Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Women as Equals

This morning, I started reading  the blog of Donald Miller and his topic of the day was whether women wanted to be treated as equals or treated as men.  I found the article interesting as I have been struggling with how our culture deals with women in today's world.  He goes on to explain that women would rather be treated as equals rather than as men because men interact differently with each other than women would ever want to be interacted with.  Check out the thoughts, its quite interesting.

I have been wrestling with this topic for quite some time because I believe our society is doing women an injustice.  I don't believe women are equal to men.  Hold it, I know what you are thinking....that statement could have easily offended some of you.  I have had this conversation with my wife numerous times and she understands my opinion. 

The reason I say they aren't equal to men, is because no where in the Bible does it say they are equal.  It says they are a weaker vessel, and that certainly makes them not equal.  I do believe they are just as important as men and valued by God none the less.  What I believe is that men and women are on different "playing fields" and shouldn't be compared to one another at all when it comes to being "equals."

Now, I could go on and on with my thoughts on the roles of men and women, but I am sure some of you would disagree.  What I want to do though is challenge you to look through the Bible and see if your views of men and women align with what the it teaches.  If you are married, really do your research.  You owe it to your spouse.

Long story short, I think we as a society have really committed a great injustice towards women.  We have lost sight of the roles God intended us to have and many both men and women have sought after our own desires trying to validate our existence. We forget that our existence is already validated because God created us and God wanted to create us.  He created both Men and Women to fulfill His purpose in different ways.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is it fair?

 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went. Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did the same thing. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’ When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’  But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?  Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’  So the last shall be first, and the first last.”  -Matthew 20:1-16

I have been thinking a lot about this passage recently. I don't really know why, but my mind keeps coming back to it.  I just can't help but wonder how often we are like those who began work in the morning and get frustrated at the end of the day when everyone is getting paid the same as us even when they didn't work all day.  We agreed to it, after all. 

On the other hand, I try to think about it like Jesus said, as in it's like the Kingdom of God. How often do we grumble at God because we have been "good" for so long and others who have become new believers get the same reward as us?  Maybe we don't grumble at God, but our actions towards others are unloving which is just like grumbling at God. 

I don't really know what God is trying to show me with it other than it doesn't matter how much work I do or how late in the game I actually begin to play we are all equal in His eyes.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that from time to time I start to shift from doing things out of love to doing things out of duty and trying to earn my keep.  Do you ever go through a period of time when you look back and realize what you had been doing wasn't out of loving God, but you were trying to earn His favor?  It's hard to believe that regardless of what we do we have His favor. 

It's times when I forget, that I really have to try and think about my love for my wife and kids and how my love isn't based on what they do for me.  I will love them the same no matter what.  They can't earn any more love from me.  I love them whether they make good choices or make bad choices.  God's love is so much great than mine.  Why do we forget that and believe Satan's lie that God only loves' us for what we can do?  Is it because that is how we treat other people?  

Like I said, I have had these thoughts running around in my mind for a while now and I had to put them into words.  It goes so against everything that the world tells us is right.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Proof of Your Love

I know I have heard this song many times before. Lately God has been dealing with me on this exact concept.  When I heard this song this morning, it made perfect sense.  I just had to share.

1 Corinthians 13 - NASB
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This is the making of the video. Maybe even more thought provoking that the actual song.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Saving Lives

So, I came across this story yesterday and I just had to share it.  Such an amazing story.

From Storyline Blog:

Meet Don Richie. Don is 84 years old and recently received a bravery medal and the Order of Australia, the country’s second highest civilian honor. He got the award because he saves lives. Here’s his story:


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

See vs Truth

Like I mentioned a couple days ago, I have a few thoughts that I really wanted to elaborate on from this past weekends conference. I know I quoted him yesterday, but Dr. Rick Rigsby made another statement that I really believe could impact how we view ourselves and our circumstances.  He said, "Never focus on what you see, but on what you know to be true."

As I began to ponder about this idea and looking back over my life I can see His truth in my life now where during the experience I couldn't see God.  I will admit there have been times since we have been back to Fulton that I have questioned whether I was where God wanted me or not.  Then after doing life for a while I can begin to see where God has been working.

If you have read much of my past blogs then you know that living in community and discipleship are a big deal to me.  I think they are vitally important and God calls us to live that way.  Over the last couple years I have met several people that believe quite the opposite, or so it would seem based on their actions.  It's during these interactions that it becomes easy to discouraged. When you feel like something is so important and others seem to think it of little value, quite a internal conflict can occur.  It is during these times that we have to rely on what we "know to be true," and let go of "what we see."

I didn't really know what to expect when going to the conference this past weekend.  I knew it was for men, but men's conferences can go all sorts of directions.  What I found interesting is that God began to clarify some of His truth's in my life, by reaffirming the importance of discipleship.  He even gave me some extra tools to use in reaching out to those who I believe God has called me to disciple.  His truth became evident in a time where I could have easily been confused by what I saw and how I was feeling.

Then yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend about the importance of living in community.  We talked of how it often seems that others don't want community and they want to be, what I would call, "isolationist."  The seem to want to life on their own, so much that we could easily begin believing it has something to do with us.  This is again where we have to believe in God's truth rather than what we see.  God created us to live in community and what I have found is that even those who seem to want to live a life of "isolationism," often want relationship and for others to care about them, but have bought into the lie that they are different.  The conversation itself was such a blessing to me, because I identified with what he was saying.  I identified with how he was feeling.  Yet, I knew the conversation was orchestrated by God so that I could see His truth in my life and could be reminded of it.

Sometimes we get so focused on what we see that we can't see His truth.  It would have been so easy in all of the situations to just give up and feel like I have been wrong in believing in the importance of community.  It would be easy to try and just hang on to the past and even wonder if our view in the past was skewed and wasn't what we make it out to be. That is when I am reminded by God that His truth is truth and sometimes it will be hard and sometimes it will seem like its not going to work, but if we focus on what we know to be true what we see can be changed.

Ask God to show you HIS truth and I guarantee it will change what you see.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Monday, October 22, 2012

Whatever It Takes

Over the past weekend I had an opportunity to go with a group of guys to an event  called "Men at the Cross." It is a conference that speaks to the fact that men need to disciple men. I have been blogging about that for quite some time now, and while I didn't really know upfront that was the focus of the conference. I didn't really know what to expect other than I would be spending some time with guys from the church and hoped to develop some new relationships.

For me the conference was so short that it came across almost like a machine gun firing.  While it had a great message there were lots of points that were "fired" that I had to write down, because for me they needed more thought.

One such point is based off the statement, "Make me like Jesus, whatever it takes."  Dr. Rick Rigsby said that he has been praying that prayer for quite some time now.  As I listen to him share about what that looks like and means to him, I wrote that phrase down, because I wanted to examine that prayer in my life.

While I can't say that I pray those exact words, my heart has been in that place several times over the last several years.  What I find interesting is that when my heart gets to that place, God allows things to come into my life to teach me how to be more like Jesus.  It is not an easy place to be.  I don't know that I can even say that I succeed in seeing it as such most of the time, at least until God has me go through a series of events to finally see the point He has been teaching me.  

As I write this, I can't help but think, "I wish God would just be more logical."  I know that God is very logical and His wisdom far surpasses mine.  That is the way it has to be.  I don't want a God that I can entirely figure out.  Knowing the fact that God knows so much more than me gives me comfort.  It's amazing how often our "logic" is actually so illogical when it comes to the way God views things. 

So here I am today, in front of each of you asking God to "make me like Jesus, whatever it takes."  Maybe today can be a day that you can begin examining what that looks like in your life and if you are ready to say the same thing.  I guarantee you it will not be an easy journey, but from my journey I can say it is worth it.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Friday, October 19, 2012


A couple days ago I talked about our blessings and how sometimes they can turn into our curses if we let those things get in the way of our relationship with God.  For some time now I have been thinking about how much stuff I really have and if I would ever be willing to give it up to live a simple life.  While it doesn't sound easy, I do think it would be worth it in the long run.

I recently came across a video of a young teen who built his own house for less that $12k.  When I look at the cost of his house and how simple he would have to live I am somewhat envious of the whole idea.  I understand that you have to give up a lot and it would be challenging, but I think it would bring its joys along with it.

I can't quite convince Marcey this is the way we should live, especially with 3 kids, but I would love to someday help my kids build houses similar to this so that they could say they own their own houses and start off their adult life debt free.

Anyway, I couldn't help but share this video.  I am just so intrigued by it. It reinforces the idea I have had for a while of being able to live in community with others and not rely so much on the things the world tells us are good.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


 But if any has caused sorrow, he has caused sorrow not to me, but in some degree—in order not to say too much—to all of you. Sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. For to this end also I wrote, so that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ,  so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.  -2 Corinthians 2:5-11

Our Pastor shared this passage with us the other day, and immediately I knew it was something God was wanting to share with me.  As I read it, I could just hear God speaking to me saying "I have this under control. I am testing you to see if you really love me the way you say you do."  I think that is a hard statement to hear.  Nobody really wants to be tested, especially when they know God will test you at the places you know you struggle with.

As I read over it, I see a challenge to love someone who you know is struggling.  Sometimes that struggle with be something that causes you a lot of pain or unrest.  God is challenging me to move beyond myself and to choose forgiveness.  Not just forgiveness, but forgiveness followed by love.  A love that goes beyond just moving past the situation, but rather running into the situation and trying to be an encourager and a support for someone who may not have any true encouragement or support coming from anywhere else.  

God forgives us.  God shows us love.  Satan wants us to hold onto hurts and pain.  Satan doesn't want us to forgive. Satan's way brings torment and suffering.  God's way bring a peace that will pass all understanding.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I ran across this earlier yesteday and I just had to share.

Sounds like a pretty good challenge to me.  I know I have often wondered if I am a drain on people.  I have a couple friends that when I am around them I can't help but feel lifted by them.  Which makes me wonder if they are lifting me am I bringing them down?   I have been around those types of people too.  The type that no matter how much you give always want more and really drain you mentally and physically. 

I think the challenge here comes when you look at the opportunity we have to really be a gift to a friend rather than a drain.  Could it be that more often-than-not the way we view ourselves is how we actually act in return becoming that drain that we hope we are not?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I heard someone the other day talk about how blessed we are to be Americans.  They talked about all the advantages we have, all the resources we have, all the stuff we have, and how much better our lives are than people in so many other places of the world.  Something about that statement didn't seem right to me.  I mean, I do believe God blesses us and gives us what we need but are we truly blessed by the things that we have?

A while back I mentioned I was watching a movie by Louie Giglio who was talking about how people pray.  One of the things he pointed out was that people always ask God to bless them in one way or another; Bless this food; Bless the hands that prepared this food; Bless this time we have together; Bless our conversation; etc.  The list can go on and on.  I began to look at my prayers and sure enough I was asking God to bless various things depending on my time of prayer. 

He went on to talk about how God promised to bless Abraham and how we have been blessed through that promise.  God blessed us when He sent Jesus to die for our sins.  He doesn't need to bless us in any other way does He?  Do we really need more?

I've been thinking about all the blessings God has given me over time and I can't possibly ask Him to bless me more.  Then today I was reading and I came across this passage:

"Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.  Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets." Luke 6:20-26

After reading it I couldn't help but feel warned by the "woe to you" lines.  We as Americans are rich, we (for the most part) as Americans are well fed, we who are Americans love to laugh, and as Americans we want people to speak well of us.  While I know God blesses people with each of these things, I think the "woe" comes from the fact that our heart can be ever so consumed with these areas that they actually become our own detriment. In reality most of our struggles as Americans fall under one of those categories. 

So back to the original statement.  I do believe we have been blessed with many things as Americans, but those things oh-so-often have become our curse.  Maybe our relationship with God would be strengthened if we weren't so "blessed."

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Wine

And He was also telling them a parable: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and puts it on an old garment; otherwise he will both tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.  And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘The old is good enough.’”-Luke 5:36-39

I would have to say that I have read this many times, but never really applied to or attempted to apply it to my life.  While most of the references made sense, I will honestly say that I didn't really take the time to examine the possible applications...that is....Until today.

Jesus was talking about the new covenant God was making with us.  It goes back to what Matthew had shared Jesus saying in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."  What He came to do was not repair the old, but to fulfill it and to create a new covenant.

For me, when I examined it this time I began to look at my own personal beliefs over time.  I thought about the times when I was taught mostly about the things that I shouldn't do and how living a life for God meant not doing x, y, and z plus 1000 other things.  It was a life of trying not to do wrong and when failing God would send you to hell.  I reckon that to being like the Old Covenant.  They had a lot of laws that they had to follow and the religious leaders kept adding new to it.  There wasn't a lot of positives other than you were allowed to stay a part of the community and you had some hope of not going dieing an eternal death.

It was mostly about control by the religious leaders and ultimately gave some people more value than others.  If you appeared to be doing "better" than others that is all that mattered.  The heart really meant very little as long as your actions were correct.

I see the new covenant as Christ reconciling us to God and freeing us from the law that kept people from truly worshiping God with their hearts.  The new allows us to be free and calls us to a life of relationship out of love which expresses itself through actions.  When we realize we are not trapped to a law and don't have to go through our lives trying not to do wrong, we are free to have a relationship which God that changes us.  It changes us so much that our love that we have for God helps us to not desire to do those things that separate us from God. We want to do right.  Our love wants to flow free.

Unfortunately there are so many that get stuck in this old way of thinking and believe that "The Old is good enough."  They, like me, are trapped in a religion that is all about rules and looking good, that they miss the relationship God wants to have with them. If you think about it, how can someone so focused on doing the right things and looking the right way ever find time to focus on God and spend time getting to know Him?

Don't settle for "good enough."  Embrace the relationship and the love that is God and let Him show you what He has for you. 

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV


The last few days have been challenging to come up with anything to write about.  I have  a few ideas, but it just feels like my mind doesn't want to work right to put together the thoughts I want to say.  I am in the midst of trying to find clarity on how to handle a conflict.  The problem is, all too often, I let the conflict get in the way of everything else.

I don't really like conflict at all.  I hate feeling like there is conflict.  The more I go through life though, the more I can see why God calls this world broken.  There are so many broken relationships because of conflict the world really can't be anything but broken.  I know the root of broken relationships is sin and ultimately satan wants our relationships broken because that will create a separation between us and God.  

The hard part for me is finding that line of love.  I believe God called us to love everyone regardless.  I believe sometimes love is tough and sometimes love is letting things go.   The hard part for me is trying to decide which battles are worth fighting.  I want to do what God wants.  I want to love the way God would love.

I've been reading the Bible for quite some time now with several goals in mind.  The most obvious one is to know more of God, but I also have a couple other questions that I run pretty much everything I read through.  One of which is this concept of conflict and loving others. I've had many discussions about it with others, looked at many passages, tried to understand the different passages where Paul or other apostles addressed it with the church.  Yet, the answer has yet to be clear.

I titled today Broken, because of how broken the world seems to be.  I know that is why God called us and has offered us the opportunity to have a life that is made whole, but in the midst of life and as I grow older, I can't help but see how many lives that seem out of touch, with the reality of who God is, are completely broken.  I don't want this to be confused with me thinking I am better than anyone, because in reality God created us all the same.

As I work through this conflict, my eyes have again been opened to the brokenness that is all around us.  The brokenness just creates more conflict and the conflict creates more brokenness.  That is the joy of who Jesus is and what He did for us.  He came to fix that brokenness and to repair the conflict.

Jesus said "the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few" and I believe that.  It's evident everywhere you turn.  I have to believe though that there are some that aren't ready to be part of the harvest and aren't "ripe for the pickin" yet.  I guess that is where I struggle more often that not when it comes to those relationships.  It's hard to sit by and watch as they are "ok" with their lives and don't mind living in the state of being "unbroken" and in "conflict" with God.

I hate being in that place.  Being in "conflict" with God hurts when you know it gets in the way of the relationship with Him.  That is the beauty of being able to come broken before Him and allowing Jesus to make us whole again.

Anyway, I can't really come up with a good way to end this thought.  As you can see it is somewhat of a circular pattern that is running around in my head.  I'm just glad God has it all figured out and is a lot smarter and wiser than me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter 7 - Mine

If you have just started reading, the whole Chapter 7 title might through you off a bit.  For the last several years I have been contemplating writing a book (probably will never happen) about all the things I have learned from my kids about God.  Sometimes it is the way they challenge me, other times it is by what they say and how I can relate our relationship to the relationship I have with God.

Up until about 6 months ago I have had a keyboard in my house since before my kids were born.  I don't know how many hours Noah and Taylor played on it.  My old one had all different songs and sounds that it could play and the boys would turn various ones on and dance.  It was quite funny at times.  Other times they would just sit down and play on it making up their own songs as they go along. 

I liked the keyboard, but the boys are getting old enough to where they could actually learn to play the piano and not just play ON the piano.  So I sold the keyboard.  I sold the keyboard in hopes that I would take the money I got for it, plus a little extra and purchase a nicer one that the boys would be able to learn on.  The old one didn't have weighted keys and I wanted them to have the closest thing they could to a real piano. (A real piano would be nice, but they are typically expensive and require maintenance)

I couldn't ever find one that I really liked so we have been without one for about 6 months.  I finally found one and after a little bit of negotiating I was able to get the new one that woudl be perfect for the boys to learn to play on.  (Yes, Lilly could learn on it too, but she is nowhere near old enough yet)

I brought it home last night and the first thing out of Taylor's mouth when he saw it was "Did you buy me a new piano?"  He was so excited and it warmed my heart to know that he was excited to get it as I was to get it for them.  He kept talking about how I got HIM a new piano and wanted to play HIS piano. 

As I begin to think about that and the conversations we had had about it, I begin to see how I often I have that same response with God and I am sure I am not the only one.

God allows something to become part of our lives or someone to come into our lives and we immediately begin to thank Him for it and take ownership of it, when in reality it still His.  I wonder how many times God brings things into  our lives for us to enjoy, but we see it as He is giving it to us as our own.

I think we should treat things like their our own in how we take care of them, but I think a much better perspective of live comes when we realize nothing we have is actually ours.  The more I think about it the more that concept really challenges me to look at how I live my life.  If I really believe God bought my life with the death of His son, my only response can be to offer my life back over to Him.  If my life is His and He is the creator of everything then I have nothing in my life that I can actually claim as my own.

I think having a perspective like this would actually make it easier to give up anything that God asks me to give up.  Seeing other people in that same light would also challenge me to think about how I interact with them.  Which correlates with  what Jesus said in that what we do unto the least of these we do unto Him.

Anyway, right now it's just a concept and a challenge I have given myself to really evaluate how often I truly see everything as God's compared to how often I lose focus and see things as mine.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Provision

I would like to make a habit of always looking for God in everything I do.  Sometimes, I struggle with doing that.  Today, is not one of those days.

For years I worked at "retail supply store."  When I finally found a new job, I thought it would be nice to stay on part time for a while just to hang on to the discounts and to make a few extra bucks each month. It was nice to have the extra money, but before long I was getting tired of having that take up my family time.  I told my boss I had to stop working for "retail supply store", but if she would like to keep me on for minimal part time as a "consultant" I could do that.  This way I could help them when they needed it.

Two weeks ago that all ended.  My manager let me know that I could no longer stay on her payroll list.  She let me know that I should be receiving my last paycheck pretty soon.  I understood and  I started to think of what I could do with the money that I would be getting from that check.

I have been wanting to buy the boys a keyboard for a while, as I sold mine a while back planning on buying a new one, so that was an easy option.  I knew we had to register our car so this extra money was going to help with that,  but these were my ideas.....not Gods.

One of our cars had been making a weird noise for a bit so I was going to have it fixed.  I took it to Sam's Club to have it looked at and they told me one of our tires was bad and that was most likely the problem.  That sounded right as I had done some research online and several people mentioned that could be what it was.

Long story short, I had to buy two new tires. (Didn't solve the problem, by the way)  On top of that, I had some other things that ended up needing some monetary attention.  All said and done the extra time my boss had keyed it really helped.  Without it, I am sure we could have pulled some things together to make it work, but in the midst of it I could actually see God's provision for us.  He knew what we were going to need and made it happen.

I had had that deal with my boss for probably 5 or more months now and there was no reason it had to have lasted this long to end my employment.  It was all about God's timing. 

To add to the story, it turns out the car had a bad wheel bearing that my dad was able to change.  (It  is a blessing to be able to have help like that.)  In the process the auto supply store couldn't locate the one they had quoted us so they sold us the nicer one at the same cost. (I don't know why, but somehow I want to say that was part of God's plan as well.)  For me, this all just goes to show that sometimes God's blessings can come in the form of hard-times, money, or people.  I am just glad that I can actually recognize it as such.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Days Like Today

Alright, so I don't know that the title is really a good description of what I want to talk about today, but it is days like today that make me question and wonder about our life here in the United States. 

As I previously shared here, I agree with Don that our culture is a little preoccupied and that some of our views are quiet a bit out of skew.  After reading his take on it, I came across a friend of mine's blog where she was sharing about her trip to Haiti.  As I think about the posts shared by the two of them, I can't help but wonder how far our perception of reality is off.

Jesus said it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.  I don't really want to go into the who camel through the eye of a needle thing, but I believe it does mean that it is hard.

I think about us as Americans compared to other countries and to so many we are really rich.  We have more than many people in this world could dream of.  As I put two and two together, I wonder if the reason it is harder is because we end up with more worries, more cares, more things that distracted from the reality of our lives.

I look back over my even recent life and how often I have lost focus of the truth that is Jesus Christ and focused on something that is so unimportant in the scheme of things.  The more I look at my life I see exactly what Christ meant.  It is hard to keep our heart in the right place.  It is hard to not lose sight of God when we can so easily get focused on what we want.

I think in general it is easy to become so focused on the wants. We want a new car, we want a new house, we want new clothes, we want more money, we want bigger this, bigger that, most of what many of us think about is what we want....we want and we want and we want.  We forget about what God wants and really His wants are the only things that matter, yet for most of us they don't matter.

Anyway, just a thought for the day.  What is it that you really want? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Is it what we think it is?

Ok, so I really shortened down the title from its original authors'.  I like to keep mine short.   Anyway, the original title is "How does American Culture Influence Christianity?"  I thought that was an interesting title, because I don't know that it should.  Anyway here is what Donald Miller had to say today.  I found it fascinating and rather insightful.

It’s a broad topic that deserves a book, of course, but just asking the question has value.
I’ll choose only one area to start, and that’s our culture’s preoccupation with the self and success. I mean this as one topic because the kind of success we are talking about is really about self glory.
America loves a winner. All cultures do, but we love them especially and I’d even say more.
I remember spending time in Peru, where the pace is slow, even uncomfortably slow. I daily watched farmers walk into their fields from their tiny huts and asked our hiking guide what the values of the culture were. I asked because nobody was really bent on success in the American sense. They weren’t trying to build small businesses and seemed content on being, well, largely anonymous.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Stealing Joy

It is easy to let Satan steal your joy.  He does it in oh-so-many ways.  It seems that for the past while I have been able to stave off letting him steal my joy for a while, but this weekend had several instances where I really let him destroy me.

In retrospect, I think we often can see it coming, but sometimes in the middle of it you just get so focused on the things at hand you forget to see the bigger picture.  I think I mentioned it a few weeks ago, but I recently heard someone say that one of satan's biggest tools is getting us distracted from the bigger picture.

I say all this today because I know that often I write about things I see "wrong" or about something I recently heard, but I know I also need to write about my own life struggles.  I think God wants us to be open and honest with each other.  He wants us to share our struggles and really work through them together.  I am thankful for two best friends and a wife who really let me do that with them.

I know I have mentioned it before, but I have to go back to it.  I recently heard Chuck Swindoll say that we all need a couple of friends who care more about our character than our comfort.  It's not easy being on either side of that relationship, but it is worth it.  I think it is through those relationships that God is able to really help us change and be a part of the changes He wants to make.

I think we often need to just take time during our busy lives and really reflect on what all we have going on.  The calling of God is not a complicated one, but rather a simple one.  He did not call us to do and do and do, but rather "...go and make disciples of all nations..." It's amazing how complicated we make it and how far off track satan has gotten some of us.  

A while back I wrote about looking for disciples and somewhat that looks like.  I just wanted to give you an update on where I am.  While I haven't necessarily developed real relationships with the men I believe God has called me to disciple, I do believe I have found 5 men that God has laid it on my heart to pray for and look for opportunities to really connect with.  I don't really know what that looks like or what it will ultimately turn into, but I can say that it has to begin with prayer and God revealing to me more of His plan.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday... is a Monday and while I do have things I want to share, I haven't been able to clearly think through any of the thoughts yet so I don't want to post yet.  However, I found a video a while back that I haven't shared that I thought some of you might find funny/disturbing/realistic or all three.  I am sure to a certain extent we can all relate to part of it even if it was at some point in our past.  It's not very long and worth the watch.