Friday, November 30, 2012


As I look back over my life, I think the times I struggled most in my walk with Christ are the times that I thought I was doing "good enough."  While our relationship with God is not about what we do, what we do is certainly a reflection of our love for Christ. 

I think so often we get in a "rut" and forget that God has so much more to offer us if we are willing to accept it.  Most often it comes in the form of making us more like Him. 

I was talking with my wife the other day about why some people seem to never change with time even though they say they have a relationship with Christ.  As we were talking I came to realization that even I have been guilty at times of either not listening to what God is challenging me to change in my life or not paying attention to the fact that God is asking me to better myself in a certain way so that I can be more like him.

I think the church failed us in this area when it talk about being "sanctified."  So many have taught that being "sanctified" means you have "arrived," and can no longer sin.  I don't see it like that.  I see sanctification as our response to Christ's saving us from ourselves.  Sanctification is not an arrival but rather a journey of choosing to be more like Christ and striving to be more like Him each day.   As humans we can never attain the "destination" on our own.

The beauty in it all, is that what we often seem to struggle with, is a desire to be free.  We fear that if we become more like Christ we will lose our freedom.  What we don't realize is that those struggles are the chains that bind us from being free and that the freedom in Christ is so much more than what we can imagine.

I have to admit, I have struggles.  We all do.  Being willing to admit we make mistakes and that we do struggle is the first step in being free. Refusing to acknowledge we have a problem or something we need to work on in our lives is a trap satan sets for us so that he can once again attach a chain to our lives and keep us from really being free. 

I want to be free.  I want to experience what more God has for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Would you?

So this story came out today on The Blaze and I had to share it.  While it sounds like it has made quite the impression on Facebook, it is a good reminder of how open our eyes and heart have to be.  I wrote a couple days ago about the spiritual poverty of our nation, but this is truly an example of someone who is in need.

To give you the basics of the story, a police officer happened upon this homeless man who didn't have shoes. It was cold enough that night that another officer stated that he had two pairs of socks on himself and was still cold, so he can only imagine how this gentleman felt.

The officer proceeded to go into the Sketchers store near by and buy the man a $100 pair of all weather boots.

To me, when I hear a story like this I see Christ in action. I do believe there are people nearby to many of us who are in similar situations, we just have to be prepared to truly see. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Your Sign

So for a while now, I have made it a habit of reading church signs.  I find it quite interesting to compare the "messages" that are being sent.  For instance, there is one church in town who for years has had a little sign and chain to the entrance to parking lot, that states church parking only.  On the other hand, there is another church who posted on their church marque the message "Commuter Parking Available Anytime."  I don't know about you, but if I wasn't a follower of The Way, I certainly would consider going to a church that allowed me to use it's parking lot to park if I needed to rather than telling me I wasn't allowed if I didn't go to church there.

Another aspect I find interesting is who the messages are directed to. Personally, if I had a marquee I would make sure my messages were relating to the needs of people and directed at people who had no clue who God is.  I know it's hard to imagine, but so many churches have portrayed God in such a wrong light that many don't know the true God and so many children have grown up with very little understanding of who He is.  I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in how we view church, we forget how "outsiders" might see it.

I think churches should be very conscious of what message they are presenting, but unfortunately many spend very little time or effort on them and the message could really be turning away.  Want to see what I am talking about?  Just try "googling" church signs and click on the images tab at the top.  There are many you can laugh at, but some are just plain sad. may be wondering what this has to do with you.  Well...while many of us don't carry a marquee with us everywhere we go, we do all present a message to others.  Think about what that message might be.  Are you presenting a message that is primarily for the follower and so you can relate to followers pretty well, or could you be one who portrays a message of love for those who aren't following?  Who is your target audience?  Is it the same as Christ's? 

Just something to think about.

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


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Where I belong...

Every once-in-a-while I hear someone say, God has put you right where He wants you to be.  I have to admit, while I do believe this statement, I sometimes struggle with internalizing all that it means. 

First, before I get too far I need to explain that statement. When I look at the statement, I believe it means we have been born into a place where God can use us.  Sometimes, He will ask us to move, and we do have free will to go against that.  What I am saying is that God has a way of working us to a place where we can rely on Him.  Sometimes, that comes from a hard circumstance or event in our life and sometimes it comes from our upbringing or anywhere in-between. 

The other side of that coin is that when we begin to walk with Christ and have a real relationship, He has a way of working us into the place that He wants us to be.  For instance, while I believe God has called me to ministry, I struggle with putting the "ministry" before my relationship.  I do much better when I am not so focused on doing all the "right" things and am actually able to focus on my relationship with Him and truly have time to develop relationships with others.  (Which is where ministry actually takes place anyway)

I would have to say the real reason I struggle with truly believing this whole idea most of the time, has nothing to do with not wanting to be where I am.  The hard part for me is dealing with the fact that I am immersed in a culture that is so focused on what we don't have when in reality we have so much.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in that mindset and constantly want more when so many all over the world have so much less than we could even imagine. 

Now, to me, I have a lot of stuff.  God has surely blessed me, and I believe God has done it for a reason and as I walk with Him, He will reveal how I am to use what He has given me.  On the other hand, I wrestle with the fact that some have so very little and many have nothing to eat.  What makes me so different from those people? 

My wife shared a quote with me the other day by Mother Teresa, it read.
The spiritual poverty of the Western World is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted.
These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is. What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.

 That statement made perfect sense to me.  It resonates with me.  It speaks to what God has been teaching me.  While feeding people and taking care of their physical needs is important, the need for people to feel loved, cared for, and wanted is a real need. If we can truly meet those needs, then we can introduce them to Christ. This is where I am able to understand that statement.  God put me where I am because He has taught me how to love people, how to care about people, how to make people feel wanted.  I am where He wants me to be.  I am in a place that He has prepared for me. 

Sometimes it just takes a change in the way we view things to really wrap our heads around why God has put us where we are.

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, November 26, 2012

Hey You!

So...I couldn't really come up with a great title, so I thought I would use something that is representative of what I want to write about, but not necessarily the best approach. I'll explain later.

Over the last week or so I have been to the store more than I normally am. (or at least it feels that way)  While I was out I noticed several people that I knew in one way or another, but have lost contact with over the years.  Many of them I haven't seen or spoken to in well over 10 years.  Many of them I have very little in common with and really have no reason, in particular, to even worry about having a relationship with them.

It dawned on me after one such incident that God might be opening my eyes to a group of people that I could reflect Christ to.  I don't know that He is calling me to really spend a lot of time investing in people from my past, but rather acknowledge that I do know them and that I can have a conversation with them with very little commitment. 

The more I think about the number of people I see that I know but never talk to, I am challenged to question whether my heart is right towards all people or if I struggle with this humanistic thought of still giving different people value based on what they can or can't do for me. 

I wonder what a difference I could make in someone else's life if I only just took the time to say "Hi, how are you?" and truly mean it?  Who knows what God could do through one small interaction between people, after all you never know the hurt someone else has and what is going on in their life if you don't ask. 

Anyway, it's just a thought. 

Oh, in reference to the title....I wouldn't suggest you saying "Hey, You!" when trying to interact with someone you haven't seen in a long time.  I would recommend coming up with a better approach.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Alright, so everyone needs a bit of amusement today to get it started.

I also would like to share that these kids have to be about Taylor's age.  I have found it hard to listen to him from time to time without picturing these guys acting out his story.   It's quite humorous to be able to identify with. 

Have a great ThanksGiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So Pleasant

I went to Wal-Mart in the later part of the evening to get a few things we needed.  I had quite a few things and I knew the transactions where going to take a while.  I always hate to take up a lot of the cashiers time with just one person, because if anyone ever gets in line behind you they begin to get frustrated with how long it takes.  On the other side though, I don't know that anyone has a real choice in the matter, regardless of how much stuff you get, you have to go through a line to pay for it.

There were only a few available lanes so I picked a shorter one and began to put my things on the conveyor belt. The cashier was an older women and seemed very kind and sweet.  Not to be rude, judgmental, or anything like that but she very much reminded me of Mrs. Doubtfier.  I don't know what it was, but that is what came to mind when I began my conversation with her. 

The transaction was taking a little while and she had a couple issues along the way with the register, but I just waited patiently.  I knew it was about time for her to get off work, so I hoped I wouldn't be the reason she got out late. I always struggled with my attitude when I worked in retail and someone came in the last 2 minutes of my shift and made me stay 15 minutes late.  Yes, I know its only 15 minutes, but at the end of an 8 hr shift, your just ready to be done.

After I paid, I told her thank you and wished her a happy Thanksgiving and she responded with, "Thank you for being so pleasant."  "Transactions aren't always that way."  As I began to think about that, it began to intrigue me.  What made my interaction with her so different than any other?  I hadn't been excessively nice, but rather treated her with respect and patience.  Could people really be that "un-pleasant" to cashiers at stores.

I think back to when I worked in retail and sure I had my ups and downs with various customers, but I don't know that I would have told a customer, "Thank you for being so pleasant."  It makes me wonder how others have been treating her?

I know there are people out there that are very demanding when it comes to going through a register at a retail store.  Not to be judgmental at all, but I can only imagine the various "types" of people that come through the lines at Wal-Mart.  It seems as so many more people are becoming demanding and develop this sense of entitlement, I can only imagine what it is like to be a cashier there.  I'm pretty certain I don't ever want to have that particular job.  It would be very stressful.

Anyway, my whole point is, as we come into a season of Thanksgiving, we need to remind ourselves of what all we have to be thankful for and make sure we don't become one of those that are "un-pleasent" to interact with.  It could be so easy to think of the people who serve us as just doing their job, but in reality it is so much more than that.  They put up with a lot of crap that they should never have to put up with. 

I think Jesus would have spent time loving on cashiers at stores.  He knows how hard it is and what they have to go through.  Let us be a reflection of Him during this holiday season and treat the people who are serving us with a respect and love and make each of our interactions, "so pleasant."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Through the lens

Today's post somewhat goes along with yesterday's.  Not necessarily in that it has to do with my kids, but rather an interesting thought(s), to me anyways, when it comes to how we see the world in which we live.

There are people out there who are always overly happy.  They have always drove me nuts.  I don't know if it's because of how negative I can be at times or if it has to do with the fact that I would love to be able to be that full of joy.  Now I know the Bible talks about being full of joy and being able to have joy even in the midst of hard times.  As I listen to people like this, more often than not, they are genuinely happy because they have LEARNED how to appreciate many of the things life has to offer.

I know I struggle with this.  It's really easy to get caught up in the here and now and what is going on and forget to slow down and really look at things.  I wrote a blog quite a while ago called Looking vs Seeing which somewhat touches on this same subject.

Since I have started photographing more, I think God has been giving me the opportunity to really enjoy His creation.  I have a 30 min drive to work each day on a road that goes mostly through country side (if you call it that).  The more I travel that road the more I see how beautiful some of the trees are.  I have seen amazing sunrises, picture perfect moonlit skies, and numerous other scenes that I wish I had my camera for.

I wonder how many times in life we really miss all that God is doing and all that God has given us, because we move so quickly and refuse to slow down and really examine our surroundings.

I keep coming across this phrase by great photographers called "spray and shoot."  It's a reference to how most amateurs shoot.  We find a target that we think would look cool in a picture and we shoot and shoot and hope that we got one that looks good.  I used to do that more than I do now, but I am still bad at it.

The better a photographer gets at the craft the fewer shots that have to actually have to be taken. Not because there are less targets, but rather they no how to capture the real moment.  They have LEARNED how to see more than just what the average person sees.  They see light, the see subject, they see background, they see detail, they see so much more than the average person.

I once heard a story about a photographer who hiked 5 miles to a mountain side to shoot a sunset picture.  He got to the spot, set up all the equipment, prepared himself for the shot, and then....put it all away and went home, never taking the shot.  When asked why he said the shot wasn't right.  All the elements he was looking for weren't there.   Yet, to so many of us, we would have said hey, that looks good lets just shoot that.  I would fall into that category, I'm sure.

In a nutshell, what I am saying is that I think we spend too much time trying to do more and forget that God gave us so much to be thankful much to much to appreciate and yet we miss it because we are too busy or too focused to slow down and truly enjoy...truly appreciate....truly see what is right in front of our noses.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chapter 8 - Language

A couple weeks ago, I spent some time hanging out with Lilly.  Everyone else was somewhere else (can't remember now) and so I was just having some fun with her enjoying seeing her plan and try new things. 

One of her favorite things is doggies.  She loves doggies and makes a noise very much sounding like doggy.  It's rather cute to see her get so excited over the fact that there is a dog nearby.

We were playing outside, when she noticed our dogs and began to call them.  Now, her call isn't really anything she says, but rather she has heard us make the kissing sound to get the dogs to come, so she does that, really well.  She kissed at them and kissed at them trying to get one of them to give her the time of day.  Neither would even come close unless I called them over.

As I thought about that interaction, I began to think about how Georgia and Sadie need to learn to
"hear" and "listen" to Lilly the same way they listen to us.  Then my thoughts changed to the idea that we have to learn to listen to God in the same way.

I know for a fact, that I have heard from God.  I have heard from Him in several different ways and if you read back through some of my older blogs, I cover several of them in some detail.  However, I know there a lot of people out there that well say they have never heard from God.  I wonder if maybe God talks to us quite a bit, but many times we just don't realize God is talking to us or we just plain ignore it because we want to do our own thing. 

So as I sat there and watched the interaction between Lilly and our dog Georgia, I saw the genuine love Lilly had for the dog and all she wanted was to be close to the dog and play with her.  I couldn't help but  look at my life and wonder how often I have missed spending time with God because, like the dogs, I was too focused on something else and didn't realize God was talking to me or ignored Him talking to me. 

Sure there are going to be times, and I can show you several in the Bible where God gives people really no choice but to hear Him, but I think there are so many times we just miss out because we aren't listening for Him. 

I don't want to miss out.  I want to know what He has for me.  I want to bask in the love that He wants to show me. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Bible ~ a love letter?

One of the greatest things about reading the Bible is that regardless what you have done, there is always someone in there that has either done the same thing or "worse."  What I find amazing is that God still uses those who make mistake after mistake after mistake. 

We have been studying Abraham for a while now in our Connection Class (similar to Sunday School) and if you break it down piece by piece the man royally screwed up many times, yet when he would return back to God and reestablish the communication with God, God would begin to use him again. 
There are so many other stories just like this in which we can read about God doing the very same thing. 

I used to hear call the Bible called a love letter and that always confused me.  I had read the Bible and it sure didn't seem like a love letter to me.  That is until most recently. 

I think one our greatest weaknesses as humans is our pride.  We want to hide our mistakes and keep them as far away from others as possible. We either think of ourselves as less than others, because of how bad we have screwed up, or we think of ourselves as greater than someone else because of how much they have screwed up. In reality, we have all screwed up and I would venture to say that all people have sinned in a way they are not proud of. 

I have written before about the importance of being "real" with each other.  When we are "real" God can begin to shape us.  God can begin to change us into the person He wants us to be.  Hiding who we are only builds up walls and destroys relationships.  That is why satan wants us to feel like we have to, because relationships are key to our relationship with God.  God wants us to be in relationship with each other and like I have mentioned before our love for God is only as great as our love for our enemy. 

Recently as I have been reading the Bible, the love letter concept has become more of a reality to me.  I can see where God is saying, "see, no matter how you screw up, if you turn around, I am still here."  That is true love.  Loving someone, no matter how bad they screw up, mess up, or push you away.  The Bible really is a love letter telling us He will be there for us and telling us to love people the same way. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Well...I haven't been blogging much lately, mostly because I've gotten a little more focused on photography recently.  Through the course of events I've started shooting for other people to make a little extra money on the side and to support my hobby.  It's been an interesting experience thus far, but I am excited to see what the future holds.

What I have found interesting though is how easy it is to get so focused on other things that we forget to slow down and keep God as number one in our lives.  I know that is one of satan's biggest tools is to get us so busy doing something that God has allowed us to do, that we can easily forget God in it all.  I've had to really deal with this recently.

On the other side, however, I find it interesting how God made us to be creative beings.  I know God is creative, have you seen the things He has made.  Sometimes I wonder about what it is like for God to see us be so creative in so many ways.  By being creative, I mean all the positive creativity, not the negative side where we look for "creative" ways to get what we want or to do what we want to do.

Do you ever wonder if God has a "refrigerator" with the images of things we have created hanging on it?  Most parents here on Earth do something like that.  They want to do remember what their kids created.  My refrigerator is covered with different things my kids have made.  It brings joy to us as parents to be able to look at them and see something so creative come out of our kids.   I can't help but think God does the same.  Creativity makes us more like Him.  After all, He did make us in His own image and I don't think that actually means to make us to look just like Him. 

Anyway, just take some time and think about it.  Creativity can be so hard, especially if you are predominately left brained, but I think it brings God joy to see us being creative and really using the talents, abilities, and brains that He gave us.

Friday, November 9, 2012


So far today it feels like I am more "clear" in my head than I have been all week.  I don't really know what it has been but the time change or something has caused me not to be able to put together thoughts like I wanted to, to be able to blog.  Today though, as I headed to work I heard a CD I haven't listed to in a while.  I couldn't help but feel like God was outlining my last few months in three songs.  While I feel like I could write more, today I just want to leave you with these songs to listen to and I will give a brief synopsis of how God reached me with that song.

Maybe you have heard this song, maybe you haven't.  When I first heard it, I was in a place where I really felt like I needed God to be my strength.  I was struggling to find truth and knew my only option was to rely on Him.  It really is a beautiful song.

Last week I shared a song similar to this by another artist, but as I listened to this song this morning, I couldn't help but wonder if God was trying to tell me something back when I would listen to the CD more and I was just to stubborn to hear it.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in trying to "understand" God or "figure it all out."  I wonder if sometimes instead of spending so much time doing the same thing we have always done and trying to analyze everything, we could just put it down for a while and really work on loving people.  Isn't that what His story is about anyway.  The whole Bible spells out a story of a Creator that loves His creation and gave His only son to die so that we could be reconciled to Him.  It is the greatest example of love and yet we look for some many other things we need to be "doing" rather than just realizing it's as simple as truly loving as God loves.

This last one, just really spoke to me in that when we realize how far we have gotten off track and missed the point of it all there is hope.   There is mercy.  There is grace. I couldn't help but share as it it is just a reminder of how even if we have been distracted we can just turn and run back to God and He will be there for us.

I love their music and this CD has really reached me in a lot of different times.  If you want to listen to more of their music a lot of their songs are on YouTube.  Here is a list of the rest of the songs on the CD.  It's worth finding time to listen to.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Election

Well... it is over.  The election didn't really end the way I had hoped, but in reality was there really going to be a good way to end it?  Sure I had a different presidential candidate in mind for winning, but my only reason for that was because of the possibilities that are available to the a second term president who no longer cares about being re-elected.

On the bright side, I know God knows what He is doing. I look back at Israel and how many bad kings they had and how many good kings they had.  It never changed whether God was in control or not. He was always in control and just used those bad times to really bring His people back to Him.

I look back through the Bible and look at our nation and they ultimately tell the same story.  Sin is present and God is evident.  Sin comes to destroy and separate us from from each other and God comes to build up and mend our broken relationships.

Our country is full of broken people.  Like I have been saying for some time, people have become less caring about each other and want to hide themselves.  Christians in general haven't really been any better.  We push people to "be better," make better choices, and to become like us, rather than allowing them to be who God created them to be.  We don't embrace God's creativity rather we get mad at those who don't believe the exact same thing we do.

While I don't like what is happening to our country, was it ever really any better?  Has the drive for "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" ever been a good way to look at it?  Aren't those things only found in God anyway? Truly living life is only found in God, have true liberty should be a reflection of our service to God, and wouldn't pursuing God really be pursuing happiness?  Maybe it is a good way to look at things, we just have been so focused on the here and now of it that we forget that God has to be the center of it all anyway.

Basically what I have come down to at this moment is that if I continue to work on the things that God has laid on my heart over the last 6 months and truly work on developing the relationships He has called me to, things will be ok.  He is still in control and I trust He knows what He is doing. There were true followers in the Bible who had to endure the "will" of the people and God used them.  I want to be someone God is able to use.  I want to be someone God can show Himself through.  I want to be the me He created me to be.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What to say

I have been trying to come up with something to say for the last day or so.  I have found myself in a place where I don't really feel like I have anything to share.  I have a lot of great things going on.  I have had an opportunity to work on restoring some relationships, to work on building some relationships, and as I continue to go through "Hearing God" by Dallas Willard I get more and more conformation about decisions my wife and I have made over the last year or so.

I feel like God is working in our lives, but I have been in a place of rest for the past couple days.  Not that the whole day was restful, but it wasn't chaotic either. I know I need to take advantage of this time as life often moves very quickly and if we don't take advantage of the time then we can easiy lose focus.

Right now, I am asking God for guidance in what my future holds.  Like I have said many times my life is in a place of peace right now where I can accept where God has brought me to.  I try not to get too comfortable as I know God has plans for us. He has been showing me new possibilities and helping me to find new ways to make a little side money.

I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I have spent a lot of time over the past 15 years trying to come up with new ways to make a little extra to support my hobbies or the like. One of the most recent ones is photography.  I love taking pictures of my family.  My little girl has become an inspiration of a lot of my pictures, as before she could walk she was an easy target to shoot.  I have recently become fortunate enough to have the opportunity to begin shooting for others which will help me expand my arsenal, if you will, of camera equipment.  While I don't believe I will ever make a living from it, as a few of my friends do, it is a joy to be able to spend time like that getting to know people while providing them with an inexpensive opportunity for photographs.

Really, what it all boils down to, is that I am in a place of rest, and I am so thankful for what God is doing in my life right now.  He has blessed me and has shown me so much about how often times we take for granted all the things He does in our life.  Sometimes we just need to stop and admire all the "little" things we have to be thankful for.

Friday, November 2, 2012

God's Will vs Your Will

I was listening to a book on CD this morning called Hearing God by Dallas Willard.  In the book he made the statement something along the lines of, if you are listening for God's voice you will seldom end up where you intend to go. 

I thought about that for a few minutes when I realized that's exactly how my life has gone so far.  I can look back over the past few years and can really see where I had desires to do one thing, but God told me He wanted me to do something else.  Sometimes even in the midst of doing what I thought He told me He wanted to do, He would guide me in another direction.

I think about the Paul's store, where in Acts it says that He was prevented by the Holy Spirit from going to Asia.  Paul had said earlier that he had intentions of heading to Asia, but God changed his direction.  We don't know exactly why, but God's plans were bigger than Paul's.

I guess what I really want to say is, is that we need to be in tune to listening for God's voice in whatever manner He so chooses to speak to us.  I wonder how many times we haven't been listening and He has been trying to speak to us so we end up where He didn't want us to be.  I'm sure I have made my fair share of mistakes. I am just praying that my heart, eyes, and ears are ready to see/listen when God is trying to change my direction.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

American Apology

As we are in the last week before the election people are publicizing their political views more than ever.  Facebook is loaded with people posting adds or endorsements for candidates, people complaining about people posting adds or endorsements for candidates and people complaining about people complaining about people posting adds or endorsements for candidates. It's a viscous cycle.  The opposing sides talk bad about the other side and do whatever they can to make their side look a little better. 

As I have in the past waded through the differences between the two sides I often wonder how things could be any different.  While some might disagree with me, I have found things on both sides that I really agree with.  I think we should help the poor, but I don't think it should be just a handout.  I think we should help those who don't have jobs, but I don't think we should just give them money.  I don't think drugs should be illegal.  I don't think abortion should ever be legal.  I think the government should be able to tax, but I don't think they should redistribute wealth.  I think the education system is important, but I don't think the government should be in it.  The list could go on and on, but that's not what I sat down to say this morning.

As I look through the list of what I agree and don't agree with I began to wonder where the church is in all of this.  Why have some of these ideas ever been accepted?  Is it because the church isn't doing it's job?

I have a habit of lumping "the church" into one big category.  I know there are some churches out there that do a better job than others, but the truth is we have all failed from time to time.  Whether it be something we have said, something we did or didn't do, or a relationship we refused to mend/build.

I have this notion that if the church would be willing to say, "I'm wrong" once in a while or "I'm sorry I hurt you," things would be a lot different.  Instead we are willing to destroy people and "send them to hell" just because they believe differently than us.  We choose not to build relationships with people because they are different or it may be a challenge.

I look back over the issues and see how most of them could be solved if we as the body of Christ would just step it up and build relationships. We would know when people are in need and be able to help them with more than just money, but we could help them get back on their feet. We could support and show love to the woman who decides not to have an abortion rather than scorning her for either a decision she made or being raped.  We would teach people through our relationships that shame is not something God wants for us.

I think we who America an apology. For too long we have not been Christ to those who are hurting, those who are in need, and those who really need us.  We have become of the world in that we want to be isolationists and want to keep our problems to ourselves rather than apologizing for the fact that we don't know all the answers and that we make mistakes.

We as a body struggle with pride and many of us have become just like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son.  Too busy looking at all the good we have done and how we haven't been "rewarded" that we forget the we already have access to all of what God has for us.

We need to quit blaming the countries issues on everyone else and realize that many of us are the problem.