Friday, April 27, 2007

I'm the good kind of crazy.

I was thinking the other day, about how I feel slightly uneducated concerning spiritual things. I've found myself in the best position I've ever been in: desperately seeking God. And wondering how a person goes about seeking God.

What's the best way to pray? What words should I be using? Should I be focused in on His holiness and simply try to find Him by expounding His good works, or should I simply bombard Him with my continued chanting of 'more more more".

And it was then, that I realized what a unique God I have. He's a unique God that will teach me to serve and seek Him in unique ways. He doesn't have a cookie cutter pattern of how to seek Him. And when I asked Him to teach me how to seek Him, He's been teaching me unique ways to find Him.

Clever idea huh? a unique God doing unique things?

I was reading A.W. Tozers book "The Pursuit of God" and one of the things He mentioned surprised me. He mentioned (in a good way) a specific thing that I thought was the worst part of my seeking. He said:

Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.

The twists and turns I've made between mournful and joyful in just the past two months left me considering that I was losing my mind. To hear even the idea that others have been through this is actually a relief. I may still be crazy, but at least it's a good kind of crazy.

It also made me realize all the things that have been happening in the past two months. Since the madness of my seeking has grown, so has the fullness of my findings. It's been amazing. There has been a lot of grief that's come as well, strange things where people just happen to hurt my feelings or the devil tempting me with lies and sins.

I haven't won every battle. But the one major defeat I suffered I was able to get up and not only repent but shake off the failure of defeat. And for me, that's a lot harder than repenting. I'm finding God. I'm seeking God. And it's got to be one of the best experiences of my life.


In all this, I've learned something. Seeking God, daily, takes effort. It's much like eating healthy or exercising. It doesn't just happen. A lot of people, myself included, have the desire to exercise, but they just don't get up and do it. Much the same, a lot of people have the desire for more of God, but they simply don't add seeking Him to their lifestyle.

I'll warn you, this seeking business feels like a roller coaster ride. And tagging along with it has been a lot of strange things to hurt my feelings. The idea of giving up passes my mind almost daily. I realize this isn't a very motivational way to get others interested in seeking God. So let me just say this: I'm changing. I'm becoming step by step more of who God wants me to be. That's just a by product. I've got a better relationship right now with God, than I have ever had with anyone else on this earth. And that relationship is only growing, becoming deeper and more exciting.
And so I leave you with one more quote from A.W. Tozers "The Pursuit of God"

It is, however, not an end but an inception, for now begins the glorious pursuit the heart's happy exploration of the infinite riches of the Godhead. That is where we begin, I say, but where: we stop no man has yet discovered, for there is in the awful and mysterious deaths of the Triune God neither limit nor end.


It's a serious question. I want to know. How am I suppose to tell you're saved?

You knelt down, and asked Christ to come in your heart. Let's just say I saw that happen. Do I know for sure that you're saved now?

You knelt down, and asked Christ to come in your heart, and you go to church every Sunday morning. Do I know for sure that you're saved now?

How am I suppose to know?

How are you suppose to know that I'm saved?

Maybe at the same time that I'm judging whether you're saved or not, you're deciding that I'm lost because I'm judging you.

Suppose I decide finally, that you're not saved, how do I convince you that you're lost?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Missing post

I posted later than usual today because I had to write a second post.

Something strange happened with the first one.
I sat at my computer and made the decision of what I was to blog about. My fingers flew across the keys without pause as words flowed from me without me having to stop and think about them. Sometimes the fact that you didn't think about what you were saying means that it came on the wings of divine inspiration. Sometimes the fact that you didn't think about what you were saying means you failed to be the master of your words. Letting them control you, and not the other way around.

I don't know which is the case today. And so the post I wrote is sitting saved in draft, rather than being published for viewing. The post has a definite bite. I wrote it and it stepped on MY toes. I have no desire to offend people, or rave at them in anger. I also have no desire to bend in fear of what people might think.

I hope I'm able to publish it. And if not, I hope I'm humble enough to repent over it.

I am convinced.

It was a subject that, quite frankly, I thought I'd never understand.

"My sheep know my voice" sounds great in theory, but when I can't hear the tone, inflection, or pitch of a voice, guess what... I can't tell your voice from any other. That's like expecting you to know my voice just because you've read my blog. It's impossible. It doesn't make sense. And worst of all, it's frustrating.

It's mostly frustrating because of all the Christians out there that will spout that saying, when you don't know what to do. It leaves you thinking that, obviously, they're better Christians than you, because somehow they've fathomed the unfathomable. They've recognized a voice from words in a book. They've recognized a voice because they spent hours talking to the Voice. They recognize a voice because that Voice has spoken to them.

And now, I've joined your ranks.
Last night I faced a voice that spoke true words to me. It was 100% accurate, but was a twisted and tangled mess of facts that led only to a solid conclusion.
This voice spoke no lie that I could confront it with, so when it's sharp needles of truth pierced my heart and hurt me, I had no defense.
This voice also spoke scriptures I'd long ago read, and forgotten about, and used them to back up the conclusion that his truth led to.

And then God spoke. He made no bold declarations, He spread no sense of peace, and no feelings of love or joy flooded me. He didn't announce "The Lord God Saith" or speak in King James, He just spoke. And He told me that acting on the conclusion I'd been led to was exactly what the devil wanted. And then told me I needed only to choose what I will believe and live.

I won't always feel what I believe is true. But that doesn't make it any less true.
I choose though, I have made a firm decision, to believe it.
I have found though, that it's a lot harder to act on what you believe, when you feel the opposite is true. I don't know how to get past that, except to just try.

So todays lesson? Try and Pray. Trust God for the results, and for all the strength you're going to need to try.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Comic: Brevity

Spiritual commutes

I love my commute.

It takes exactly 23 minutes for me to get to work each day. That's 23 minutes of quiet. I love driving. That helps too. But most of all, this is an extra 23 minutes of talking to God that I had to cram into the day.

23 extra minutes one way, 46 extra minutes total.

It's been wonderful.

A lot has gone on during these drives, and I wouldn't give up a single piece of it.
It was during last nights drive home that I finally "got" something that God had been pushing me towards for the last couple of days. The first push I had received was when I read a blog over at intheway - there was a post that had this one line that I had to squint at because I knew there was something more to it for me than just what I was reading. The blogger said: " It's funny, I've been praying more the past few weeks, but it's all about the ministry, not my connection with Jesus."

And then, over at Cerulean Sanctum during a post, Dan Elden quoted Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

And that too, I ended up squinting at as it jumped out at me.

Then it was on the drive home last night that the pieces came together and I realized something.

There's a difference between seeking God so that you can change the world
And seeking God because you desire to seek God, and as a result changing the world.

I have lofty goals. I want to change my city, my county, my state, my country, my world. Even if I only change it by reaching someone else that reaches someone else that reaches someone else that changes the world. I don't care how it gets changed, so long as it's changed. It may sound impossible to you, it sounds impossible to me too, but I know God can do it. I figure that if I try and change the world, I'll probably change more things about it than I would if I set my goal at trying to change a city.

But, I got distracted. I spent my time using God as a means to an end. When in reality, He should be my end. The end of my desires. In loving Him, His desires for my neighbors, city, county, state, country and world become my own. But loving Him still needs to be my first priority.

He gave me a check, to remind me who I love, who I serve, and whose desires I'm working towards. My goal isn't to change the world. My goal is to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, all the time.

And doing that, might very well change the world.

I can hope at least. But even if not one thing ever changes I will still be changed, because I will have spent my life profoundly loving my Saviour and Friend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Single, but never alone.

This isn't a subject you'll see me posting on very often. Mainly because it's not something I think about very often. I am supremely happy with my life. And don't feel as though I'm lacking in anything. I am happy and satisfied.

Like I said, I don't spend much time contemplating this subject, but something happened recently to make me realize how grateful I should be to the apostle Paul.

I was at my parents house the other night when out of the blue I was asked if I knew "the Phillips boy" who happens to live in my city. I said no. I then found out how great this guy was. He has this job, steady employment, he's this, he's that, and he believes xyz. I was told that I should make an effort to meet him because, well, apparently he's just swell, and he's single.
Then, while at my parents house, they had some very unexpected company, the pastors that just recently took over a church that my parents no longer attend. While there, I once again heard about a wonderful young man that had asked this pastor and his wife to be on the look out if they met anyone they thought he might be interested in.
Granted, the pastors wife said I was the first girl she'd met that made her think of this guy (I hope that's a compliment!), but I still wasn't interested.

On my way home that night, I was thinking about things, and realized that without the apostle Paul backing me up, my pleasure at being single wouldn't have a single leg to stand on.

Every argument as to why people should be married seems to be founded on the rock of Genesis 2:18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Who am I to argue with "the LORD God saith"?

But thankfully Paul came along (inspired by the same God) and said in 1 Corinthians 7:8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.

Without Paul, I'd easily say if God says it's best, then I'm all in. But He didn't stop in Genesis.

And this single, is glad.

Monday, April 23, 2007

TPFKA - Relief.

If you've spent much time wandering around in the blogging world, you've seen the series I'm about to mention. TPFKA The People Formerly Known As --- the blanks have been filled in with TC The Congregation, TP: The Pastor, TPW: The Pastors Wife, and A Normal Christian.

I liked the posts. I really did. They spoke a ton of truth, hard hitting truth that needled in on the specific problems that each group felt. I grew up in a pastors home and now sit as just part of a congregation and so I have a taste of both sides of the issue.

The problem I found with these posts was that they seemed to end there. They handed me a great big wall of problems and left me with them. There was no resolution, and they didn't leave me with a sense of purpose or peace. Mostly, they left me just a little sad. One, specifically the one concerning the pastors wife, left me convicted because I saw myself in it. But after apologizing to my friend -the PW I knew I could do no more than that (except trying harder) and again I was just left feeling a little dissatisfied (with the posts, not my friend).

Then the post came along that relieved my dissatisfaction. It encouraged me and gave me hope that all those Christians that I would like to meet haven't abandoned me in churches so that they could have their get together in a coffee house. There's still some people, passionately seeking Christ, and they're still going to church.

I'm going to give you a clip from each of the other posts, but it's the post at the end that's the best.

TPFKATC - The People Formerly Known As The Congregation.
by Bill Kinnon

Let me introduce you to The People formerly known as The Congregation. There are millions of us.
We are people - flesh and blood - image bearers of the Creator - eikons, if you will. We are not numbers.
We are the eikons who once sat in the uncomfortable pews or plush theatre seating of your preaching venues. We sat passively while you proof-texted your way through 3, 4, 5 or no point sermons - attempting to tell us how you and your reading of The Bible had a plan for our lives. Perhaps God does have a plan for us - it just doesn't seem to jive with yours.

We are The People formerly known as The Congregation. We have not stopped loving the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nor do we avoid "the assembling of the saints." We just don't assemble under your supposed leadership. We meet in coffee shops, around dinner tables, in the parks and on the streets. We connect virtually across space and time - engaged in generative conversations - teaching and being taught.

TPFKATP - The People Formerly Known As The Pastor
by John Frye

There are thousands of us. You probably know many of us now as insurance sales agents, real estate agents, or doing anything besides "church." We started with idealism about being voices for the kingdom of God and soon realized we became mutated forms of USAmerican business leaders.
The People Formerly Known As The Pastor discovered somewhere in "doing church" that they were being paid as surrogates for the congregation's spirituality. You know, the old saw, "Pastors are paid to be good; the people are good for nothing."
The People Formerly Known As The Pastor officiated at very high-priced weddings and worried how we would get our own kids married. Spring Break meant Disney-World for you and your kids and a trip to see relatives for us. We tried to remember the thing about "treasures laid up in heaven" while realizing that tithing was the rich person's easy way out.

TWFKATPW - The Women Formerly Known As The Pastors Wife
by Lyn Hallewell

We are the women who have been known as the pastors wife. There are thousands of us all over the world. This was not a role we sought to have in life, we simply fell in love with a man who was called into ministry. Initially we were excited with our new “role”, and, along with our husband, we could see all of the potential there was in the Kingdom of God.
We were expected to look and act in a certain manner, and always had to put on a smile. None of you were really concerned if we were struggling, had questions about church or life in general. You told us countless times, through your actions and words, that we were not there to receive, but to serve. After all we were seen as a Godly lady, and you expected no less.
What had started as a joy to be in ministry, was now turning into a misery. The demands on our husbands grew, which caused friction at home, as we wanted to try and have some quality family time together. For years we have supported and encouraged our husbands. We have cried so many tears - more tears than you will ever realize.

TGFKAANC - The Girl Formerly Known As A Normal Christian.
by Heidi Daniels

I am the girl formerly known as a normal Christian. I read my Bible daily and highlighted, underlined, and wrote notes in the margin. I led my first Bible study when I was 16. I am the girl who attended not one church during my high school years, but two. I was the faithful church attendee every Sunday, and then a faithful youth group member at a different church - always showing up early to Bible studies and Sunday evening events.
I might not agree with you about how best to do that, but I haven't forsaken fellowship. I meet with the body of Christ in my home and the homes of others, in coffee shops, across fried rice at Thai restaurants, participating in redemptive conversations and living, loving, crying, and praying together. This, I believe, is Church - and it is something I will love and serve until my dying day.

And finally, a post by Dan MacDonald pastor at Grace Toronto Church (who doesn't have a blog for me to link to).
I doubt you'll ever see my little blog over here Pastor MacDonald, but thanks so much for your words.

TPFKATPFKATC - The People Formerly Known As The People Formerly Known As The Congregation.

I raise a glass to the People Formerly Known as the People Formerly Known as the Congregation, who, upon hearing that their disaffection had created a tsunami-like publicity wave that was about to become a Zondervan marketing campaign and then a new para-church ministry (40 Days of Anti- Purpose?), quietly realized that it was no use. Even their defiance had become hip. Soon CNN would be calling, and Larry King would be asking them for an interview. Sigh.

And so, with heavy hearts, they looked around for the most authentic expression of Christianity they could find. It wasn't in the Christian bookstores. It wasn't in the radio programs. It wasn't even in the TV shows; Lord, no. Oprah didn't quite make it. Benny and Jimmy and the TBN gang had too much hair spray and too many white suits and ever-white teeth. And it was no longer in the blog weave known as TPFKATWhatever, which was now hopelessly popular, cool, hip, and with it.

So they dragged themselves down to the local church. Not the magnet Uber-church that took up 15 acres of land, but the local church with the faded sign and the musty carpet. And there, they found something bizarre.

Second-rate music, draggy announcements, bad children's stories, dated PowerPoint templates, and something else.... real parents who were teaching children about Jesus with joy in their hearts. Ushers who loved to serve. Snacks teams that laughed as they missed the last part of the service just to feed a hundred people. Guitarists in tears over a cheesy illustration by the young pastoral intern, who was so nervous he had forgotten to button his shirt properly and was speaking for 58 minutes because by gosh, since he only got to preach twice a year, he was going to tell them everything he had learned in the past 6 months. And patient singles, couples and parents nodding dutifully to him, knowing he was nervous and helping him feel loved and prophetic and useful. and finding that in those 58 minutes were some very helpful things for them, because a Voice was using this intern in his inadequacy.

And that Voice, the Voice of the Shepherd, touched the PFKATPFKATC. And they remembered why it took them so long to become the PFKATC. Because despite the second-rate production values, the Spirit was here. He promised to be wherever two or three are gathered in His name. Excellent it wasn't- Cheesy it was. Authentic? Go ask the snacks coordinator if her joy is authentic, and she'll think you're from another planet. You can't DREAM UP this kind of second-rate cheese combined with this much first-rate joy in our culture any more; it has to be authentic.

So they- the PFTATC, that is, decided to be radical and do a crazy thing. They called up the People Presently Known as Pastors, and found a bunch of people equally frustrated, tired, restless, and hopeful. And they talked. And the PFKATCongregation realized the PPKATPastors hardly read blogs, because they are so busy dealing with the complaints and needs of the People Still in Their Congregation. The pastors were stunned that these people cared so much; they had assumed the leaving was because the PFKATC cared too little.

And lo and behold, they each found out something wondrous and true, and that is this: that the people presently known as pastors mostly got into the pastorate for people like the PFKATC, because you care so much about the kingdom. And so do we.

And so I raise a glass, as a Person Still Willing To Call Myself a Pastor, to You, the People About to Be Known Again As The Congregation. I know church isn't what it should be. That's my fault- and yours. I stamped it with my pathologies, and so did you. Don't try to bail on your responsibility just because I got paid to do this full time. Guess who paid me? This sucker is OURS, first to last. It's wounded, and weak, and corrupted, and full of hypocrisy- I agree.

But the funny thing is... it IS the body of Christ. A messed up, messy, ego-saturated, hypocritical institution on earth. With idiots like you and me running it, what did you expect? Oh yeah, and one more thing - it is also His Bride. The glorious, triumphant, sinful yet forgiven, cleansed, spotless Bride against whom the Gates of Hell shall not prevail.

If you turn your back on His Bride, you turn your back on Him. And since you are His, you won't do that. You will come back and help make the Bride beautiful again. Because you care. There is enough piss and vinegar and sadness and passion and real, Spirit-groaning hope in these blog threads to start a new Reformation. It's high time we started. Who's got the nails for the Door? I'll bring the hammer. And drink a glass to you all.

Welcome back.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Loved by God

I've had a song on my lips today. I'm not going to tell you what it is until the end of the post though, so hopefully the words will make more sense.
And besides, maybe it will help soften all the "you're crazy" looks you might be casting at the screen by the time you get to the end of this post. Every now and then, I post simply because I want a record of something that's happened. This is one of those times. I'm posting this for me, if you get something out of it - great, if you don't... well, it wasn't for you anyway.

Wednesday something happened that pierced my heart. I had talked to a family that's been going through a rough time, and as I drove away my heart was hurting. Driving down the road I was weeping for them. I wept for the peace that they just can't seem to find. I wept for the frustration that seems to ooze from every crack of their house. I wept for the children in the house. I wept for the fact that the children are still open and seeking, and I prayed that God would keep his promise that if they sought, then they would find Him. I wept because I couldn't bear the thought of them growing up and growing hard. I wept because I couldn't help but weep.

It was a church night though, so I wiped my eyes and blew my nose, and I went to church. I made it through the song service, but as I tried to sit and listen to the sermon (one of my pastors finest, from the little bit I caught) I just kept wanting to cry. I stifled it and stayed dry until the thought hit me "What if no one else cries for them?" That's when I left in the middle of a sermon (something my dad, once a pastor, has always told me unnerves preachers so I generally know better than to do it). I went and found a quiet spot in one of the back rooms of the church and I wept. I could form no prayer except to say "Oh God". And I wept until I had no more tears.

Picking myself up off the floor and collecting the paper towels that had served well as tissues, I was emotionally worn down. I had no desire except to go home and go to bed and sleep. Going back into the main auditorium of the church I found two couples remaining and talking.

Here's the whole reason I'm writing this:

As I stood there listening to the conversation, someone walked up beside me and put their arm around my shoulder. I didn't know who it was, but I knew it was someone good, and I knew they loved me. I didn't recognize the person because I couldn't see them without turning, but I did recognze the feelings that came with that arm. The moment that arm went around my shoulder it gave me comfort. This arm, this blessed crazy arm, brought sweet comfort. It also brought warmth, and it gave me strength. It reminded me that I wasn't alone, and as I faced the people that were talking I knew I was facing them with this person by my side. The sudden relief of that arm drew a deep sigh from me that seemed to almost physically release the deep grief that I had felt all evening.

Instinctively, I turned to put my arm around this person in appreciation for their kindness.

And I discovered there was no one there.

The song on my lips today?

How sweet it is to be loved by you.

I needed the shelter of someone's arms
And there you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs
And there you were
With sweet love and devotion
Gently touching my emotion

I want to stop and thank you Jesus
I just want to stop and thank you Jesus
How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

I close my eyes at night
Wonderin' where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was such a bore
Everywhere I went, you know I been there before
But you brightened up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways

I want to stop and thank you Jesus
I just want to stop and thank you Jesus
How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Experiencing God

This post is running late today, because I spent the day at my church helping to set up for the garage sale we'll be having tomorrow and Saturday.
This post is being written at all, because I spent the day at my church helping to set up for the garage sale we'll be having tomorrow and Saturday.

If you asked me, I'd easily, without even thinking about it, tell you that I don't know my pastor very well. I know him, I could tell you some basics about him. I know enough to know that I am blessed to know him, and that getting to know him better, learning more about how he handles situations, is a specifically God-sent gift in my life. But, when it comes right down to it, I don't know him all that well yet.

But, he has taken the time to let me know him some. He's shared some of his desires for the church, some of his plans and goals. He's shared his hopes, just a few of his struggles, and even a tiny portion of his deviousness.

Because of the things he's allowed me to see in him, during all the garage sale decisions of keep this/sell this, move this/trash this, I was able to make decisions without asking him his desire for each thing. In a lot of instances I knew what he'd want done. Several times I was even asked what he would want done, and I was able to confidently tell others what I believed he would say.

Like I said earlier, I wouldn't say I know my pastor very well. But, I've learned his will on some things. I've learned his heart on some things. And today, that made me a better worker. It made me a faster worker because I didn't have to stop and ask him a thousand questions and was even able to verbally speak his will to other people so that their work too went just a little bit faster.
Should the Lord and my pastor allow it, with time I will get to know him better still. And as that happens I'll become even more productive, I'll have to stop and ask questions less and less, and ultimately I'll become even more confident and reliable about answering other peoples questions concerning his will.

The spiritual lesson I learned today?

The same goes with God.

Getting to know God better, means knowing His will concerning things without having to stop and pray every time something comes along. I can tell others His will, and I can carry out His will, all without stopping to pray or fast for an answer concerning His will. Because I may not know God as well as I'd like to, but I do know Him. There's a confidence, and an assurance that comes with being an able worker. It's slow and tiring when you have to stop and ask so many questions. It's little wonder so many Christians just... stop... trying.

I can only imagine that my pastor couldn't wait to go home and hopefully not be asked one more question just for a few hours so he could have some peace. And while my God doesn't get tired, He does get weary of the ineffectiveness of all His children walking around that can't tell you His will or His desires for hardly anything. I doubt my pastor sits around hoping he can teach me more about his character and his will, but I know that God does. God wants me to know Him, more than I want to know Him. And I've gotta tell you, I desire to know Him. Yet, He's longing for the same thing too. He longs for me to know His plans for my life, the directions that He'd have me go, and the paths He weeps for me to stay away from. He wants me to be able to point others in the right directions, and He desires not to just use me - but to use me effectively.

I found a quiet place in the church to quickly piece together the spiritual lesson I was learning today. I'd been chanting "more, more, more" of God in my life, and that isn't how I've ever gotten to know anyone. Today was hours of labor, and I got to know my pastor just a little bit better. Today was hours of labor, and I got to know God just a little bit better. You learn about people while sitting and eating and fellowshipping with them, but often you learn people by working side by side with them.

I want to know God better, but I see now that I was hoping for some sudden, shocking and blinding revelation of "who God is". But, it's not going to happen that way. It's going to happen when I read His word. And then that knowledge of His Word will teach me boundless things as I work for Him. It's going to happen as I spend time in prayer, asking those questions, and seeing what He has to say about some of the things I have to say. And then those precious moments will teach me even more boundless things, as I work for Him.

If you ever experience me playing the piano, you'll know my playing. You'd be able to pick my playing out of a line up of different musicians. You'd be confident enough to wager money on your choice. Because you've experienced my playing. And even if you aren't familiar with the song, maybe you'd never heard me play that particular song before, you'd still know who the musician is.
But if you've only been told about my playing, you wouldn't be able to pick my playing out of a lineup if your life depended on it.

I didn't get to know my pastor by being told about him, but by experiencing him.

The same goes with God.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The next big thing.

Everyone waits for something big. It's natural.

I was talking to a guy the other day that was struggling daily in his walk. He kept saying he just wanted God to show him his purpose, what he was supposed to be doing, and then he said he'd go do it with everything that is in him. I listened for awhile then asked him "what if Gods purpose for you today is, making it through today?"
It was far from eloquent, my words weren't powerful, and if someone else had been there (if anyone else had been there) maybe he would have gotten something more motivational. But so often we don't go anywhere because we're waiting on the big thing we're suppose to do.

But those 'oh so wonderful' big things are absolutely terrifying. God called me to be a foster parent, and after filling that role for just a few weeks it has taken nearly three times that long for me to be willing to step up and sign up for round two.
God led me into purchasing a house. Nearly every day I find myself looking at some nook or corner of the house and suddenly trying to swallow past the fear of 360 payments (I've made two so far).
When it became clear that my parents would one day have to move from their home (it's provided by my dads job) I managed to sincerely invite them to move into my home. Despite the fact that regular prayer is required just to keep that sincerity in my heart.

Three great big, life changing things, and I did them. I count the third as being "done" because I don't know that they are suppose to come live with me, but I know that I was suppose to invite them, sincerely invite them.


When God told me to pull over and give a lady a ride - I told Him I only had so much time to get to work.
When God told me at the check out counter to call out to a lady so I could pay the grocery bill since her food stamps failed her for some reason - I told God everyone within shouting distance at wal-mart would think I was crazy.
When God told me to speak a specific word of encouragement to an older lady I barely knew - I told Him I was too young and that she would take the words better from someone more her age.
When God told me I didn't have to be afraid - I looked out the window anyway.
When God told me how something worked, I asked someone else their opinion, then stumbled when (surprise surprise) they didn't tell me the same thing God had.

It's the small stuff. Oh, the wonderful small stuff. It's in the giving of our time, our pride, our desires that makes up the ultimate giving of our lives. Somehow I constantly forget that giving up my life means giving up today as well. The birth of a child is a great big event that changes your life. But it's in the 2am feedings, the wiping up spilled messes, the hugs and the kissed boo boos that makes you a mother or a father.
It's in the small things.

It's in daily d a i l y loving others as much as you love yourself. I love myself enough to buy me an ice cream cone, but do I love the guy next to me in line enough to say "his is on me"? I mow my lawn, but do I love my neighbors enough to offer to mow theirs after I finish mine?
It's in letting someone else put in the last puzzle piece, eat the last cookie, get in front of you in line, choose the temperature of the room, or have the last word in a fight.

It's in trusting God enough that when He says speak you speak, He says go you go, and when He says wait you wait. Even if he's only telling you to say "Gesundheit", or to go to the church and vacuum, or to continue waiting at a green light because you don't realize a truck is about to run their red light.

Someone recently said "God is either in control or He isn't." If God can only do through my life what He wants to do that I give my stamp of approval on, then He's not in control.

God help me remember that in asking You to change my life, You will first have to change my day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Maybe I'm the only one.

I laid in bed last night just considering all the different things I've got stored in my head to think about. I thought about all the questions I have, and all the ways I'm inadequate. I thought about all the fears I'm trying to face, the people I'm trying to love, and all the many ways I fall short and question the things I've said or done during the day.

What would the book of my life read if God wrote the story of it for you to read?

In all that, I suddenly began wondering about Paul. Biblically, he seems like a tower of strength. Forget "ask a ninja" I'd be asking an apostle. But I wonder what he thought when he laid his head to the ground to sleep?

Did he tell God he was sorry, that he must have not presented the message right and that's why they wanted to stone him? Did he fret that maybe he'd been cowardly for running away leaving Silas and Timothy behind, when the people tried to kill him? Was he trembling inside when he took a deep breath and confronted Peters attitude towards the Gentiles?

Did he lay down at night and weep each time he met another Christian that was motherless or fatherless, widowed or orphaned, all because in his previous life he'd ordered their loved ones death? When he put his ink to parchment did hesitate before sending his letters? Did he agonize if he was really the one that should be writing to churches and correcting individuals?

Did he make statements about salvation and then the first moment he was alone pray that he'd spoken correctly? Did he ever just weep because the people he fought with the most were the ones that claimed to be Christians?

Or was he really just as strong, and as sure as he seems?

It's easier to hope that he questioned. Because Christians don't talk about how often they doubt, how often they're afraid, how often they wish they could just give up the fight. And since no one talks about it, you assume that you're the only one.

I remember on days when it seemed like my niece just couldn't quit talking that my brother would have her quote a memory verse he'd made her learn once her gift of gab merged with her "I know more than you" attitude. The verse was just the first part of Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise:

We follow this rule religiously in our churches. So we wait for someone that is better versed in the scriptures, someone that seems to pray more than we do. Someone holier, someone more righteous. Someone less afraid of doing the right thing. We do this, lest we stop holding our peace, and thus prove that we are fools.

And that's why I wonder about Paul. I'd like to envision that he laid down each night in a cold sweat.
At least then I wouldn't be the only one.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Everything is G R E A T!!!... right?

I wish... I wish I could give someone my thoughts, for just a day, so I could see what you'd make of them.

I feel as though I'm an ant, and I'm trying to eat a moose.

I want to learn. I want to grow. Through the many topics you've seen lately in the blog, the common thread to each and every one is simply this:
I want more of God.

What do you want?

I listened to a preacher last night and the whole summation of his sermon was "When God comes in, you'll see a change."
He talked about Zacchaeus the tax collector and the change that took place in him when he met Jesus. Luke 19.
He talked about two blind men, and the change that took place when they met Jesus. Matthew 9:27-31
And he used specific testimonies from his own life, and the lives of others to illustrate the change that came when Christ came into their lives.

And I found myself looking through the row of Christians around me, people that had already been "changed", and wishing this preacher would admonish us to change still more. I don't want the work He did in me to be a one time thing. He might have been able to speak the word and the perfect paradise appear for the future Adam and Eve, but He didn't speak the word and perfect me.

The bible says He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. But, it's not complete yet. Not by a long shot.

Good things have happened this past week. I've walked out from under the burden of something that I never could have imagined walking out of. I've made obvious steps in getting past something I was nervous that I might never get past. And I've realized how through the last couple of weeks, my thinking on some things has changed, in some very good ways. I've become more content and comfortable with God. I've seen specific areas (besides love) that I need to grow in - among many other things I'm asking God to teach me how to pray.
I've discovered people, and blogs on the internet that have excited me, just to be able to find more people seeking and working in some of the specific things I'm looking at growing in (though I want to clarify that my growth primarily is strengthened in my church, not by the new outside sources God has brought my way).

With all that in mind, I'm wondering, why on earth am I so discouraged?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Small change

The blog has suddenly started getting spammed. It's nothing anywhere near as bad as I've heard stories from other bloggers, but it's still irritating nonetheless. So for the time being I'll be moderating comments. It doesn't really mean anything different for you (especially since most people lurk and don't comment anyway) except that your comment won't appear immediately after you send it in. It will instead go to a special box hidden away from everyone until I approve it.

In the last 24 hrs I've deleted 15 comments, so unless you really wanted to read a bunch of strange (and I do mean STRANGE) advertisements for prescription drugs, I believe you'll appreciate this - hopefully temporary - change.

The God I serve

Luke 3:10-14
And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

Just so there's no confusion; in these verses the "he" referenced is John. Not Christ. But it's still the word of the Lord in any case.

I've been thinking about these verses, and what a personal God I serve. He knows the hardest things to give up and that is what He (God, HE, this time) asks of them. When He asks me to step out in faith, it's not to do something that someone else would be afraid of doing. He asks me to step out and do what I'm afraid to do.
This is something I already know; so it's not exactly a new revelation. But it kind of ties to something I mentioned recently in a post about the things God knows about me. I wish I knew what He knew about me. I wish I had the clarity of distance in my life to see the things that others may see so obviously hold me back.

Even as I type this, my heart was praying and desiring that I would know what it was that God sees in me that makes me worth loving. And as I prayed the answer came to me.


He sees Himself in me.

I haven't figured the concept out, I'm only just now thinking it. I generally don't like to post things I haven't thought about a great deal first but, I'm going to spend the weekend thinking about this and if you have any insights, please feel free to comment.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Best paragraph all day.

"Let me share one of my core convictions: God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. A sense of destiny is our birthright as followers of Christ. God is awfully good at getting us where He wants us to go. But here's the catch: The right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time."

This quote came from the book "In a pit with a lion on a snowy day" by Mark Batterson. The book focuses in on a little known man in the bible named Benaiah. Whose story is told in just a few small verses in the bible.

Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men. He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard. 2 Samuel 23:20-23

I haven't read the whole book, so I'm not recommending it, yet, I just wanted to share that paragraph. To give credit where credit is due though, I discovered the book when Louie Marsh over at "The Marshian Chronicles" posted on it here.

Well-rested decisions.

I need to love, with Christs perfect love. Then I'll receive the gift of healing.
I need to have more faith, mountain moving faith. Then I'll receive the gift of healing.

Or so I thought.

Welcome to a bright new day.
I've been exhausted. And today for the first time in weeks, I've woken up semi-well rested.
I still don't know what exactly the problem is/was but nightly my doorbell (either front or back doors) would go off in the middle of the night. It started slowly right after I moved in, and then became a nightly occurrence. Then it became a twice a night occurrence.
I had told you before that it takes me a while to get mad, well in this particular case it took nearly a month and a half without a good nights sleep to get me fed up.

So I came home from church last night and ripped the doorbells off the walls.

And I slept through the night.

And today I feel more clear headed, and way less sleep deprived foggy. Today is a wonderful day. And all because of a little sleep, I'm seeing the topic of healing better than before. And, thanks to Brother Marty wandering over to my blog, I've found a whole new resource of bloggers that talk primarily about the gift of healing.

There's Brother Marty himself at "Brother Marty" - Reflections from a United Methodist lay speaker and associate member of The Order of St. Luke The Physician (an interdenominational healing order). It needs to be shouted from the highest peaks that God is not out of the miracle business.

There's Mark over at "Made to praise Him" - Want to help the poor, broken, orphaned, addicted, or imprisoned? Then go find them, get as close to them as you can, love them authentically, and then give your gifts of grace! Meet messy people, build loving relationships, pray by name, get personal, give grace. Forgive the individuals who have torn your heart out and betrayed you. Let God's supernatural grace flow into and out of you, like a healing river, to the messiest people you can find. Freely you have received. Freely give. Let the river flow.

And David D'Louhy at "The Chronicles of a Healing Revivalist" - My journey with God as He equips me to do the impossible.

The most interesting article so far has come from Mark at Made to praise Him. It was a post entitled "When we shouldn't ask" . Just to give you a gist of the article, this is the first paragraph :
Pop quiz anyone? How many times in the Bible did Jesus pray for the sick? Um. Yes. It is a trick question. Jesus never prayed for the sick: he healed them. He didn't petition His Father to do what he'd been asked to do.

And then, over at "Chronicles of a Healing Revivalist" was a new post titled "Thoughts to ponder: Raising the dead" It touches on something One-Sided commented on recently about whether or not you'd be strong enough not to take the credit for healings, and also made me look at my "requirements" for the gift that I listed at the beginning of the post. Here's his paragraph that caught my attention:
I realized that if I did raise the dead I would think that I have somehow arrived in that I have reached some cool spiritual level with God that He allowed me to raise the dead. WRONG!
We would probably see more people raised from the dead if people like myself stopped thinking that we are at a high level of spiritual maturity because it happened through us.

And I realized, that's exactly what I'd think.

So, in case you're wondering how things stand here's where I stand. I'm going to speak the impossible. I'm going to speak healing over the lump in my nieces arm. I'm going to speak peace to my mother who just called asking me to pray for my dad that is especially weak today. And I'm going to speak strength for his day.
And then I'm just going to trust God.
It's not too hard for God.

That's not to say I still don't want my faith to grow, or my love to be perfected. Because I do. But only because I want to grow. That's been my chant for awhile now, I want to grow I want to grow I want to grow. Whether God ever uses me for anything ever again, I still want to grow. I'm at peace concerning the gift of healing now. There's no sense of confusion or frustration anymore. Just a sense that I need to do what I'm suppose to do, and leave the rest in Gods hands.

Meanwhile, if any of you would like a free doorbell kit, just let me know. I won't be needing it anymore.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thoughts that even I don't like.

Every now and then I come up with ideas that even I don't like. Things I see in scripture that seem impossible for me to imitate. The idea I'm tinkering with now is an old one. I've squinted at these scriptures before and finally other things came along to distract me (thankfully) and I was able to let it go for the time being.

But I'm seeking a spiritual gift. And every where I go I'm running into someone talking about healing - and love and the connection between the two. And that finally brought me back to the verses I'd squinted at so very long ago.

Matthew 12:46-50
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

Every time I read that I get a little frustrated. Imagine if you were in a crowded church and your mom sends word from the other side of the building that she wants to talk to you. "These people are my mothers" seems like a cruel response. To me, doing this kind of thing to your mom seems like it should rank right up there under the unpardonable sin. But He did it, and seeing He was sinless, it wasn't wrong for Him to do that.
Therein lies the problem.
My mother is my mother. I've claimed a second mom that I'm hoping will do when my original no longer remembers my name, but it's still not the same. My mom, is my mom. Other random ladies that do the will of God... they're not my mom, they're not my sisters. And the guys? they're not my brothers or fathers. Those people (random church people that do Gods will) are in a whole different category in my mind. There's family. Then there's church family. Those two columns aren't combined in my mind.

But they were in Christs.

I just can't imagine, putting church family in a higher priority than my regular family. I've got chosen selects that I love as a father and brothers and sisters that I'd put right alongside family, but ultimately if I had to choose between the two I'd choose my family. Though, not necessarily out of love, but out of loyalty. But Christs loyalties were to His Kingdom family, not His earthly carpenter father.

I've got a lot to learn, that I know. And I just don't like the conclusion of putting your church family above your family. But aside from doing that, I can't figure out how to apply this lesson to my life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


How often in the middle of a regular old busy day do you pause and breathe a sigh of relief?

It seems I'm doing that more and more and more. And I'm loving every minute of it.

I'm happy, still. It's like coming home from the best vacation ever. Almost every day. I remember "before" those years of my life where I knew of God, but couldn't figure out my way in to Him. Fearing (and with good reason too) that I was one of those that God just didn't take in. I remember many dinnertime conversations where my brother fought my dad on the issue of predestination, clearly explaining the idea that God had created some people just so He could show His glory in punishing them. When your prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling right back in your face, you start to wonder if that's what those people feel like...and worse if you're one of them.

But then there's now. I'm growing. I'm learning. He's pruning me and teaching me. Did you get that? A lot of people say things like that. God is teaching them something, God is trying them, God is testing them, God is doing this or that. So put it in this perspective. It's like Beethoven teaching you to play the piano. Van Gogh teaching you to paint. Da Vinci or Ben Franklin helping you invent something. GOD, creator of Heaven and Earth is teaching moi.
Thank you God.

It makes me wonder about the Sunday morning church goer. To be so close to the power source, so close to something so amazing and not desire more, baffles me. It baffles me that people don't come to the church every single time the doors are open. Do they not feel what I feel? I don't believe I'm unique for feeling Gods presence in church. I don't believe He's singled me out to feel it while blinding others eyes to it.

Our busy days have people attempting to function on 5 and 6 hrs of sleep a night, if even that sometimes. We exhaust ourselves in an attempt to do more, yet we skip the priority of sleep that keeps us healthy and energized enough to be able to do more. In that very same way, we skip church because we don't have time for it, but it's the one thing that will keep us healthy.

I don't want to be a just church goer. I want to be a disciple, I want to bring church/Christ with me. I want to experience God. I say that gladly and with anticipation that with every waking day so far I experience something new from Him. And while I can get so much from the day to day things, there is a very special encounter that you have with God in the group setting of church. It's amazing and remarkable. This has been an amazing year so far. I just hope I'm never foolish enough to stop daily signing up for the school of God. It's not a 4 year university. But a daily one. I want to learn I want to learn I want to learn.

This is just too exciting.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'll love anyone, anyone, but him.

Jesus loves my enemies.
I don’t.

Perfect love casts out all fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

I still fear.

Yet, I’m still marvelously saved. I still stand awed by His love for me. I wonder though, at His thoughts concerning my inability to love those whose sins I’ve judged to be too horrible to forgive.

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1 John 2:5,6

I remember on the trip to Mexico, that I never got around to expounding on, walking the little distance into Mexico that I did, I was in a place where with every step I felt like I could be walking the gospel. There were beggar women holding out cups, and one in particular that I remember begging while flies buzzed around her children sleeping, lying on the sidewalk, things I’ve never seen outside of television.

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36

In that place, walking those streets, I felt as though I could “keepth his word” and “walk, even as he walked”. Imagine if you were desperate for 50 dollars just to survive the end of the week, and someone walked by you wanting to give someone a million dollars. I felt as though I had in abundance, exactly what was needed, and desperately wished for the moment they could receive it. I loved them. And I knew I loved them. It was a love that seemed almost tangible. And I understood better –better, but far from completely I’m sure – what it meant to be moved with compassion.

But –

It’s easy for me to feel love for the beggar, the helpless, the hurting. That same compassion doesn’t move me for the hurter. I look upon problems and easily see the needs of the sick, the poor, the homeless, the widow, and the fatherless. Those needs are easy to see and have compassion on. But those who call themselves Christian, yet walk rampant in a sin that leaves its victims scarred and broken, I’ve yet to figure out Gods ability for compassion. My ability to separate the sin, from the sinner seems to only apply to a self-chosen list of forgivable sins.

There but for the grace of God, go I.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; 1 Corinthians 15:10a

It’s easy to find someone with a broken family, addiction problem, health problems, loss, pain, struggle, inner torment, fear, brokenness, or one of a multitude of sins that can plague your life. I can find those people just by stepping out my door each morning. And with each and every one of them I can solemnly say that but for the grace of God, I would be there as well.

Yet in my own life, maybe you’ve done this in yours too, I’ve created my own unpardonable sin. It’s the sin I’ve determined I would rather die than commit, and so I can’t see reason to forgive those that do commit it.

Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. –
Carrie Fisher

That quote has stuck with me since the day I first read it. It especially pricks at my heart while I struggle to find anything Christ-like in my feelings toward a man I abhor. Because of my feelings, it is me that feels the pain, not him. God didn't call me to love the easily loved, but to love as He did.
Even as I have struggled through this, I am so glad for the struggle. I wanted to draw closer to God, and He’s drawing me. He's showing me things that need to be purged in order to get the closeness with Him that I desire. It's called progress. And I'm glad.

I’ve read several pioneer stories about families making the dangerous journey west towards –get this because it’s important- a better life. They all start out with their possessions, but with each hill they have to climb, or each river they have to ford, more and more of their ‘stuff’ gets cast off to the side. Ultimately, by the time they’ve reached their destination they have thrown away so much of their stuff that seemed important at the beginning of the trip. And often, they have even lost animals that they would have once declared as vital for their families’ survival.

With that as an example to me, I believe that each step I get closer to Christ, the more of me and things I deem important, I will lose. My growth will not come easily, without trial or cost. Last time I grew, you endured many posts about how terrified I was to become a foster parent, and how I couldn’t do it. But here's what I've learned. I won't learn to trust, without first having been afraid. I won't learn to forgive, without first having been hurt. And I won't learn to love, truly love, until I've met the people that only God could love.

So, before I close this post I want to challenge you to think about your own spiritual growth. Our growth is not in the easy times, but the difficult. So ask yourself this: how long has it been since God asked me to do something, I didn’t want to do?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A few blog free days.

I guess the best way to put it is that I am still purging. I was profoundly convicted by a God-sent comment by Brother Marty. You can find his blog --->here and his conviction bringing comment -->here
I feel compelled to stop posting for a bit while I try and absorb a lesson I believe is right before my eyes. So, posts will be suspended temporarily, and the next update will be Mon. April 9th.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007


In four little boxes on a dry erase board, a Sunday school teacher once listed out 4 different aspects to yourself.

Box one: Things you know about yourself that others know.
Box two: Things you know about yourself that others don't know.
Box three: Things others know about you that you don't know.
Box four: Things God knows about you that no one else (including you) knows.

I understood the idea behind the boxes, but as usual my perspective changed once I experienced them. I ran smack into box four last night. It took me off guard, and even now I'm still trying to figure out why I reacted the way that I did.

I don't get really angry a lot. I get mad, frustrated, upset, but it's generally something I move past; few times in my life have I ever been "lets take this outside" angry. So I guess that made it all the more surprising when I opened a simple envelope and things got out of control.

A couple that had been unable to attend my housewarming party gave me a card yesterday morning. I had stuffed it in my purse and, thanks to a busy afternoon, forgotten it until after church last night. As I thought more about the card, I had a strange sense of foreboding that, in lieu of a gift since they didn't make the party, there might be money in the card. I was hoping with everything in me that it wasn't so. This card just happened to be from the same couple I'd had a problem with previously, and I wasn't sure how I would take receiving a gift from them.

Over a year ago, I'd found myself in a situation with these people, a bad situation that I couldn't have handled worse. And I've since then, I had grown to believe that I would handle it better if I were ever placed in this position again. In the aftermath of the situation I thought with absolute certainty that I'd moved on, learned to be more cautious, and as long as I was careful things wouldn't get that bad again.

I'm not so certain anymore.

Spring forward to last night. Upon opening the card and indeed discovering money in the card all rational thought absolutely left my mind. I grabbed the money, wadded it up and threw it in the floor of the car. Then, looking at the card, I ripped it to shreds, and threw that into the floor as well. I literally wiped my hands off then because my hands had touched something they'd touched. That's how far into crazy land I suddenly went.

I was still outside in my car at this point, because I had decided I didn't want anything from them in my house. Yes, still crazy, I know. I couldn't imagine going into the house and just being in there all upset, so I drove. And I drove and I drove. Not five minutes into the trip I decided that the envelope needed to be ripped up as well, so I took care of that, then continued on.

By the time I got back, I hated the money even more. And I discovered that receiving a gift from this couple, made me feel like absolute trash. And it's hard to live with yourself feeling like that.

Of all the thoughts that I thought, the most predominant one was "I thought this was over" I thought my heart was settled on the issue, I thought I wasn't upset anymore.

Enter box four: Things God knows about me that no one else knows.

I've been praying for more of God. And this is about the third thing to suddenly rise up in the last week to surprise me. Things that were in my heart, that I didn't imagine were there. So I've begun to wonder if this isn't Gods way of answering my prayer. Maybe the problem is that I can only get so close, and still hold onto the things that I hold on to. Maybe this is part of the purging process. Keep in mind, I'm using the word "maybe" a lot. At this point, it seems almost foolish to think I know anything for certain.

I want in closer. I want more. More God in my life, and less of me in Gods. And if this is the process to get it, bring it on. It might cost me a lot of gas money, but ultimately my goal is more than worth it.