Friday, January 30, 2009

John MacArthur quote...

Happy weekend everyone!

Just a quick thing, I just spent the last 20 minutes watching the two videos of John MacArthur's interview on TBN. The videos are posted over at "In The Desert". They were good, though of the entire thing I primarily got excited over the last minute and a half of video two. So if you don't watch anything else, I'd highly reccomend watching just that minute and a half.

The interesting quote I got out of it, as MacArthur is talking about the gospel message and how to define it he stated that on the cross, God treated Jesus as though he'd lived MY life. But upon asking for forgiveness, God then treats me as though I'd lived Jesus's life.

I thought it was a great way to put things. So go check it out HERE.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The God of the Main Thing

As I as thinking all these thoughts today (I'm writing this late on Wednesday early Thursday morning), I started thinking about the God of the "main thing".

He's a God that wants me to keep Him, and His reasons for doing things front and center, not just because it's the best plan for whoever's life I'm stepping into, but because it's better for me as well.

We put so much on our plates, on our hearts, on our shoulders that He desires us to allow Him to carry. But He's the God who loves us, infinitely more than we can imagine, while we're being take-charge morons.

He knows we just don't get it, or that we struggle to actually let go of our own 'necessity' to those around us. He knows we might get it, but can't stand to say "No, I'm afraid I can't do that." Or maybe we just can't abide the whole "wait" orders He might be passing down. Waiting is not my strongest point when someone is saying "Help".

It's amazing, really really amazing to imagine the world where the ax isn't waiting to fall on you. Where the angry God isn't waiting to rain something down because, yet again, some doof down here is flubbing things up. But instead, the good God is urging me out of the way because He knows what is too heavy for my shoulders. He's good. And perhaps the most profound thing I could say concerning Him, is that He's there.

And maybe if we all understood the there aspect of God, realized that for all of those awful moments, for all those fears, for all those struggling people, for all the lies and hurts and questions God is there maybe we wouldn't feel we had to be there for someone quite to the extent that we often do.

He's there for me when I'm trying to take His place in a situation because I can't see Him in the mess. He's there for you, when you're in the middle of your mess and too many 'comforters' are making things worse. He's also there when all your comforters have gone home and it's finally just you and Him.

He's G o d. And that very word means He's big enough. And that means He's not just big enough for me, it means I believe He's big enough for you too. And that's why I'll be beside you, walking with you, rather than in front of you telling you what I think you need to hear.
Which is why you might just see something amazing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Main thing 3

Some several hours later, and I'm still thinking about what I've been reading.
It's freeing, if I'd allow it.

Going back to the quote from John Updike, I squinted at it some, because initially if I read it without really thinking about every word meaning something it's easy to think that we Christians should bury ourselves in prayer and not help the people around us.

But that's not the point I took away from it. (I don't know anything about the book that quote is taken from, so context would probably help me know what point he might have been fully trying to make without that, I'm just thinking out loud.)

It's easy to do the right things, for the wrong reasons.
For instance, it's easy to comfort someone, and forget that YOU are not their comforter.
It's easy to stretch yourself thin, telling yourself you're needed, or important, or you need to help. When it's not Gods plan for you to do that for everyone, at every time.

Sometimes, Gods plan for person struggling, is for them to struggle, so they'll finally look to Him.
Sometimes, Gods plan for a person hurting, is for them to hurt, so they'll finally look to Him.

When you get in Gods way, to help someone up from a pit they're struggling in, you only end up pulling them to your level - not Gods. *She says unknowledgably*

Keep in mind, I'm just thinking out loud here but... All that said doesn't even mean that you have to change what you're doing. You just need to change the reasons you're doing it, and when you do, the burden of what you're doing gets lighter. And actually, maybe you even get better at doing it because you stop pulling people towards you, and instead start coming beside them and pushing them towards God.

What a thought.

Or I could be just rambling for no good reason - that's sometimes what you get with prolonged thinking. :)

Main thing post 2

Still thinking on my last post, and here's an additional blog dealing with it.
The quote is talking about preachers - but couldn't this apply to all Christians?

Jared over at "The Gospel-Driven Church"
he uses this quote from John Updike:
Do you think this is your job, to meddle in these people’s lives? I know what they teach you at seminary now: this psychology and that. But I don’t agree with it. You think now your job is to be an unpaid doctor, to run around and plug up holes and make everything smooth. I don’t think that. I don’t think that’s your job…. I say you don’t know what your role is or you’d be home locked in prayer…. In running back and forth you run away from the duty given you by God, to make your faith powerful.... When on Sunday morning, then, when you go out before their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of Christ, hot with Christ, on fire: burn them with the force of our belief. This is why they come; why else would they pay us? Anything else we can do and say anyone can do and say. They have doctors and lawyers for that…. Make no mistake. Now I’m serious. Make no mistake. There is nothing but Christ for us. All the rest, all this decency and busyness, is nothing. It is Devil’s work.

Keeping the main thing, the main thing.

I've been reading posts that I've needed to hear lately. I'll put the links to them at the bottom of this post, I hope you get something from them too.
I'm a fixer. If you're broke, I want to fix you. And it helps that I know a God that can fix anything.
At the same time, there's an obvious problem with that statement.
I'M a fixer. If you're broke, I want to fix you. And it helps that I know a God that can fix you.

God is the one who can fix you. Not me.

I know people that want answers. And I tend to try to give answers, when sometimes... most times actually, that's just not my place.

From Mike at "On Coffee"
But I believe that most people in our culture are not looking for someone who will give them answers to all their questions. They don’t need to be given a thousand answers. They need to be invited to follow the One who is himself the Answer/the Way. They need to be invited to a life that is other than self-obsession, self-preoccupation, and self-preservation. This is the way of the cross. That is the answer.

From Bob at "In The Clearing"
I hope I'm not sounding too awfully cynical here. I certainly do appreciate prayer, but I think we're training ourselves to be perpetual spiritual invalids, rather than forgetting ourselves and getting involved in the mission of God in the world around us.

And from Steve Timmis at "Elephant in the Room"
Why do our lives have a tendency towards ‘heaviness’, worthiness and intensity? We could rephrase that: why do we create crises?
Part of the answer has to be that, by and large, we don’t really have any!
That sounds like it could be a good thing, but crises are one of the ways we justify our existence. They are the way we give our lives meaning and significance. They somehow make us important, or are a means of soliciting sympathy.
But part of God’s glory is that he is the God of the insignificant, the mundane, the trivial and the incidental.
In Christ we thrive in the normality of our lives, and by creating constant crises, we rob God of the glory of his superabundant grace for the common man.


The hope of the gospel seemed to bring lightness to Peter’s readers in the midst of trials — so much so that others noted it and enquired about it (1 Pet 3:15; 4:12–19). Likewise, James 1:2 encourages those who are suffering to count it pure joy. This echoes Jesus’s own directives to rejoice when you’re persecuted (Matt 5:11–12), and not to be anxious (6:25–34). And so for the Philippians: gospel lightness means not grumbling, but joyful contentment in all circumstances (2:14–16; 4:4–9, 10–13).

In my world, sometimes I get caught up with things. Family, money, events, jobs, life... when for the most part these 'oh so important' events are simply that - events. Life. Life happening just like life happens for everyone.
And as these bloggers have said (if you go and read their whole posts) it's not that God isn't concerned with those things, that God doesn't care about us and our "lives", but that God wants us to be concerned with something far more important that forever overshadows those events.

I don't know about the rest of the world, but I know I needed to hear that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A nutty story.

So today at work, after listening to people all down the hallway comment that a squirrel was running around in our ceiling, he finally fell through the foam tiles in the hallway and ran into my office.

The other lady in my office says "Oh, there he is" What??

Next thing I know, I'm trapped in my office with a squirrel. How am I trapped you ask? My office is small to the extent that to turn my chair around, I have to tuck it into the desk. When the squirrel was discovered I was facing the computer, so I backed up to tuck into the desk so I could back up and face the other way so I could exit the office, when I notice that the SQUIRREL, at my FEET under my DESK probably wouldn't appreciate me rolling onto him so I had to wait until he moved somewhere else in my office so I could get out.

(My boss later noted how grateful she was that she didn't have to explain a workers compensation claim of "squirrel attack".)

As bystanders began gathering, someone, somehow convinced people to line the hallways so "someone" could go in and chase the squirrel out and it'd run out the door because there would be people around every other turn so he'd have nowhere else safe to go except the door.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen. The two student workers in the building ended up just scaring the little thing into hiding, but only after it had POOED and PEED on my desk, and floor, and keyboard, and a box on the floor. How special.

So we shut the door, locking him in and waited for maintenance to come and perform what is outlined in their job description as "Other duties as assigned" and get rid of the squirrel.
Meanwhile, I'm standing at the door, listening to a squirrel destroy my office including some mad squirrel dance on my mouse and keyboard pulling up help topics on my computer before my keyboard finally crashed down, scaring him away from the computer, and a little more poo out of him.

Finally "Jimmy" the maintenance king shows up and shuts himself in my office with a 3 ft stick and a resigned air that only comes with age and poor working conditions.

Peeking in through a window in a door that connects another office to mine, I watch as he finally rousts out the squirrel and then corners him behind a filing cabinet. He shoves things around and repeatedly attempts to whackamole. I've never heard, until this day, a squirrel hiss and growl. They do.

Finally, after a 5 minute showdown, he continued whacking at it until it was stunned. There was a moment of silence, he bends down, and the next thing I know he comes up holding the squirrel by the scruff of the neck. I swear, I've never been so impressed with a person in my life.

He walks it out side STUNNED and puts it in the bushes. We watch the groggy squirrel for awhile (ever used that phrase before?) while the King of pest control randomly prods vermin tail, until finally my pooing visitor wakes up enough to scurry off.

I went back to my office/rodent bathroom, and had a fine time attempting to disinfect, which included moving filing cabinets because when a squirrel gets trapped behind a cabinet and a kind looking gentleman is thumping on his little skull, he apparently gets diarrhea.

I can't recall a more interesting day right now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Changing my vocabulary.

At work, I have a lot of things to do. I go in each day with a plan in place of what absolutely must get accomplished that day, then the need to get done today, then the should get done today.

More often than not, the should's don't get done. There is only so much time in a day, and so often, it's a determined fight to make sure the absolutelys and needs get done.

Makes sense right? I'm sure you understand. There's just so much to do... as my co-worker is always saying "I can only do what I can do."

You understand right?

God understands right?
He made me human right?

I was sitting at another basketball game for my schools team when I heard that pesky word again though. "Should."
We were playing Grapevine Faith, the one very recently famed for having supported the opposing team (us). One of their staff was in the stands with us discussing all the e-mails they'd received and interest in the stories. He mentioned that things like that were what Christians "should" do, so it shouldn't be such a big deal. It "should" be normal.

And I sighed, again... SHOULD. Should we? We SHOULD. Do we? We don't.
I think in my life, too often I've put together my lists of spiritual absolutelys, spiritual need tos, and spiritual shoulds. Those things that keep me out late, put me out, and take too much time... those end up in the should bin.
Teaching a Sunday School class, helping the Christian kids in my church? That's a need. I'll do that.
Go to church? Absolutely.
Spending time in prayer, reading Gods word? Well, that's certainly a should. I should read my bible more. I should spend more time in prayer.
Be a good person? Absolutely.
Bake goods for the church bake sale? I need to.
Call that person that didn't show up to church last week? I should.

It's almost as though saying "I should" means, I won't.
But it's amazing how many other things make the absolutely list.

Will I watch "Mentalist" tonight? Absolutely
Will I read a new book I recently purchased? Absolutely, I might not get far, but every little bit is good.
Will I have inane conversation with people, rather than telling them happily of what God has done for me in the past few weeks? Absolutely.
This week, will I sleep in on Saturday morning? Yep. Absolutely.
This week, will I go grocery shopping? I need to.

Yet, this walk is suppose to be more important to me than any of those things.
I ease my conscience by saying "I should do better" "I should do more", it kind of tells me that one day, maybe I'll get around to it. It's easier than saying "Yeah, that'd be a good idea, but I'm not going to do it. It's just too much for my lifestyle."

Because that's exactly what I'm saying when I say "I should do..."

And at the same time, I know it's not about works... but it is about my heart and my priorities. Is the kingdom of Heaven my priority, or am I my priority. You can say it's not about works, and I can say it's not about works... and while it's TRUE it's also a great cop out to keep me from feeling too badly about putting God second to myself.

Kindness, forgiveness, loving my enemies, helping the poor and widows and orphans, meekness, self-control, joy, peace, witnessing, being a good neighbor, showing mercy, speaking the truth in love, praying for my leaders, praying for others, I should do those things.
I should do all those things.
I need to do most of those things.
I will absolutely do some of those things.

I will absolutely change. When I absolutely seek God. He will absolutely be found. When I absolutely surrender. He will absolutely take. When I absolutely let Him break, remake and renew. He will absolutely break, remake, and renew.
God is absolutely good.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

God's been good to me.

God's been good to me.

I found myself reminded today of how God is kind to the unthankful and the evil. I was following verses around, and ended up there and those words meant something to me. Because I always put those verses in the context of the verses before them. Are you good to those who are good to you only? Do you lend to only those that you know will return? Do you love only those that you know will love you back?

Those are my action verses. They tell me how to live, how to be, how to treat others. How to be more like Christ.

And in them, I think about the world. How I treat the world.
So in the next verse, I commonly consider how God treats the world. "...For He is kind unto the unthankful and the evil."

And today, I realized it's talking about how He treats ME too.
I'm unthankful, and evil fleshly far too often.
But He's kind to me even when I'm unthankful and evil.


It's easy to think "I'm saved, I'm a Christian, I go to church and do nice things sometimes so God must like me."

But you forget, this is the God that's with you, around you, in you, every waking moment. That's why people are so hard on themselves, because other people rarely see the deepest darkest nasty moments in our lives. The thoughts, the impulses, the sinful things we consider, or worse yet, do in secret. We know who we are. That's why we're so hard on ourselves. But our great God knows who we are too, and not only loves us, but He's kind to us in our worst moments.

God's been good to me.
Cause I sure have had a lot of "worst moments".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Why you won't see much on here in the next few weeks

Cuz I'm going to be workin'.

I start my new job with the city tomorrow. woohoo, right?

In the last three months people seem united in their message of "You're not irreplacable".
I've heard it everywhere I go, concerning everything I do. But while I do understand that I'm not irreplacable, I do feel profoundly.. perhaps obsessively responsible.
That's why I pushed my boss to allow me to stay part time at my old job until my replacement starts *hopefully* the first of Feb.

So till the end of the month I'll be at work at 8am, and get home from work about 10pm.
It's gonna be an exciting month!

So, if anybody in the area wants to buy me a Dr Pepper, you just feel free. :)

But that's why the sudden onslaught of posts in this blog are suddenly going to come to a grinding halt.

Thank you all for your discussion.. it was just getting good and here I have to get busy for awhile. I certainly hope it'll pick up as soon as I can get back to normal.

Thank you!

Christ backwards

My mom forgot she was married.

I went to visit my parents, and for a brief moment my mother left the room. That's the only time my dad has to tell me how she's doing. And he told me, quickly, of two particularly bad incidents where my mom was just utterly confused. Alzheimers bites.

But, somehow, by the grace of God working in my life, this post isn't about my mother.

I swallowed a lot back when I listened to his stories, but the thing that sticks with me besides my compassion for her because she hates feeling confused - is compassion for him. I can't imagine marrying someone, sharing 30 years of your life, and having them wake up confused because they forgot they married you.

It would be easy to simply say my dad and I don't get along. He thinks I've got shady values, and I think he's hurt a lot of people I love. But despite that, in the face of his news, I can only feel compassion. This is where God does things backwards.

It rains on the just and the unjust He says, and we all sorrow when it rains on the just. But when the drug addict loses his home, contracts aids, or finds himself in the hospital who weeps for him? When the lady that spread rumors about you and made your life a living nightmare finds out that her husband cheated on her who holds her hand and offers her a shoulder to cry on? When the guy that tailgated you before flipping you off and passing you is on the side of the highway 5 miles down the road with a flat tire who pulls over to help? Do we simply nod as though life has only issued justice? Or do we sorrow for these people with hurts and fears, and broken hearts?

The bible says people would die for a good man, so what does it gain us that we're able to say we'd lay down our lives for a good person. It's when we do things Christ backwards. We love the jerks, the creeps, the thieves, the drug addicts, the parents you hate, the brother or sister you're holding a grudge against and haven't spoken to in 5 years, the inlaws that still haven't accepted you, the child who you feel brought shame on the family, the neighbor that just keeps annoying you...
Those are the ones Christ wants you to feel for, those are the ones Christ wants to stir your heart. The ones who we don't just "say" we love. But the ones who touch our heart and grieve us for their souls, we weep for their brokenness and pain. Those are the ones we open our homes, and our lives, and our life saving knowledge of Jesus Christ to.

It's a different kind of love that God wants us to spread. A love that surprises the bitter by it's beauty. A love that surprises the angry by it's fluid peace. A love that loves the unhuggable, the walled off, the world hardened, the sin battered.

It's Gods love.
Not ours.
But if we say we've got Gods love in our hearts, we need to give it to those He'd give it to. Not just our preference.

It's Christ backwards.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The reason I sing*

The ball wobbled on the rim then rolled down into the net, SCORE!
Immediately the quiet erupted into a screaming WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, feet stomping the bleachers, and claps so hard and long that your hands hurt.

And that was just me.

I can't tell you when I was last so exhilarated. We stole the ball, they stole the ball, we fouled, they fouled, baskets were made and sweat was dripping.
And we still lost. We did get 36 points though.

And coming home, my mind turned to worship.

I have no idea how loud other people cheered on my side, cause all I could hear was my loud WHOOP, and the crash of my feet rumbling on the bleachers.

And while I vaguely know there were some folks that simply watched the ball sink into the net, or watched our team snatch the ball from the other side - I didn't care too much. I saw my team get possession of the ball and started yelling for them.

I've complained before about how frustrated I am that I get distracted by other worshippers when I'm trying to worship God, if I notice that they're not worshipping, or seem passionless concerning what they're saying. And I wondered about the difference between my cheers for the Gainesville Tornadoes and Christ my Lord.

My sins are washed away??? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THANK YOU!
What a friend I have in Jesus? YES!!!!!!!!!!!
Some glad morning we shall see Jesus in the air? ALRIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COME ON!

My joy, and my reaction should have nothing to do with whether the rest of the fans are cheering or not.

I remember seeing a clip of someone talking about flying on an airplane and the many complaints about delays and security and what not. He said that everyone on every plane should fly gripping the arm rests and screaming "OH MY GOD!" "I'm in a CHAIR, in the SKY!"

Obviously, people don't do that. We've lost our sense of wonder. We've lost our sense of amazement. We expect salvation. We're told from day one, all around us, that we'll receive it. Maybe we need to have a good, decent reminder that it's simply grace - pure grace. That we're sinful, scuzzy, dirty, rotten. BUT GOD.

Maybe we've lost sight of how awesome what God has offered us is? Maybe we forget that if He hadn't of drawn us,.... if He hadn't have looked down on US and chosen US, we could be forever condemned to be without His presence, here on earth and eternally. We're nothing special, He made us special. We're poor. He wants to give us riches. We're diseased with sin. He wants to cleanse us, and adopt us as His own kids. We're broken and bruised. He wants to heal us.

Do you remember that, when you walk into your church building? Do you remember that when you speak to someone so obviously lost? Do you remember that when you pray?

I'm not talking about forever dragging your head before God and man, unworthy and broken.
I'm talking about forever raising your hands in absolute, and profound gratitude, humbled and broken and restored.

Let my heart never forget to cheer, with wonder and passion for the wild and wonderful, powerful and loving God that chose me. And in that choosing, gave me new life.


*Post title comes from a song of the same title. Lyrics are here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Abusing my blog...

I'm abusing my own blog by posting this since this isn't what my blog is for but...

I may make a truly insane decision this weekend.

Pray wisdom. Please.

Continuing the dream discussion

Wow.. I wish I had more time to comment on my OWN blog during the day!
I've really enjoyed reading this discussion between you two.

ED, I liked your statement "lately i see myself driven not by goals or ambitions but an understanding that God can do extraordinary things with ordinary people if we only turn ourselves over to him."

Then I went to SLW's comment "it's not wrong to have desires or goals per se, often what are promoted as such are ego driven, greed driven, or driven by some other orientation that smacks of a love for this world and the things that are in it."

And again, I'm drawn to the idea that there are some goals that are NOT driven by greed, ego, or love for the world. I truly believe that there are some ideas that are passionately driven by a love for the people in the world.

Could... maybe.. the problem be that we are calling our calling - a dream? God calls us to accomplish certain works on this earth, do certain things, and we're too afraid to do it so it then becomes classified as a 'dream'?

What do you think of that possibility?

Faith is not in such a frightful bustle

I found this at Tolle Lege. They are always putting up some incredible quotes and passages which I link to usually into my shared item in google on the sidebar here. But this one was just too good not to share.
Check this out:

“The pilgrim is steady in his progress. ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley,’ says he. He does not run in haste: he walks quietly along. We are generally in a hurry to get our trouble over.

Cries one, ‘I feel in such a horrible state of suspense that I must end it one way or another.’ But, my dear friend, faith is not in such a frightful bustle, for—’He that believeth shall not make haste.’ Faith is quick when it has to serve God, but it is patient when it has to wait for Him.

There is no flurry about the psalmist. ‘Yea, though I walk,’ says he—quietly, calmly, steadily. So David in effect declares—I shall walk through the valley of the shadow of death as quietly as I walk in my garden in the evening, or go down the street about my business.

My affliction does not ruin me for duty, I am not flurried and worried about it. May God give you, my dear brothers and sisters, this calm faith. I pray that He may give it to me, for I greatly need it.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Valley of the Shadow of Death,” The Journal of Biblical Counseling, Vol. 18, No. 3, 2000, p. 33.


One of the many blogs I read that I probably won't ever stick a link to in my corner pocket is the "Dilbert Blog" by Scott Adams. He's an author and the creator of the dilbert cartoon strip, and has a terrific blog that I've enjoyed reading from day one. His content is usually rated PG, but his commenters aren't at all though - so if you visit, you'll enjoy his posts. I'd just not recommend the comment section.

He wrote a post today, "Practice" that especially interested me though. Here's just a snippet:

Pool is a game in which there is a nearly perfect correlation between how much you have played during your life and how good you are. I sometimes joke that instead of playing actual games I could just compare my number of hours of lifetime practice to my opponent's and declare a winner. Research shows this is essentially true for all sorts of skills.

So you would think that the secret to success is to practice more than your competition. But it's never that simple. In order to put in that much practice you need the opportunity, such as having a pool table in your basement*. But you also need some sort of passion, or drive, or OCD to put in the time. Where does that come from?

Personally, I have felt the compulsion to practice particular skills dozens of times in my life. It happened with ping pong, drawing comics, tennis, computer programming, and other things. Practicing these skills always felt like something I couldn't stop if I wanted to. The attraction was so strong that it felt like OCD.

Later on in the article he uses the phrasing that he was 'drawn' towards certain activities. To the point that, as quoted, he felt like he couldn't stop if he wanted to. The attraction was so strong it felt like OCD.

It was that strong attraction that had him practicing his sports, his drawing, computer programming...

Isn't that how we're suppose to be with God? Where we want to study His word, we want to pray, we want to spend time worshipping Him? Today it seems like it's a difficult chore.We're too "busy" to read Gods word. We don't have time, we've got other books to read, other shows to watch, we've got the house to clean and bills to pay. Who has time to really stop and focus on God?
My prayer tonight is that God will draw me. Give us OCD where prayer and time with Him is concerned. Help us do better.

And by we, and us... I mean ME.

I keep saying how much I want of God. But at the same time, between life stresses and busyness, I end up giving less and less of me. I really don't think I'm going to get where I know I can go with God giving only what I've given so far. If I want more, I also need to keep giving more and more of myself.
I sincerely doubt that Mr. Adams developed the passion and drive and OCD for pool before he played it. So if I want to get better at something, I'd better start playing. God OCD may develop. I hope.

Just thinkin' out loud.

Local stuff...

Just a quick thing for the folks around this area that read the blog.

The kids at the Gainesville State School, a prison facility for youth, have a basketball team. When they go out to play with other schools, there are no parents sitting in the stands cheering them on, no friends and buddies and going out for pizza after the game. You play your game, listening to the crowd cheer the other team, then get handcuffed and go home.

I've been trying to attend their games just because I'm a professional woohoo'er who loves these dorky looking criminals. Home games are free to attend - no cost.

They're playing tonight (Friday 1/9/09) at the Gainesville High School. If you at all would like to attend and cheer the kids on, leave a comment or e-mail me at flyawaynet at hotmail dot com and I'll be happy to get you directions. It starts at 6pm.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Conversation about dreams

SLW brought up a point that dreams can end up frustrating people. I can see how that's exactly true. He mentioned that it's the famous few that actually chase, and unveil those.

How do you know if you're going to be the famous few or not though?
Are those famous few dreams realized, worth the cost of all those yahoo's chasing their dreams?

How many lives are ruined each year as husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, and people of trust, throw caution to the wind and chase those foolish dreams leaving shattered people to pick up the pieces, pay the bills, and keep the real world running.

I get that.

I don't know of any foolproof way to figure out if yours is the whimsical dream of fancy, or if it's the direct vision from God planted into your heart.
And at the same time, it's easy to chase after Gods dreams in your own ways and timing, rather than Gods.

Or maybe I just hit a key word a minute ago? Vision, vs dreams. Is it an important difference?
Do visions tell you of what God is seeing. And dreams focus on the imaginary?

There was an interesting post by Steven Furtick called "Look Within" this afternoon and it resonated with what I've been thinking about in dreams today. Take a look at it, even if you don't connect it to the dream discussion, it's still a good post to remind you to have faith in what God is leading you into.

Dream big

I keep reading about asking God and dreaming big, bigger than your regular sized dreams.
I found it ironic that I have a dream I assume to be wildly too big and out of reach so, I think God needs to give me a more reachable bigger than imaginable dream.

It's amazing how we rationalize things in our heads sometimes.

Do you have a larger than life dream?

Nitrogen tire inflation

Ok, completely off topic, but for those of you that listened to me hype up for hypermiling (a lifestyle that now has me getting 37 mpg with regularity and ease) I have a new trick for you.

Inflating your tires with nitrogen instead of plain ol' air.

I was introduced to this awesome new trend when I had to replace my tires this week.
The information I've heard on it is that it helps increase that gas mileage a little bit more. It helps your tire keep from wearing out quite so quickly and also since nitrogen doesn't expand and contract with the weather, it prevents the typical squish that has you topping up your tires occasionally.

At my local place Discount Tire and Brakes, if I spend 30 bucks, they'll suck the air out of my tires, refill me with nitrogen and then if I have a flat, I can haul it back to them, they'll fix the flat for free and refill me with my nitrogen. If I do find myself needing to add air, I can simply go to any gas station and put regular old air in, then stop back by my tire place and they'll suck out the air and refill me again with nitrogen. And supposedly the whole process just takes 15 minutes.

One of the customer service guys said he averaged about 1.5mpg, while another guy got about 2mpg better than what they were doing before. According to the calculator on the Get Nitrogen website that's a savings of about 58 bucks a year. At least for my stats anyways.

Get Nitrogen says: "With nitrogen tire inflation, improvements can be noted in a vehicle's handling, fuel efficiency and tire life through better tire pressure retention, improved fuel economy and cooler running tire temperatures."

For more information on the use of nitrogen in your tires, check out, or Fox News.

Happy savings!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Moving bad parts around.

I began to see my wobbly tires as an analogy the other night as I posted my interesting mechanic fixing my front end problem by putting my worst tires on said front end. *I'm still scratching my head over the justification*
But I didn't have time to think it out right then. That didn't mean I forgot about it though.

I didn't know my back tires were bad.

I knew they were older than my front ones and that's about where my consideration of those tires stopped. But, seeing as someone moved those awful things to the front of my car - I had no choice but to notice them.

While my car is dirty, both inside and out I sincerely make an effort on general maintenance things that will help my car along. But I just never noticed those tires until they became a vital tool in my steering abilities.

And I was wondering how that applies to spiritual life..

And it seemed to connect to how you don't realize your weak areas until you're tested.
So I began to consider if the colossal mess of this last year are the signs that those parts of my life that I've shoved to the back and didn't realize were not stable and worn, suddenly took the drivers seat of my life and my life wobbled scarily out of control.

It's just a theory. Just a thought out loud.

Lesson to learn from that, is that while I might not notice the wobble if I had shoved the tires back to the rear again - eventually one of them would have gone flat if not split apart entirely.


Have you grown so much in the knowledge of God that you have forgotten the truth of God?

How do you count success?

At church Sunday night in an impromptu business meeting I received more information on my church's financial status. Our pastor was required to complete an end of the year report, and in the year we have prospered. We're not rich, not even really abundant, but for a small church of approximately 40 or 50, every need has been supplied.

And while I'm pleased that we're doing well financially, and I'm glad to know it. I wondered if another report is available.
How many souls have we we won? How many have been baptized? How many received the Holy Spirit this year?

... almost as quickly as those thoughts came to me, I realized thinking about my churches spiritual numbers is just another distraction from me focusing on my own.
How many people did I witness to in 2008? How many accepted Christ as a result? How many seeds did I plant, and water? How many people have I prayed with and encouraged to seek the Holy Spirit?

I focus on so many things, and I tend to use words like "We" or "Christians" but in truth, I need to passionately focus my attention to the one thing that I am required to account for.

So, when you read my posts for this new year of 2009, listen closely to this one thing. I'm not lecturing you. I'm not lecturing the world around me.
I'm lecturing me.

I want better. I want best. I want my actions to display my heart. I want my words to display my depth rather than shallow surface words that dull the sharp pierce of the gospel of truth.
And I want my words to apply to me. Not you. Me. So brace yourself and if you see me go awry, please comment strongly.

I want to grow. I want God. I want more. I want most.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Campus America

A great video from Campus America (

What do you pray for?
Special thanks to Nancy, who found it at The Upper Room.

Net tested... blog approved.

Awesome tool I discovered on someone elses blog. It's called ref tagger. I got the code for it here.
It automatically puts the neat pop up box when you roll over a bible reference.
Once you put the code in your blog template, it doesn't require linking the scriptures, all you do is type in the reference and it puts the link/pop up scripture itself. You can choose the bible version.

What a neat time saver. And easy to put in. Just thought some of you might be interested.

To see it work, just roll your mouse over the scriptures below.

John 3:16
1 Corinthians 2:4
Isaiah 7:6

Right vs Right?

I'm a Christian. I believe Christ died for my sins, and that because of that I may, and do, have eternal life assured to me by God the Father. I believe that God the Father, granted us the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself, to live and work amongst us, and in us.

I believe.

And daily, I covet to live, and grow in knowledge and grace, in holiness and righteousness and love. I want to plumb the depths of the riches of God Himself.

So I want to know. I want to know. I want to know more about holiness and righteousness. I want you, and everything around me to speak to the fact that I'm only scratching the surface of riches that are available to me. I want to know that God sees my sins, and really and truly wants every single one banished from my life.

I want to know that God isn't as halfhearted about my life as I sometimes am and as the world is constantly telling me He is.

I want to understand.

It seems I've been a Christian forever, but I sincerely am confused by the things I see in churches. And please keep in mind as I write this that this is certainly a generalization, and I'm not pointing any fingers at all lest I have to point at myself as well.

But in the church world I see young, "hip" churches, that seem to have so much passion and hunger on the inside, but absolutely nothing on the outside. They sing and hunger, and worship, but it seems as though absolutely nothing is sacred, or holy, or... it's as though they've taken the "all things are lawful" as Paul said, and forgotten that just because it's lawful doesn't mean it's good for you to do.

Then I see the churches of people (generally the ones I've been raised in my entire life) that have everything holy and sacred on the outside, and nothing on the inside. I was considering the people I've met in those churches through the years and discovered that mixed into them are those that want to be hungry, but are not or they gave up, and those that don't seem to even want to be hungry. They seem to be profoundly "content".

It seems as though I need to choose, outward appearance, or inward, and I don't seem to fit in with either crowd. It's beyond frustrating.

I've read of stores in England that had dress shops, to which there was always a key to shopping in them. The stores displayed their merchandise, but a discerning shopper could go into certain stores, and simply walk around the store making comments about the lack of quality in the clothes. The ladies would turn their noses up at the merchandise, and after a fair amount of effort the manager of the store would show the lady to a "special selection" of merchandise. This was the storeroom of the most valuable, the highest quality of fabric, the most famous of designers.

And I believe that God has always been like those stores. You get saved and you automatically are ushered into a room full of merchandise for God. You have bibles, you have prayer, you have joyful fellowship with your new family. What could be more wonderful than this?


That's what I want to hear. I want to hear Christians all over the world yell out "BUT!" there is so much more. I don't want the general store God. I want the secret hiding place God, that has wealth of treasures my mind can't conceive. Like Edmund in "The Lion the Witch, and the Wardrobe" I want to find that my God is as addictive as turkish delight. That I'd sell out anything for another taste. And I want to find that addiction to the point that when I speak to you of my turkish delight God, your mouth will water as well.

I want more. And I want you, whoever you are, to want more too. There's more out there than what we're seeing. And there's more out there that are hungry for it than what we're observing in our churches. I've seen some truly hungry folks in my church. And I've a renewed focus in the last few weeks to see them taste of the fruit of my Savior.

For anyone reading this, I'd ask that you pray I act wisely. As I've said, I feel like a misfit between the two different styles of believers that I see lately and just don't feel as though I fit. While others sit enjoying their reservoirs of faith that they've built up over the years I'm always kicking and stretching and being too loud. I don't want to alienate those people.
I also don't want to alienate those that seem to be hungering and seeking God, by showing up looking legalistic in my "church clothes" and frowning at the fact that they're updating their myspace page during church.

Is it possible to have depth and joy that over flows?

*I feel I need a disclaimer on this post more than usual. I want to say that I haven't gotten to know these people as well as I should have. There could be so much more to the picture that I'm not seeing. But what I am seeing, are absolutely wonderful traits. I see self-control, holy reverence, respect for self and others, depths that only comes from trusting and waiting for our God in the hardest of times. And in others I see that longing, and hunger, a willingness to become undignified in the presence of God, I see zeal.

Both sides seem so wonderful that I can't choose.*

When do you say God is Good?

Nate, over at "The Jesus Paradigm" has a great post titled "Delivered unto Suffering". Short, sweet, to the point. Here's just a taste, but it's worthwhile to go in to read the entire thing.

I'm going to go out on a limb here. There is never, ever a time when you are able to define God's character and intent towards you based on what you see in your life. (Even though that radio preacher I once heard said "if you don't care, God doesn't care.") Because if the "best life now" that you have is proof that God's smiling on you, then he must be frowning on those in pain. Too bad for them. Those Christians with a testimony of "illness, homelessness, and persecution, to be followed by further persecutions, beatings and death in anonymity?" God didn't like them as much because of something bad that they did, and now they're gettin' theirs. "That's right, young, starving African woman that was raped and now has AIDS. Clearly God's favor is not upon you because you screwed up really bad." This is now what runs through my head when people say "God is good" after they got a raise at work...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Stupid solutions for serious problems

*My car is still a great car, I just saw this photo and it seemed appropriate. :) *

Where most handy work is concerned, I admit without a moments reservation that I am beyond uneducated.

But even I recognize stupid when I see it.

I returned my car to the shop from whence it just recently came from, and said quite certainly "I don't know what's wrong, but I know there's something wrong."

They'd just finished replacing my half shafts. And I knew it was making some very unhappy noises as it drove down the road still. So, asking God humbly to not let my wheel fall off, I took it back to the shop.
Cutting out a lot of the middle story, this reputable shop took the new tires off my bad front end and replaced them with the bad tires from the back.
So now, I have a bad front end, and because I have a horrible pair of tires on the front end now, my steering wheel shakes uncontrollably and I wobble fiercely down the road.

I can't tell you how pleased I am.

And as I considered this unhappy turn of events, I realized how often I've done that in my life. I felt I needed to "do" something. Even if it wasn't the right choice for the time, action felt ridiculously necessary, and inaction felt anxiously difficult.
But ultimately, while they may have felt worthwhile moving bad tires, into a bad situation, all it did was worsen the situation.

The next time I feel too anxious to wait on God for His moving, I'll have to remember how displeased and annoyed I was that someone else had taken what was mine, and foolishly made what I was working on fixing - worse.
Because in those times when I'm suppose to be inactive, God never is. And I'm not my own. I'm His. And He is most definitely trying to fix me, if I'd just keep my busy little hands out of His way and let Him work.

Tomorrow, I'll take my car where I should have taken it in the first place.
What will you do?

Friday, January 02, 2009

What'd you smash into?

I read a post by Shaun King describing his own first hand experience with miracles.

I know it's long, but what I'm about to say hinges on his story. So before you go a step further, please go read his post.

Did you read it?

Seriously, did you read it?

When I read the post, I was shocked at the idea that somehow he had smashed into the glass with his face. Not his head, not his body, (as he states in his blog) but his face.
Then, I took the time to enjoy the video he linked to for the song "The Presence of the Lord is Here."
One of the lines in the song caught my attention. Riveted my attention.
"He'll open up a window and pour you out a blessing."

Looking at the pictures of the windshield of his car, I saw that God did indeed open up a window. Or maybe the devil did it.
I'm not going to dig into who or Who should get credit/blame for this event. I just agree with God that all things will work together for good to them that are called according to His purpose.
Because sometimes a window opens, and a blessing pours out of it.

Sometimes though, that window gets opened by your face.

It rips, maddeningly painful, and breaks you. It breaks your plans for tomorrow, or for your lifetime. It breaks your heart. It breaks your fight, and your entire focus.

And from that, God can pour you out greater blessings than you can imagine.

Do you think I should compare it to the typical "don't pray for patience unless you want trials" ?
I'm not saying don't ask God to bless you, lest He smash your face into a window. But I am saying, sometimes you ask God to bless you, and He allows your face to smash into a window. And I say that, with a face that's been smashed at least a couple of times.

My God is good.

We're stubborn, crazy hard and earthly focused people. Our greatest blessings, come at a high cost. But with rewards so great that it outshines the birth pains of getting to it. Sometimes our greatest blessings smash us into financial craziness and 3000 miles from home. My greatest blessing smashed my face into 5 foster kids, and 5 goodbyes in 2 years. Maybe your greatest blessing is the pastorate you took over, with 20 whiny broken people who have lost that first hunger and are soon going to experience the renewal of that first love and excitement.

Maybe your greatest blessing was ruining your reputation by standing by someone everyone else had given up hope on.

When your face is smashed, blood and tears flowing out, flesh torn and pain and agony your primary thought - it's hard to imagine that this will be the greatest blessing of your life.
When she saw her sons face smashed, blood and tears flowing out, flesh torn and pain and agony His primary thought - she probably didn't imagine that this moment would be the greatest blessing for every single person in the world for all time.

But it was.

Maybe everything I'm saying is wrong. Maybe I just search for lessons to lessen the pain sometimes. Maybe I want meaning in things that are meaningless - just plain old ordinary pains from living life in a sinful world.
Either way, God's still good.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

So much to learn from everyone.

I'm not pleased with my blog this past year. But then, I'm not pleased with my Christian walk this year either. So I guess I'm doing a very good job of allowing my blog to reflect my 'walk'.

One of my favorite bloggers, "Gunner" from his blog "Raw Christianity" posted some of the things he learned in 2008. And while some of his were personal and specific, some of them seemed to define the things I experienced this year, words like "de-mature" certainly rung true to me.

I'll go into this new year humbled. This year, in my life I've been like an elephant in a china shop. It's not a pleasant image. At the same time, I've gained a much better picture of Gods mercy and grace not only in holding onto me, but in still wanting me at all. It's not earned. That's for certain.

Ed G., in a post over at "Cross the Road" put me onto a line from a song by David Ippolito.
The line said "Any God small enough to understand can't be big enough to help."
And I know I've spent a great deal of time this past year trying to smush everything He was doing into something that I could understand.

And finally, a conversation with one of our maintenance men, Mike, at work has really stuck with me. He detailed how he had to come in to work at 6am, daily, to add more gasoline to the generator (we've got a blown transformer). In questioning, I finally ended up asking why he didn't instead change the tactic of keeping it fueled to a another one that wouldn't have required the overtime that had brought the whole discussion up in the first place.
His response?
"Because the boss said to do it."

There are a lot of times in life when I don't get it. I don't understand. Or I'm sure I've got a better plan. It's good to remember that I'm not the boss. I gave that right up when I asked His purchase price to cover me. I am my Beloveds and He is mine. When those days come up, and they will come, I need to use Mikes words. "The boss said."

I don't sing "Where You lead, I'll consider if that's the right direction for me."
Or, "Trust and make informed decisions."

When I repent of sins, I forget to add "control" to my list of sins.

This year and every year, I hope to draw closer to God. I pray I pursue the joyful abandon of loss of control. I pray I simply trust and obey. For there's no other way to be happy in Jesus.

Happy New Year

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And departing leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time.
Let us then be up and doing
With a heart for any fate
Still achieving, still pursuing
Learn to labour and to wait."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow