenging my beliefs and thoughts and have began to take an easier road.

Now I know that relationships are extremely important. So important that Jesus spent most of his time developing them...cultivating them...helping them grow. However there are going to be times in those relationships where questions come up that you may not have the answer to...and needless to say, I probably don't have them either. However, my challenge would be to open myself up as a sounding board for those questions and thoughts that go along with them.

Here is what I am asking of you. Come up with a question you are dealing with....don't feel like putting your name...then leave it as anonymous, but come up with something you would like help with and I will see what I can do. I will take the questions in the order they come and answer them as I can. Some might take longer than others especially if I have to do my research and studying on them. I won't claim to know all the answer, but rather give you my current opinion and thoughts on the subject. I will say that in fact I will probably get some of them wrong, but I trust that God will help guide me to a place where we can develop answers that honor Him and bring the attention back to Him.

Who knows...maybe I wont get any questions...but if I do then maybe someone else out there will see we are all alike. We all struggle. We all deal with doubts. We all deal with questions that we just don't seem to have answers for. We need the open communication to bring to light the areas that we have issues with understanding.

Ask Away.


Yesterday was an interesting experience for me.  Often times while I am at work I will pull up YouTube and listen to music while working.  Occasionally I will come across a video that catches my attention and so I will watch it.  While perusing my playlists, I happen to come to a Casting Crowns  music video of "Does Anybody Hear Her."  It really caught my attention because I have heard the song before, but never really thought of it like the video displayed.  I thought it very disturbing how the people from the church interacted (or didn't rather) with the girl.

Thinking about that last night as I went to my part time job at Office Depot, it caught my attention when a gentleman walked up to pick up a job he was having done that clearly represented that he was a Christian organization.  I was dumbfounded at how harsh he was with his words and how he treated the other customers. He wasn't upset with his job, but had a demeanor of entitlement.  I started thinking about how many times I had seen that before.  People who were openly having things printed for their religious organization and could use it as an opportunity to really show Christ, instead treated, not only me, but other customers as well with very little respect or kindness for that matter.  Why would someone knowing that they are having a service done that clearly states that they are a follower of Christ, treat people in such a way that goes against everything I believe Christ is about?

I have to I ever like that?  Have there been times when it should have been obvious that I claimed to be a follower yet my actions didn't line up?  No wonder so many don't like the church.  No wonder so many don't want to be a "Christian."

Relationships are vital, yet often one of the last things we work on. They are put on the back burner so that we can complete all the "Religious" things we think we must do.  It is easier to follow a set of rules and have a checklist of things to do than to follow Christ.  Christ never called us to a an easy life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Weekly Video Sharing

I thought this was quite an interesting thought.

This video was created by Max7 – The world’s open source ministry resource library helping leaders disciple children and young people.

Not quite sure why my wife tagged me.

There are five rules:
1. Post these rules.
2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random things.
3. Answer the questions set for you in the original post.
4. Create 11 new questions.
5. Tag 5 friends and go to their blog/twitter and tell them that you've tagged them.

11 Random Things
1. I actually have three different blogs set up.  (the other 2 are little used and not like this one at all)
2. I have a degree in Church Music
3. I ran a mile in 4:38
4. I wish I could own my own music store to help parents afford better instruments for kids wanting to learn.
5. I wish I could own my own print shop....selling printing and coming up with total solutions is fun.
6. I love using Photoshop
7. I love Mexican food (especially the Jalisco chimichanga from Mi Ranchito)
8. My favorite cake is red velvet cheese cake (can be found at cheesecake factory...although my Wife and Mom have both made it)
9. I have free access to Dr. Pepper at work all day every day.  I really have to limit myself.  In fact, I havn't had one this week...even though it is my favorite soda.
10. I am married to my beautiful loving wife Marcey and have three kids.  Noah, Taylor, and Lilly
11. Taylor's middle name is Strat.  My wife graciously let me name him after two guitars. The best acoustic brand...Taylor... and a great electric...Strat

Now 11 questions from Marcella Ann
1. Why do you blog?
To be able to openly express my thoughts
2. What is your go to meal when in a time crunch?
Bologna Sandwich (when we have it)
3. What is your favorite color and why?
Neon Clear...just is
4. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
American Pickers
5. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
My lack of relationships with people in the past.  Missed a lot of opportunities.
6. Who sent the last text message you received?
7. What is under your bed?
Not much under this one....not much room
8. What is your favorite time of day?
9. If you are going to be home all day with no company, do you stay in your pjs or get dressed/ready for the day?
Gotta get dressed
10. What did you dream about last night?
Seldom dream
11: What is the strangest thing you saw recently?
Not a clue....sorry....can't remember.

11 New Questions
1. Do you listen to talk radio? If so, who?
2.  What is your favorite TV show?
3.  Last person you talk to on a land line phone?
4.  How many times a week do you drink coffee or soda?
5.  If you could only tell your husband or wife one more thing what would it be?
6.  What is your greatest weakness?
7.  What is your greatest strength?
8.  Worst food you ever ate? You don't have to say who made it :)
9What is your favorite blog subject
10. Do you watch The Office?
11. What is one desire you hope God will grant you?

Five people that have been tagged:
Well....I don't have that many that follow me... So tag yourself and let me know in my comments.  When I  have 5 I will correct this.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chapter 2: Reading your Bible

As I mentioned yesterday, I would love to someday write a book about what I have learned from my boys.  Last night they schooled me again.

I got home last night after my weekly men's accountability group meeting to find my two boys ready for bed, but not yet in bed.  After getting them calmed down and directed towards their room, I was finally able to get Taylor ready to be tucked into bed.  As I ask him to go lay down, he says, "But we haven't ready our bvotional yet."  Noah immediately said, "Yea, you haven't read to us yet."

Now, I know a certain part of what they were saying had to do with wanting to stay up just a few minutes longer, but it made me wonder...When was the last time I said, "I can't go to bed yet, I haven't spent my time with God?"  I am certain that we have all done it from time to time...for one reason or another God hasn't made it into our day, but when was the last time it really mattered that much to us...that it kept us from wanting to go to bed?  How often have we gone to bed without even thinking about it?

One of my favorite times at night is when I get to sit down with Noah and read a passage from Acts.  Over the past two years I have heard sermon after sermon covering portions of Acts, but it seems to come even more real as I read it to a 5 year old and try to explain to him what happened and why.   He never ceases to amaze me with how much he can remember from week to week, let alone night to night.  It is beautiful to see him actually remember passages and what they mean.

Not to be outdone, Taylor generally has the typical Sunday school answer of "Jesus loves us" to any and all questions I ask about what that passage meant.

Anyway, I again wanted to share how challenged I was by my kids and how amazing it is that we complicate so much and yet they make it something so simple.

My New Book: Real Biblical Lessons From My Kids

Well...actually its not my book...yet.  It probably never will be, but oh how I wish I would have started keeping track of these things when Noah was born.  I would probably have quite a few pieces put together.  I have been thinking about this for quite some time and always wished that I would actually start doing it, but never thought anyone would read it....maybe they wouldn't but it would be a good reminder anyway.

Last night, as we were getting the boys ready for bed I walked in the bathroom to help them finish their back and found Noah scratching Taylor's back.  In the midst of washing Noah's hair Taylor asked him if he would like his back scratched and proceeded to move to do so.  I thought it interesting that he would do this, but they love each other so I didn't really think much more of it.

A little while later I was telling Marcey about it and Noah piped up and said, "You told me to treat other people like I want to be treated and that's what I did."  Now, I am sure he probably missed the point of not doing things for other so that they will do for you, but the reality is that he was putting into place what we had told him the bible says.

It made me think...why is it that kids can so easily accept what the bible says and be willing to do it (most of the time...we still know they fight with selfish desires), and yet so many of us have issues with even that basic principle.

I don't really want to get into that today, but my real thoughts today come from Luke 18:17 and how Christ told us we needed to become like children in order to receive the kingdom of God.  I know there are some deep theological thoughts to that passage, but just at face value it is a huge challenge for us.  The had as children seems to be lost as we get older.  It takes more for us to believe....more for us to be free to serve...more for us to be willing...more for us love...and it is so hard to give grace.

Challenging don't you think?

I've got more stories from my kids as time goes on, but I had to put that into words before I let it pass and forgot how easy it really could be.

Friday, March 16, 2012

That's crazy!

Ok...ok...I have to admit that title only has a little to do with today's post.  Ever since my post about my dilemma followed by  Brady's response to "Lack of a Resolution" I have really been curious as to why we no longer live in community like we used to.

I have been really thinking about that lately and wondering what it would be like to live like put all your stuff...all your money....all that you have in a pool so that everyone is taken care of.   It amazes me how in Acts it talks about how they all chose to do this.  They wanted to take care of each other...they wanted to learn more about God....they wanted to follow Him will all of who they are.

Why aren't we still doing that?  Are we too scared what others would think?  I know many people think that people living in commune like that would be considered a cult, but then again, weren't these people looked at as kind-of weird?  I don't mind being "weird" if it means that I am doing the right thing and following Christ like I should.

Thank about it...if we were living like that, how many more people could we help?  If you have two or three families in a house where everyone is doing their part, couldn't the bills be paid easier, the kids would have more people to look after them, more things would be able to get done in a day and at the end of it all, more time could be spent learning about God and really being able to give to others in need.

Do we have it all wrong? Are we living so self centered and self focused that we are still missing the point?  Why is it that some parts of the world really live like this, but the "wealthier, more developed countries" don't? 

Side note:
Now, if you have been reading along, you will know that I listen to conservative talk show sometimes during the day, as I can't really get any other station.  One constant conversation they have is about taxes and how they are so much harder on the rich and easier on the poor and how the poor are getting money they didn't even pay in, but rather the rich paid in.  It got me thinking....isn't that somewhat like what we should be doing only the heart has been taken out of it?  Instead of the rich having the opportunity to give for themselves they have been told they must give, which I can completely see why they might be upset by that. 

Sounds like it all had a good start, but unfortunately like many things good, portions have become perverse and it has created a lot of discourse in our country.  I don't even really know how to process what I think about it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I just want to be real

So...if you have been reading my blog for very long you have probably read a couple posts about me wanting to be real and how I wonder how many of us are truly honest with ourselves or others. When I first started dealing with all these thought I came across a song by Chris August. Needless to say, after listening to many of his other songs, he has become one of my favorite artists.   Enjoy...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Exodus 5-11

Today is going to be a short and sweet post.

It occurred to me how easy it is to try so hard to understand what God is thinking or doing, but how we sometimes forget to just stand back and awe at what He has done.  Reading through Exodus 5-11 was a little challenging just because it is such a familiar story that its sometimes hard to find new insights into the passages. As I was reading though, I started to think about how amazing these various different events were and wondered what it would have been like to have been there and seen it all taking place.

Knowing that it was from God would have just been astounding to see and watch.  While they were not pleasant by any means, seeing that God could cause something to happen to just part of a town and leave another part completely untouched would have been mind boggling if you didn't know that God did it.

Reading over it, I have to remember that His ways are higher than my ways and that I don't understand all He does. Comfort does come from knowing that He is in control and that He does amazing things that are mind blowing, to say the least.

This is all part of why I want to read and really examine what it is I am reading.  It is so easy to just brush over things you have heard so many times and not really take the time to just be amazed at what God has done.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Exodus 4

I was reading through the beginning of Exodus today and the story of Moses. It is a very interesting story to say the least. It is one of those stories that just screams 'God's ways must be higher than our ways'. Take Moses for example...He was a murderer who hid his victim in the sand and yet God used him to bring the Israelites out of slavery.

I also think it screams another message as well. As a lot of you may know, in Exodus 3 God speaks to Moses through a burning bush. They have quite the conversation and God gives Moses the mission of saving His people. Now I don't know about you, but having the experience of conversing with a "burning bush" would hopefully be a life changing moment, especially having an audible voice tell me He was God.

The interesting part is in the next chapter. In Exodus 4 they are continuing the conversation only Moses begins to tell God that He doesn't know if He can do the job. He comes up with the excuse that no one is going to believe Him. When God gives him signs and tools to show people, he then turns his excuse to the fact that he's not a good public speaker.

It amazes me how much people really haven't change in thousands of years. We are still dealing with the same things. Many of us are still insecure...telling God we can't do something because "this is who I am." We still make excuses and get scared that someones not going to like what we have to say.

It would be so easy to point the finger at Moses and say "How could you not believe?" "Didn't God just prove himself to you?" Unfortunately, if we are honest, many of us are the same way. Like I shared last week, God does miraculous things in our lives all the time and yet we question what He asks us to do. We try to come up with excuses as to why we are not good enough.

In verse 14, it says that God's anger burned toward Moses for still not believing. The cool part though, is even in the midst of being angry with him, God gave him yet another chance, and another tool to use.

I wonder how many times God has been angry with me for making excuses. Am I still making excuses? Why?