Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Makes You Happy?

What is important to you? What are you committed to at all costs?  What makes you happy?

It was a deal,” wrote one prisoner later. “We preached, and they beat. We were happy preaching, and they were happy beating—so everyone was happy."

 The following is posted at
Reinstating Commitment

The preacher was only making his first point when the prison guards burst into the room, grabbing him and slamming everyone else to the floor.

    “You know this preaching is forbidden,” one of them growled. “Now you will face the punishment.” The husky guards dragged him out of the cell and down the hall. The other prisoners knew that the Eastern European Communist guards were taking their friend to the “beating room.” They heard the door of that terrible room slam and then the muffled shouts and cries as the guards ruthlessly beat their friend.

 Almost an hour had passed before the guards threw open the cell door and shoved in the man who had been preaching. The other prisoners saw that his clothes were now bloody and his face bore the marks of the beating. He looked around at his cellmates almost as if taking attendance.

    “Now, my brothers,” he said, “Where did I leave off when we were so rudely interrupted?” And the sermon continued. Christians in prison knew the price they would pay to deliver a sermon, and yet many preached. Some, with no theological training or ministry experience, would preach passionately and eloquently in prison.

    “It was a deal,” wrote one prisoner later. “We preached, and they beat. We were happy preaching, and they were happy beating—so everyone was happy.”

In a world where a contract is no longer binding, a family is dissoluble, and divorces outnumber marriages, Christians must reinstate the meaning of commitment—at all costs. What is the value of a promise if it does not mean anything? However, the consequences of our commitment to Christ are not cheap. It may cost us a chance at being very successful according to the world’s standards. It may cost us friends and popularity. It may cost us our family. Our security. And for some, even our lives. Commitment must have a price. The prisoners understood that full well. Yet Christ’s reward is also part of the bargain. Are you holding up your end of the deal?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Run For Your Life

"On the first Sunday following the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, Carter Conlon delivered this soul-stirring message at Times Square Church in Manhattan. The sermon was titled, 'Run For Your Life'... "

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Charis reading to her younger sisters. (sorry for the poor quality, I'm trying out mobile blogger from my phone.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Eyes of Destiny

...who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:10 (NKJV)

We live in a society that is becoming increasingly antagonistic and hate-filled.  A friend, Dara Stoltzfus, made a recent observation that stuck with me: "if someone knew nothing of Americans except for what they read in the 'comments' section of would assume that the US is full of angry, critical cussers who can't spell..." What a true statement that is. Rich versus Poor.  Black versus White.  Muslim versus Christian.  Republican versus Democrat.  Gay versus Straight.  Pro-Choice versus Pro-Life.  The list could go on and on.

While I am a firm believer in absolute truth -- "I am the way, the truth, and the life" -- God has kindly revealed an ugly tendency within myself to use particular truths that I know as a measuring rod or club against others. My "gift" is to take a truth that I know -- measure others with it -- if they don't measure up to that particular truth, as it has been "revealed" to me, I beat them with it.  "I'm giving you the truth here."  "Don't you understand that you will be better off if you would receive this truth?" "Why are you running away from me?"  I  know..I brilliance is being revealed.  Please don't fall of your chair while you laugh at my stupidity.  But all joking aside, Why is it that I allow myself to do this?  Not once, not even twice, but over and over.

God recently challenged me to look at others as he sees them.  I know that sounds clique but it's much deeper than that.  This isn't about looking at others with eyes of compassion (although there is a time for that) this is about looking at others as a "completed" work that is covered by the blood of Jesus. This requires me to look past the failings they are currently walking in and look for the strengths that Christ has placed in them.   People don't need/want pity.  They need/require significance and value. 

"...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it..." Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

He wants me to look at others as he looked at His disciples.  Alive in their giftings, operating in the fullness of what He has for them, and covered by His grace.  He told me that :

Those who look at others through the eyes of destiny will forever be surrounded by brilliant, loving, and faithful, friends. 

...we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong... 2 Corinthians 5:16 (Message)

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:14-20 (NKJV)

Lord, help me to stand for truth with Your love and grace for others.  Help me to see others as You see them.  Help me to release others from bondage just as You released them.  Help me to build others up with truth instead of dismantling them with it.  Remove from me the yoke of fear and pride.  Don't allow me to walk in the fear of rejection, or in the arrogance of  inflated self worth.  Lord may Your kingdom come (not mine) and may Your will (not mine) be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Can Do It Myself

"I Can Do It Myself."

These words were uttered in utmost seriousness from the pouty lips of a determined two year old, as I was preparing to give her a small dose of Ibuprofen. She wanted not only to drink the medicine out of the flimsy little measuring cup by herself, she also wanted to pour the medicine into the cup by herself. When I refused to allow her to dispense said pain killer (she is cutting two year molars) she got upset, and made a somewhat dramatic show of refusing the medicine altogether.

As I was talking to her and dealing with the "situation," thoughts were running through my mind (a dangerous place to venture) like:

"She doesn't understand the concept that too much of this medicine will hurt, or kill her." "Just like walking into the road, or handling a lawnmower, her little brain is unable to grasp the reality that control and maturity are a needed components for this task."

In the midst of these thoughts the Holy Spirit spoke to me and the following little dialogue ensued:

(HS) "You do the same thing to Me Jet."

(me) "I do?"

(HS) "Sure you do. Look how selfish, greedy, and angry, you can be at times. You say that you want My Kingdom and Glory to come, but in reality you mostly want it only for yourself.

(me) stunned/awkward silence

(HS) "Why would I allow you to dispense My goodness and glory when you won't even let me help you with your bitterness toward that brother who wronged you? Or allow Me to take that 'anger' you feel when someone cuts you off?"

(me) mumbling incoherent thoughts in my brain like:
"...but that brother was a mean son of..."
"...seriously Jet listen to the HS..."
"...but that driver almost killed me..."
"...really I think I'm a pretty good guy in..."
" know He's right so just submit to Him already..."

(HS) "My power and glory can be a deadly thing in the hands of an immature someone who 'wants to do it by himself.' If you cannot obey my simple commands, ie: love your neighbor as yourself, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, etc... Why would I entrust you with more important ones?"

(me) "hmmmm good point."

Needless to say, the thought that I MUST mature in Christ has been running through my head ever since. Lord help me to submit to the process and allow myself to be shaped into His image. I so desire that I would be able to reflect Your goodness to a lost and hopeless world.

"Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature." 1 Corinthians 14:20 (New King James Version)

"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." Hebrews 5:12-14 (New King James Version)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quick Swine Flu (H1N1) Numbers

With all the panic that is being spread about the swine flu, I thought I would crunch some numbers from the CDC to see what the odds of contracting, being hospitalized, or dying from the pig sickness actually are.

Once the study results from the new vaccine are released I want to compare the odds of getting sick from the vaccine as compared to getting getting the sickness itself.

If you see additional data on this topic please let me know.

If you have lived in the US (thru 8/30/09) you had a 1 in 304 (population of the US/1 million) chance of getting the swine flu. Those are pretty slim odds considering you had a 1 in 100 chance of being in a car accident.

IF you got the "Swine Flu" during that time you had a:

1 in 110 (0.91%) chance of being hospitalized.

1 in 1686 (0.06%) chance of dying from the infection.

See the link to the CDC data below:
"By August, the cumulative number of infections in the United States was estimated to be at least 1 million." "From mid-April to August 30, a total of 9,079 hospitalizations and 593 deaths associated with laboratory-confirmed 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus infections were reported to CDC"

*Please be advised that I am NOT a physician (or statistician for that matter) and this information should in no way supersede the advice of your doctor.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Have a Dream

Forty six years ago today Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. I decided to listen to it to "commemorate" the occasion. As I was listening I was struck by the call for revival that is laid forth in the last part of his speech. He quotes Isaiah 40:4-5 word for word.

"I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day 'every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.'"

As I was soaking in the weight of Rev. King's speech, God reminded me of a dream I had 4 years ago that was based on the exact same passage of scripture! God gave me this dream just days before a major shakeup happened in our church that ultimately led to one of our pastors leaving. Here is the dream as I wrote it down back in the fall of 2005:
My Dream of a Highway through a Wasteland

I was walking up the side of a steep dirt mountain which was a “completed” portion of the County landfill (you can see this landfill from the front of our church). As I walked up the steep crusty dirt, I saw a straight and level highway which was being built/cut through this mountain of dirt and trash. On either side of the road the bank went straight up through the dirt and trash. It was obvious that whoever was building the road wanted it straight, level, and had said "no matter what is in the way, the road must go on level and straight," so the road had been built straight through the dump.
This is the interpretation and scriptures that God gave me (at the time) to go with the dream:

The Lord says; Look and see I am making a way were there was no way. Where waste and rejection have become a mountain, I am building my highway. What once was rejected, ridiculed and mocked, I have chosen as a pathway of blessing; a highway of righteousness. Where once there was no way, I have made a straight and level way. Ridicule, shame, and hopelessness will be replaced with amazement, awe and wonder.

Isaiah 40:3-5
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert A highway for our GOD. Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough places smooth; The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Isaiah 49:8-13
This is what the LORD says: "In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, to say to the captives, 'Come out,' and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' "They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. See, they will come from afar, some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan. Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

So why did God give me the same dream (literally) as the "Dream" Reverend King spoke about metaphorically 46 years ago? Are they connected? What part is he asking me to play in His plan?

I'm going to have to think about this for a while...

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Most Important

This is a song that Charis wrote for me. She wrote out two copies of it and sang it with Selah on my birthday. I have no words to describe the way I felt while they sang it. I can say that I now have a small understanding of how much our Father God loves our worship.

The Most Important
By Charis, July 2009

The most important thing for Daddy's are love
The most important thing for Daddy's are love
When I run to Daddy, he runs to me
When we come together we will hug
My hug means love
My Daddy is proud that his little girls love him
He is important to me
He is important to me
My Daddy is the best daddy in the world
He is a good daddy to me
I have a mark of Daddy on my heart

This is the "original text" of the song.

This is the Cover sheet of Charis's copy.

Below is the Cover sheet of Selah's copy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dear Daddy God

Dear Daddy God ( poem from a child's perspective)

I know you have a busy day,
But could you please stay home and play?
I feel alone here by myself,
But I long to know and touch your wealth.

I know you do important things,
But can't you stay and push the swing?
Won't you come and play with me?
We can climb the old oak tree.
I'll let you in my secret club,
If you give me one big hug.

Did you watch me spin around?
I'm the best in the whole town.
You're sure to like my latest dance,
Just stay and watch, just give me a chance.
See how fast that I can run!
I think I'm faster than the sun!

I hurt my toe, can you see the scar?
I think it's the biggest I've got so far.
My friends were mean, they called me names,
My heart it hurts, it's filled with shame
I often struggle with being myself.
Why can't I be somebody else?

Your arms are strong, I feel so safe.
I want to feel your breath, and touch your face.
When I grow up one thing I'll do,
I'm gonna grow up, to be like you.

The Domestication of America

“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” The Declaration of Independence, July 4th, 1776

The Domestication of America

Have you ever watched, a bald eagle fly
Floating so high, up into the sky
Wings spread out wide he majestically soars
To heights unattainable by those behind doors

Freely he comes and freely he goes
The breadth of his travel is almost unknown
Other birds they fear him, this king of the sky
And scuttle into hiding when his shadow is nigh

A beauty so raw, so dangerous, so free
One can't help but marvel, at the sheer majesty
Through springtime and winter, the eagle survives
Using his talons and instincts, to keep himself alive

Some say he's violent, a predator at large
That he must be subdued, or the rats will be harmed
They desire to cage, the mightiest of fowl
And control his ascent, for the good of the owl

His habits must change, they excitedly say
Forgetting the creator, who fashioned him this way
His flight is too vast, his reach is too wide
We must coop him up, and keep him inside

They tried to ensnare, this king of the sky
But found they could not, as he would not draw nigh
Frustrated they sulked, they moaned and complained
That the damage he caused, should be to his shame

They decided however, to switch up their game
To let the king fly, but takeover his range
His young could not fly, their resistance was meager
And so in one generation, they conquered the leader

I quickly wrote the above poem as an outlet for all the emotions I am currently feeling with regards to the proposed “Stimulus Package.” While I understand that some of our political leaders think they are doing the best thing for the country, I believe they are destroying it by ensnaring us in debt. We are mortgaging our children's future for the sake of our current comfort. As most of my friends know, my hope does not lie in the future of this great nation. My hope and trust is in The Lord alone. I do however believe that our country is a great force for good in the world, and I do not want to see the freedom that was bought at such a great price be destroyed. Please be praying for Obama, and the members of congress as they make big decisions over the next few days.

My Place For Thoughts

This is my blog for my God thoughts and general musings. Stay tuned for future postings.