Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas! Little Drummer Boy!

Out of all the Christmas songs out there, my favorite is Little Drummer Boy. Now, before you chuckle too much, I'm being serious. It seems childish at first, but the song just has a simple truth running through it that I think Christians really often miss or just need reminding of. And I love to here it, sing it, and just be reminded of what my place is relative to my Savior. The song could be applied to our lives year-around. As a reminder here are the lyrics:

Little Drummer Boy: Lyrics
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum

It seems as if every time I listen to it, my mind wanders into the scene of what the song presents, my heart softens, and my spirit just revels in the truth that is laid before me.

The first part of this song is from the perspective of possibly the wise men or some other "well off" group of people. They have heard that the new King, the real King, is born. They know that they need to go and see him and in honor of Him bring some really great gift. Typically, we know the wise men brought items of great value, as I'm sure many others did as well. That was the custom. Now, there is nothing wrong with this thinking or their action, but that is what they are bringing before the King.

The second part of the song swings over to this little boy. He has also heard of the King's birth and is going to see the King, too. In his mind he knows the traditions of what people brought before kings. But, he is poor. He doesn't have any item of great value to offer to Him. But, with his heart right before God, keeps going, and brings the best of what he does have.... his drum! He has probably had his drum for a long time and is one of the only things he has. In his mind, maybe he thinks, his drum is nothing special. Maybe, he thinks it's just an ordinary part of his life. But, it is all he has.

On arrival, he just goes for it. No matter what anyone else thinks in the group of people, he plays. All the women probably are thinking, "Awe, that is so precious." The men there are probably thinking, "Get that little boy out of here, he's not that good. Don't you know who you are playing for?" In his mind maybe he is still thinking, "This is not a proper gift or i'm not a professional drummer. But it is all I have, so I need to play." rum pum pum pum.....

He plays and plays, Mary and Joseph are into it. The animals are into it. And most of all Jesus as a little boy smiles. The King approves of his gift. A simple gift.

I know the story of the boy isn't necessarily true, even though the story of Jesus' birth is. But, the picture is profound. God calls us to bring what we have, to give OUR best, to honor him. We don't have to BE the best, just bring OUR best. There is no place for thinking, "Hey, there is someone else here who can do it better, so I will not give mine". I know in my life, I can easily fall into that way of thinking. Jesus is not concerned with comparing our gifts to the others. He wants us to bring all we have before Him. It's the heart that matters here and not the gift itself.

God gives all gifts that we can use to glorify Him(1 Cor. 12-13).Furthermore, He gave them to us for a reason. He wants us to actually use them(1 Peter 4) Now, at first we won't be so good at what we do, but as we practice and put it into play in our lives, we get better. And God wants us to give the best.

The church often misses opportunities to let someone give their best because they are only looking for THE best for certain things. There is room enough for all to give all of their best, no matter at what level. Don't be squandered, use it. No one gift is more important than another. The gold by the wise men is no better than the drum by the boy and vise versa, as long as the gift is given in full to glorify God and not yourself.

So, this Christmas, this year. Don't forget that God has given you talents, gifts, and place on this earth to glorify Him. Use these things for that the best that you can and you will be living out what God wants from you. Is it always going to be easy, no. But, that is what he rum pum pum pum....

Merry Christmas!!!!

As a side note: I have heard many, many versions of this song. My favorite(s) come from a band called Jars of Clay. In my opinion, it is just the best. They are an incredibly talented band, using their gifts in wonderful ways to glorify God and they just make good music!

I'm just sayin'

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The stormiest friday I can remember!

The day was an ok day as it was, but the storm came on suddenly. We knew it was possible and prepared, but it still came on quick. Rains soaked everything, winds tore through, the sky was as dark as could be, no visibility through it, power flickered and we sat wondering what it would be like when it was over. Afterward, we gathered ourselves and surveyed the damage. Neighbors gathered together to pick up broken branches, clean up debris, put belongings back in place, and help restore the things that we could and remember the things we couldn't.
It was not a fun ride to say the least, but a ride given by God. It showed Him and His many attributes. But, the community rallies together as it should, keeps moving forward, trusting in Him, following His lead, and remembering His word. We trust in you God to help us pick up and move on.
We remember you Matt Edwards and your presence in our lives in so many ways. Thank you for showing us in an ever increasing way the sacrifice that Christ showed us. Your life was a reflection of Him. It does not go unnoticed. Thank you God for your work through Matt, His followship of You is a testament to You. Our community is better for it.
Edwards Family: We are thankful for you. I can hardly begin to understand how you feel, but only to just be there with you while you pick up and move forward. Our family is with you, praying, restoring, remembering. The storm is crazy, but God redeems through it.
It was only later that day that we had a bad thunderstorm. In retrospect of the day it was like rainshower and it's damage minimal. What a stormy friday!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July

It's interesting how much more PC our culture is getting. I've always been bugged by just saying happy holidays or have a good holiday. It started off with Christmas and people didn't want to offend so they said happy holidays to cover Christmas and New Years. That was annoying enough. Then the last couple of years I hear it for Thanksgiving. Even more annoying. Now, for the 4th of July. Seriously, are any of you that offended by celebrating our nations freedom. If you are you need to move to another country. I can't believe how many people have said have a happy holiday over the last couple of days. I'm just sayin'

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Where there is smoke....

"Where there is smoke there is fire"

I'm really beginning to absolutely hate this statement. I know why it's used. The problem is it's a prejudgement statement. And, we should not be in the business of prejudging people. Often it's used in commentary toward some legal case, politician, or political issue. But, really it is a poor choice for the user. It shows you do not want to think something through and just pass it off and pass judgement prematurely. A good example is when legal charges are brought against someone and they may already have a poor record. A person may see the charge and their past and determine their judgement based on their history or some other non-relevant thing. For instance, in Detroit, the former mayor (Kwame Kilpatrick)just recently got convicted for a couple of serious items. Now a few days ago, their have been some new charges for a number of other items. And really, all I have heard in response to those charges were "See, look at all the stuff he was doing." He has not been convicted yet, but the public is already condeming him. What a shame for our society. I don't care what a person's history is we need to see the results before we can pass judgement like that.

Now, many times, a person's history or other things help us to come to a conclusion when they are along with some facts. They may open up a road that leads to the correct conclusion or they may lead to a dead end. But, these things are not reasons within themselves. This is very common is race issues. One race may not like another one and will cite that as the reason they are a certain way and then pass judgement solely on that. This is a terrible thing. This does nothing but divide people.

This simple phrase is really divisive!

Don't forget there are other conclusions to "When you see smoke..."
Like: "Where there's smoke, there may be mirrors" and you may see something else entirely and not the truth. You may want to ask Criss Angel or David Copperfield about that.
The smoke may be a fog that covers the situation and when it is lifted, may not show fire at all but a reality that you may not want to be in. Like driving downt the wrong way on a road on a foggy day.

The only thing we know for sure, is "When there is smoke, there is smoke."

I'm just sayin'

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Weather

I was looking at the weather for this coming week on the weather channel's website. For the next week the predictions are no rain, 70-80 degree days, 60-70 degree nights, and just flat out sunny. Now, I know as well as anybody that a meteorologist predictions can't be truly trusted beyond about 2 minutes, but they are a good gauge. The week probably won't truly be that way. I like it for the moment, though. It's like the dream summer week, not to hot, no rain, sunny. It just makes me smile for the moment. Hey, it could happen!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The human element - God's Glory

So, now that some time has past and the angry winds have died down I wanted to share my thoughts Armando Galarraga's one hitter. There is so much to this it is crazy. The emotions span the spectrum. As I listen to commentary after commentary, one underlying thing just kept popping into my head, the human element. It is the human element that makes watching other humans play sports more interesting then watching robots do it. Now, I do not follow baseball that much, if at all. I used to when I was younger, but I don't get into much now. This situation intrigues me though. But, don't write me off just because I'm not a baseball follower. There is a ton to this one play that will be etched in our memory for history. I have seen the clips over and over to just see how things went down, though. This situation is one of those where there really isn't a right or wrong call. There is no moral issue and it is part of a game. And God's glory was shown by many if we just look and see.

Off the bat, I just want to say, I'm glad the call wasn't reversed after the fact and that all the people directly involved were respectful and full of integrity. So, the play happens and Ump, Jim Joyce makes a call. A call that defines history for sure. He stuck with it at the moment. That is good, it was definitely a close play. Now, we all have the luxury to see a thousand instant replays at every conceivable angle. Umps do not have that luxury. They have to make a split second call. Take this situation away and you will see first base umps make hundreds of close calls like these all the time. Even I know this. Most of the time people don't make as big of a deal about it. That is what this situation has to be treated as. He can't just be biased because a no hitter is on the line. And can you imagine what is going through Jim's head. He has to continue to BE a fair judge of plays despite how he may feel, what crowds may say, or what players and coaches may say. That is his job. In this situation he also has to force any bias that he may have out. There is a no- hitter on the line. He can't just make a call to let a no hitter happen if he believes the opposite call to be right. He can't be the opposite way either and just be anti-no-hitter no matter what. I don't believe he was either. He even said at the time he was fully convinced of his call. Of course after he got to see a thousand replays he agreed the call was wrong. But, he could not do anything about it. He doesn't have the power to reverse it and there are no rules on instant replays. That's all he can do. I think at that point everyone needed to grow up, understand, and not be hateful to him. He didn't act like a jerk. He was sorry, talked to Armando, and moved on. And he stood up and went and umped his next game and didn't give up.

Now, you don't have to like the call. But, that is the human element to it. If you don't like that, go watch robots play it. Now I have heard people call him a horrible ump for making the call, that he should be fired, his career should be over, and the like. This type of thinking is out of line. In reality, he has a history of being a very good umpire. Players, coaches, and other umps all throughout the league vastly agree that he is. To base his job off this one call is a huge mistake and is flat out ridiculous. If the call was just totally obvious or something like that. I could see some type of penalty to him or something like that, but still not even his job or entire reputation. But, this call was close. He is obviously a great ump, stuck to his call in the moment, and also was willing to admit when he was wrong. That day he stood up and honored Armando, his job, his sport, his boss, his career, and our God. How many of you will do that in your life? He should not be dishonored in any way, shape, or form, and should be held up, as Armando did to him.

Now, to Armando Gallaraga, his actions were just straight full of integrity. He did not get angry, kick dirt, curse, shun, or do anything the like. He kept on smiling and kept going. Now, I bet there was a load of disappointment in his head. He stood up as a leader, though, took the call and got back on the mound. He didn't start blaming others. He took it like a man should. What would you do in the situation? Better yet, What did you do in the situation? Many got angry, blamed others, pouted, and just became bitter. The next day the coach asked him to take the line-up sheet out to Jim, and he did so. Showing respect and honor to Jim Joyce, his coach, his team, his sport, his city, his state, his country, and to our God. He stood up and showed integrity. How much more do I need to say about this.

Lastly, to everyone's favorite, Bud Selig. I'm actually glad he didn't reverse that call. By holding to it he further honored Jim Joyce, his profession, and the game of baseball. What would it be like if a commissioner just started overturning calls because he felt like it or because he was under pressure to? That would just be ridiculous. I can hear all the voices now saying, "Look at the situation. It was a no hitter." and so on and so forth. I say, Where is the line? Is at only in situations like this bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, last call. How stupid would it be to make a rule like that based on one call that happens so rarely, or do we let calls get turned over for all kinds of unique situations. I say, way to go Bud. Now honestly he could have turned it over "For the good of baseball" and gave Gallaraga the no hitter, and not many people would have complained. Except, for all the other calls that made history. Would he be under pressure then to go back review all those and change them "For the good of baseball". He actually, wouldn't be WRONG either way, but I think not overturning it was the way that showed more integrity. In the end maybe it will make a case for adding some type of instant replay rules. That is up to them to do that. Personally, I'm not a big fan of it in any sport. I'm a big fan of the human element. But, honestly I don't really care that much. It would not be right or wrong to add that to the game. A lot of sports have it. But, this call needs to be left as it is.

So, no matter what you think about the situation, what is clear is that God's attributes were shown in some underlying and obvious ways. And, in many ways there are things we can take away from this for our lives.
The initial call could have went either way, Jim's and Armando's actions were steadfast and honorable, the look at the replay shows how close it was and what the reality of the play looked like. The reality of the game is realized and that there is a human element with close split second calls with human errors. The replay also shows the reactions of Jim and Armando to show us, again, what integrity looks like. Bud's decision could have gone either way. In the end, Jim's call, accompanied by their reactions, and subsequent calls actually made a spot in the history books for more than just a no hitter. It showed the kinds of people we would like to be playing our sports and entertaining us. It's a welcome relief, to a lot of the attitudes and actions of sports figures. That is something truly worth celebrating.

Monday, May 17, 2010


My wife is so wonderful. It's amazing to watch her in action. She is a great wife and mother. She is very encouraging, loving, caring, serving, godly, sexy, beautiful, and compassionate. Even through the mother's day time she took the time to reach beyond herself and talk about me. I'm very appreciative of her, and I know I don't say it or show it enough. "THANK YOU, BABE" "I LOVE YOU". She cares so much for our family and I love to watch as the Spirit of God flows through her as her heart reaches out to so many near to her.

I'm blessed to be married to her and do not envy the rest of the male population who cannot be, ever. I am truly dedicated to staying married to her. Our relationship is so much fun. We have ups and downs like everyone else. Even more downs than most may think, but we work through them, grow, and keep on moving along. And we have so many great ups. Every minute is well worth it. It's our love for God that pushes us to love each other. We choose to keep on loving each other no matter what. We do because God set that precedent in us first by loving us no matter what, as well.

On the inside of my wedding band I have "I love you still. 1 John 4:19." etched in. It reminds me that Jesus takes the time to keep loving, he keeps choosing to love me, therefore I need to do it as well. The result is grand. As we keep loving each other our relationship grows deeper, tighter, more in twined, more as one.

Funny side note:
Originally, my wedding band said "I love you 1 John 4:19". A few years ago, I lost my wedding band in the middle of a lake, while jet skiing with my friend, Dave Buckenberger. We were riding together doing crazy turns and stuff trying to throw each other off. After one of them, we both got thrown off and as I was reaching up to get back on and I noticed it was gone. I immediately knew that at some point over the last 30 minutes of craziness it came off and I'm sure it immediately sank to the bottom of the murky lake. Dave was so concerned that he immediately said, "Should we go down and look for it". Now, I appreciated tremendously his care for it, but responded with funny look and said, "It's gone dude, we are in the middle of this lake with who knows how much junk at the bottom, not knowing how deep it is, and we can't see the bottom at all." Therefore, I cut my loss at the moment and we went back to craziness. Good times!

I got an inexpensive ring as a spare later, until I could get a new better one. Jessica got me the exact same ring, again, with the new saying, for a gift. She is so thoughtful. It was great. Thanks again, Jessica.

Marriage is a wonderful thing that God created. If you want to know more, ask!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Unemployment... Want a Job!

This has been more recently annoying me...
First, I implore all to read the last paragraph first and then come back and read through the whole post. THANKS.

It's the unemployment scam(s). To start off, I think unemployment pay has it's place in our society. It is, although, being scammed more than anyone, even me, really knows. If you don't think so, then you are living in a dream world. On occasion I hear of people who are trying to find ways to work as little as possible or under the radar and still collect unemployment from another company. If this is you. Then read this next sentence carefully.

STOP DOING IT NOW!!!!! You are RIPPING OFF other hard working people and businesses. Where do you think this money comes from? It's not from thin air, some one's secret stash, or from some free place.

I have overheard conversations of people who are trying to figure out how to collect unemployment and still work somewhere else. There are many people who collect unemployment and then go work somewhere else for cash and don't report it. Among the other numerous ways people have figured out how to scam it. I know personally, people who know exactly how long, down to the day, to work for a company, find someway to get let go and start collecting it from that company. It is just making me sick. I'm getting so tired of it. I'm a contractor and I know there are people who are out there collecting unemployment and going and doing small home improvement projects for cash. This is double dipping and hurting more people than one may think.

Want to know why it's wrong....well.... This is wrong because not reporting income is illegal and the IRS can throw you in jail for it, after many fines and no tax payments on it. It steals from the company they used to work for. And, it steals work from people who are legitimately looking for work, the right way. This is absolutely STUPID to me. It makes it difficult for me doing painting when some Joe Blow cousin can come in a paint it for a third of the price. Basically, he doesn't pay any taxes on the income, no insurance, is collecting money otherwise, but is just trying to make some extra money so he can buy some stupid toy; while I have to fight to win a bid, so I may feed my family. All while a very confused homeowner thinks I'm just one of those overpriced contractors, making that ton of money. Let's get real here.

Now, there is a legitimate place for it, when a loyal employee has to be let go for no good reason or something like that. Then it is useful. Even then, there is a time limit to getting another job. Beyond this, scammers should be prosecuted severely, They are STEALING MONEY. It's like robbing a bank and should be treated as such.

The time limit is even to long, I think. Someone, can literally go 2 years on unemployment pay. That is just flat out ridiculous.

NOW, I can here the ton of voices in my ear.... Look at our economy there are NO jobs! He hasn't been able to find a job after sending out 200 resumes! How I am I gonna make what I did at my old job? And so on. Well, what to say to that....hmmmm...

Our economy is bad, no disagreement there. I know I'm in it. I don't just have some cushy corner office job. I'm out there every day fighting for work. It doesn't justify stealing from others. That reminds me of the movie "Cinderella Man". Rent it. They are living through the depression and the father's son steals some bread because he knows his family is hungry. When the father comes home and finds out, he walks his son all the way back to the store and makes him return it and apologize. Anyway, I digress.. If you haven't found one after sending out a ton of resumes maybe your search it too narrow. Believe me, there are jobs out there. You can't and shouldn't be picky. You may not get your previous pay, wonderful benefits, or company car. But, you will LIVE. You will probably have to change your lifestyle as well to make it happen. I know that may make a bunch of people mad, thinking, "I deserve more, I worked hard for where I am". What we deserve is a touchy topic. You may have worked hard, but we must be ready to adjust to a changing life, not just expect others to pay for us to stay where we are in our way of life.

Extending the time doesn't help, really. People who truly want to work will get out and find it and find it quick. They know they can't just sit around and expect it to come knocking on their door. Opportunity doesn't knock, it smiles and waves as it drives by! Either you go and get it or you will just let it go. If you give people more time to get paid sitting around that's what a vast majority of them will do. If you want to see a flood of people really work hard to search for a job, shorten the time. True poverty and hunger is a great motivator. My mom is great example, she lost her job. And, she went out and worked hard to find any job she could and not to long after she did. She had to do a few different things and work at places she wouldn't have generally wanted to. But, she knows she needs to keep paying her bills and eating. And, she works incredibly hard for the pay she gets. But, she has a job.

The overall voice in my head rings "Should we just let people starve then?" My answer is plainly simple, "NO". That is ridiculous. But, At what cost do we let people just live the way they want and not adjust at all and just keep stealing from others. If you are crying out that question, when is the last time you went and helped a homeless person. More than just giving them a dollar and saying "God Bless". But, really helping them more. There are who knows how many hundreds of thousand of them, and they are literally fighting for EVERY BITE TO EAT. They aren't worried about their clothes, shoes, lawn, car, house, etc... Just putting it in perspective. This is the point though. People will not just let themselves go hungry they try as hard as they can to survive. We have to look at our whole life.

This is also where the church and community truly come into play. If a family in a well connecting community/church runs into a hard time that community can help that family rebound through the hard times. And in the future that family can be a part of helping another one. That is a part of what the church should do. That doesn't mean someone should act stupidly with their money and just expect others to pay for it for them. There is accountability there.

I'm willing to bet if people were stealing as much. There would be more legitimate jobs out there. Now, don't get me wrong there are a ton of other things our system could do or change that can help our economic system, but that is a whole other time. But, passing out other peoples money, freely, doesn't change some one's life or truly help them. That is called enabling. We don't deserve unemployment freely. It is something that is earned and not to be abused.

So bring on the arguments, complaints, whines, and even legitimate thoughts about unemployment. But, if you are scamming STOP IT. Believe me, I will listen, read, and respect your response. There is a ton of thoughts and situation specifics on it. But, I'm about to explode over the issue. Thanks for reading. If you are with me on this issue and you overhear anything about, maybe try and say something, respectfully. At the very least, do not contribute to the scam in any way.

It is a touchy subject to many, especially if you don't have a job and are legitimately looking. But if that is you, please try to understand my heart on this and then fight with me on it, while you are fighting for a job. Peace.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Garden of Gethsemane and choice

Not to long ago we passed one of the most important "holidays" for a Christian.... Easter. I tend to think it is the most important. Easter is what essentially sets Christianity apart from other religions. Jesus, claiming to be God and proving so, dies and then most importantly rose again.

Now I'm not going to dwell on this to much, but I want to zoom in on the Garden of Gethsemane, right before Jesus enters into His unjust punishment and death. Jesus, after the big "last supper", goes on one last walk-n-talk with His disciples before He goes to the cross. He chats with them a little bit and then asks them to just sit down, relax, pray, and wait. In the meantime He goes a little farther to pray on His own. It is at this point Jesus is entirely stressed (Matt. 26:37). He knows what's about to go down. He knows that Judas just got his big lump sum of money and is on His way. And, not surprisingly, Jesus goes to pray. He has a long time of prayer. It is so long that the disciples keep falling asleep. I wonder what was going on in their heads: "Man, this is taking forever", "What is taking Jesus so long", "If He is gonna take all night, I'm just gonna get cozy by this tree", etc. Anyway, I digress.

Jesus prays for multitude of items and people, including the entire world. But, also He prays for Himself. Now, I have read over this particular part of His prayer so many times over my life, but I didn't ever really lock into it. He prays, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will". This particular part is recorded in 3 of the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. He prays this a couple of times. I'm no Bible scholar, but, the general accepted interpretation of this is that Jesus is just so at His wits end that His human side of Him doesn't want to go to the cross. He is just praying that there could be another way to open up the door of eternal redemption without Him actually having to go through this suffering and death. Now, that seems perfectly reasonable. I can lock in with that idea and that type of prayer. And, who could blame Him, He knows everything that is going to happen. I imagine that getting beat to a pulp is stressful enough; but knowing you are going to be, down to the last detail before it actually happens has got to be more so.

So, Jesus prays this. And of course God responds to Him and tells Him He needs to keep going. And He does it. Like I said, I read over this a multitude of times, and that is the general conclusion I come to. Maybe sometimes i'm more emotional with it, more heartache, maybe less, maybe none. Nevertheless, the same conclusion. Is there anything else to gain from this part of His prayer.....

YES....Jesus' choice

Now, my initial Christianese response (It doesn't matter if that is a word or not, you understand). Jesus pushed through, because He was choosing to die for us, for me. He did it because He loves us. But, is that what really went down. We can't say for sure. Jesus does love us, but He loves His Father more. Now, it actually seems like Jesus was really ready to give up on us, give up on me. Well, He WAS ready to. The only thing that kept Him going was His Father, God. It took God to remind Him that He sent Him to do it. And Jesus needed to follow through with His Father's command, His will ("...not my will, but your will be done..."). If it were left up to Jesus alone, He probably would have backed out of the deal.

At this point, I'm sure I got a load of Christians pretty mad. I just told you that Jesus may have backed out of going to the cross and saving you. The flood of feelings that swell up thinking about it is enough to probably stop you from reading on. A few years ago, I would have stopped my thought there. The gospel, though, keeps me blogging on.

So, back on track, Jesus just may have backed out. God essentially says "No, I sent you to do this." Jesus being "sent" is the key to this. He was sent, he didn't necessarily "choose" to come and do this. Don't believe me.... let's review the standard, but often removed from context, pillar verse for Christians....John 3:16. I'm not gonna type it. Get a Bible out. God "gave" His son. That is an implied, sent. If you don't like things implied, read John 3:17. SENT.

Back to the garden. Jesus did this because of His Father. God sent Him because of His love, grace, mercy, but ultimately and actually for HIS glory. The implications of this are interesting to say the least and lead into a host of theological topics and debates. But, what does such a thing mean for us as followers of Jesus.

I don't believe that I just chose Jesus one day and became a Christian and that's it. I believe that Jesus moved in me first and my spirit had to respond to His moving. I'm a Christian because Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, moves in me to redeem my life, and if I want to live a life honoring and glorifying God, I need to do what He wants me to do. Jesus examples this here, not for an example's sake, but a real life move that forces me to think God's will first. Jesus didn't necessarily choose the cross. But, by the time He got to the garden, His mind was as far away from choosing it as He could be. But, He chose to follow His fathers will. God's will was the cross. If God at ANY point in Jesus' life told Him to be done with His journey and walk away, Jesus would have done it. He had to ("...Father, Your will be done..."). He was in the business of God. He would choose His Father's will.

This is why Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac. And, if you don't believe that Abraham was actually going to go through with it, you need to read that story again (Genesis 22) in conjunction with Hebrews 11:17-19. It was simply that God said so. God commanded Him to do it and was gonna do it.

This is amazing to me. This type of followship is incredible to me. And it revolves around a single notion. "Because God said so" The depths of this idea about Jesus, the dimensions this comes from, goes so deep it's hard to go much further in just chatting about it. This has to go to my core, my innermost being. This has to be what my spirit responds to. I have to be ready to put my will aside at any given moment for God's will, first. My heart has to fall in love with the Jesus that would choose His Father's will over me over humanity. Not just a Jesus that "loves me". A Jesus, THE Jesus, that follows God's will. My heart has to follow God's will. I guess that would have to be my prayer.... God's will be done.... A prayer to my Lord..... A Lord's Prayer as it may be!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jesus in 3-D

It is very interesting. I have been a Christian for many many years, thank God. And, Jesus (I guess really God as a whole, the trinity) never ceases to blow my mind both in my life, but more so as I read through the Bible. Even the most basic of stories written will have new meanings at different times. Or, different facts that didn't stick out before, are revealed and new interesting things are learned about God. I love it.

I'm a thinker. I love puzzles, brainteasers, and the like. And so many times that I think I have my brain wrapped around a particular idea about God, than I learn something else that seems to unwrap it and force me to either drop it or go deeper with God's character. At times that just leaves me in a confused state and at other times fires me up. I love it, though. I'm glad that I will never be able to fully understand God.

That is exactly one thing I would want from my creator and leader of my life. If I understood completely, than I might just treat God like a finished puzzle. Take the pieces apart and put it away, to never use again, and move on. I hope that I wouldn't do that, but my human mind and life could go there. I know in this day, age, and culture we try to put Jesus on this linear, 1-dimensional thought process. Many times we think we can take a couple things that we know about Him or what he said and extrapolate a whole theological premise. And Jesus doesn't necessarily need to be approached this way. He hits from a multitude of angles and dimensions to accomplish the goal He has in mind.

Don't get me wrong. There are some absolutes that we know from scripture about God. And, as Christians we can do that by looking at the Bible as a whole and not just nit picking verses to form our own little theology about God. But, there are a load of things that Jesus is teaching us about our life and the world around us and especially about Himself. We just have to go over them again and again, until we understand, and then do it again. It is just crazy, but fun and intriguing.

Anyway, this will lead into a bunch of future posts for me, about some Bible stories that seem pretty straightforward and then have different little facts that just seem to throw things off and we get hit from another angle. They're things that intrigue me and maybe you to. I look forward to your replies and possible added knowledge to them. It's Jesus in 3-D.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Accidental isn't now!

This post is Rated PG-13. But, considering our society we live in now, I think even younger ages should read. If you are going to read this PLEASE read it ALL THE WAY through, so as not to miss my heart on this subject. It's so tough sometimes to convey thoughts in typing.

OK, so this is an odd subject for me as a guy to talk about. But it is extremely important, because the topic of abortion is huge deal. But, I'm gonna take this subject down a different road. Just to set the record straight. I am a Christian and I believe that life begins when the sperm and egg come together (fertilization or conception). I also believe that this is the Biblical defined start of life as well.

I know this is a highly debated subject and I'm not going to spend more than a few of sentences on that now. Conception is THE most logical place for life to begin. Every other second from there on out the BABY is just developing and growing. There is no other time as dramatic as the fertilization. The only other time that comes even close is birth and that really isn't either. The major differences is breathing air directly and not being sustained by the cord. But, there is no significant change of the baby from right before birth to right after. There is also good Biblical reference for my belief as well. But, like I said, we will save the rest for another time. But, the simple logic should help to span the readers who are followers of Christ and those who are not. Either way, the issue of life is extremely important.

Back on track:
With that in mind. I want to talk about birth control. More importantly, hormonal birth control. If you believe that life begins at conception, there is NO REASON for ANY WOMEN to be using any type of hormonal birth control. Just to be clear for the guy readers, this includes: pills, nuvarings, IUDs, shots, patches, etc. Anything, that involves releasing hormones (estrogen and/or progestin) to prevent pregnancy, should NOT be used. Forgive me women if I'm spelling any of this wrong, I am a guy. WHY? Well, releasing these hormones prevents pregnancies by one of three main ways. 1) Prevents ovulation (releasing of an egg) 2)Thickening of the cervix (Slowing down those excited swimmers) 3)Thinning the lining of the uterus (Preventing implantation). There are other things that these hormones do to you. But, those are the three main things they do.

Those hormones could cause of of those things to happen or could cause all three. We just don't know which one will happen for sure, and it cannot be controlled. The one that concerns me and should concern the user for sure is the third one. The reason is that the egg has already been fertilized. Therefore, it IS a BABY at that point. And, if your birth control pill is thinning the lining of the uterus then it will not implant and will pass on through and DIE. That is an ABORTION. Whether, you meant it to happen or not, is irrelevant, you CHOSE to TAKE the hormone. This is an indisputable truth, and needs to be considered before you think about using them. We cannot play stupid or "I didn't know it could do that" on this subject.

Now, the only argument that even comes close to considering is that some women do take those hormones for other health reasons, as prescribed by a doctor. That is fine and is between you, your spouse and your doctor. If that is the case though, then there should be NO unprotected intercourse or other means by which sperm can make it to that egg. Other methods of physically preventing the sperm from fertilizing should be done, RELIGIOUSLY. Abortions should never be considered accidental, the issue of getting pregnant is extremely important. We are talking about human life here. Not your own life, but another life. At that point, I don't consider that argument anymore.

I know this seems dogmatic. And, this will raise emotions. But, don't get me wrong I am open to hearing more points of view on it, and talking it through. If you know me then you know I am open to talking it through and hashing out issues. It is just so important and needs to be addressed. I have talked with Jessica about this a ton of times. We agree on this. And this is why we have never chosen these paths. I just can't fathom that I may have killed Elizabeth or Claire before I even saw their first sonogram.

There are so many other ways to deal with family planning or baby planning as it may be: barrier methods, natural family planning, etc. And, I do pray that all of these relationships are married couples dealing with this and not unmarried couples having sex. I do not condone sex outside of marriage, even though it is so prevalent. This issue is another post as well. But, the issue is important for them too.

My heart just aches over this. There are just so many ads and commercials for this type of birth control. We are flooded with it and are not seriously informed of the risks or just don't care enough to look at the fine print. Have you ever seen an ad in a magazine for one of these. It takes at least two pages. The first page is the flashy, all the good, smiling faces, and benefits of it. The second and possible third page goes into describing what it actually is, what you need to do, and what is does. I think though that now they don't even have to list how it prevents pregnancy. They used to. Either way, look it up, google it, whatever you need to do to be informed. There are no accidental abortions. Be informed, spread the word.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A few years ago, Jessica and I were a part of a church in Taylor. It was a small group of people meeting in a basement just trying to be the church as much as we could. One of the names (of many) that we rolled through was Make New. It was a name to reflect what Jesus is constantly trying to do in and through us, which was redeeming our lives and making them new.

Before that, I primarily thought of redemption as an after life thing. I knew inherently that there was more, but didn't put much thought into it. But, our Pastor and leader, Mike, would put the concept of redemption out as something that happens daily with our lives in Christ. I knew that Jesus was wanting to change me, but I didn't apply redemption to that change. Redemption was adding a new aspect to it. It wasn't that Jesus just was taking what was old and crappy and throwing it away, but transforming it into something new and pleasing to Himself.

Why He wants to continue to put effort into my life is beyond my understanding. But it is because of His love and for His Glory that He continues to redeem me and the stupid situations I get into. I'm incredibly grateful that He continues to care and punch away at me.

I'm self-employed as a home remodeling contractor. I like it in many ways, but it becomes stressful in many ways as well. Anyone who is self-employed understands this particular type of stress. In the past year, I have been blessed with steady jobs. I'm in general grateful for the work I get, but in this economy, I'm even more so. In the last few months I have actually had a bunch of jobs just stack right up. This was ALMOST to the point of having to turn stuff down, which I'm not a big fan of doing. I just hate losing work, because I don't have the time to do it.

Anyway, there were many days where some jobs were taking longer than expected (that's nothing new) and would really crunch things up. This would stress me out. I would sit, think, worry, try to plan, re-work, think, worry, and not know what to do. Of course, this boils into my family time. The place where it need not be. Then, I'm reminded to cast my cares to God, pray, relax, re-focus. And so many times and in so many ways God would do a literal miracle and things change, God redeems the situation. He didn't just take it away, but changed it just enough, in ways I could not. I needed to turn to Him and let the guy who can redeem, do the redeeming. He doesn't just want to change me, but make my life a new creation, daily.

This view on redemption really keeps putting the focus of my life back to Jesus. Jesus started the redemption process, from the moment Adam and Eve crapped it up, maybe even before then. He capped it off with His life, death, and resurrection. And that becomes an example and an umbrella for the redeeming of my life and YOURS.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Here we go...

Ok, so i'm entering the blogging world. I'm sure the internet will never be the same again.

Now, I gotta figure out how to get all this going!