Showing posts from December, 2005

Love? Peace? Again?

And so it goes. I am in a half-day today to make up for the half day I took off to wrestle with the hot water heater. There is absolutely no one here (that I can hear anyway) but it is only 7:43 am right now. I am sure people will trickle in as the day goes on, but I could be wrong. We’ll see how dedicated we are. My wife got me a book called The Jesus I Never Knew by Phillip Yancey. It is a good book. Not as earth-shattering as Schaeffer’s The God Who is There or even Lewis’ Miracles but a good book in its own right. In it Yancey says something that is mightily true. He says that the only force in the universe that can conquer a heart is love. In fact, when God chose to demolish the separation that existed between us and Him since the third chapter of Genesis, He chose an act of love that is unrivaled in its breadth and unparalleled in its sheer weight. Sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins is the greatest act of mercy and love that the world has ever seen. That act conquer

Well we have hot water agian

Well, we have hot water again and it feels good. We got a good hot water heater and I asked a friend to help me with running the gas line. We half-installed it ourselves (we hooked up the gas) and had a plumber run the water lines to and from the tank. All in all I think we spent about $415. That is good considering the lowest quote I got for a professional install was $545. And that was for a cheaper water heater. We upgraded the gas line and the shut-off valve for the gas and water too. All in all I am satisfied with the job we did. If it happens again I will be installing flexible lines for the water to and from the tank. I think I can do that and still be in code. I’ll have to check it out. All that to say that this situation threw me for more of a loop than I wanted it too. As I grow in the Lord and understand His provision in my life I am truly amazed. From jobs to houses to cars to food – everything I need and a lot of what I want has been given to me by Him. And I wring my hand


“That’s the thing about life. It’s just every day stuff.” Jean Piccolo “Then we could be heroes, just for one day.”   David Bowie No one I regularly come into contact with (save my wife) has any idea who Jean Piccolo is, but when she said this it rang true in my heart and I measure my life against it. How well to I apply God’s principles to my day-to-day life? Am I handling the ordinary things with the wisdom that is born out of the fear of Him? Or am I living a practical atheism that opposes the Spirit’s work in my life? I take exception to the phrase that is often uttered as heroes brave their demise or comfort to aid people in need “This is what America [or insert country of choice here] is all about.” It is often heard in the wake of a natural or man-made disaster.  David Bowie lends his voice to sing about the heroes that are there for the day. We need heroes and saviors – no question about it. If my life is on the line (and it was) I need someone (or Someone) there to grab my lim

Has anyone noticed?

It feels good when others compliment us. Simple words like, “What a nice family you have.” or “Thank you for helping out during Game Time.” go such a long way in making us feel good. They also give us some indication of where our gifts are. For example, if we consistently teach a class and get no positive feedback whatsoever concerning our performance, maybe there is some indication that we should be pursuing another ministry. I say maybe because positive comments (and commentators) can be so fickle at times. It is important that we share the positive impact people have had on us as they serve and minister to us. Our comments may even be part of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives to determine their giftedness. On the other hand, what if the comments do not come our way? What if the people that we desire to say something to us never respond to our offerings of service? Once we have determined what our giftedness is, these lack of comments should not deter us. As long as we have

Idolatry? Today?

I can feel it. This is when I have to be very careful. One of the kids was up last night (ok, the whole night) coughing and crying. Needless to say, my wife and I got very little sleep. Sleep is one of my idols and I get very easily upset/bent out of shape/frustrated when I do not have enough sleep. I tend to treat people badly and get grumpy to the point of being rude. OK, now that the truth is out I need a plan of action: Pray! God wants me to have a good attitude and I need Him to grant the desire of my heart. Relentlessly focus on others today. Make an extra effort to make sure other people’s needs are met before mine. I should be doing this every day, but some days it comes a tad more naturally. Ask “Is there anything I can do?” so much that it gets to the border of being annoying. Make sure the kids are mine tonight. I don’t care how much of a bummer work may be, I need to make sure I am the primary parent tonight. Know that any misbehavior is probably born out of the lack of sle

Nothing has really changed, right?

I am not the same person I used to be. I live on a different street than I did two years ago and drive a different car. In fact I have been through two cars. We decorated our house differently for Christmas this year and got a nice Christmas tree from a different Christmas tree farm than last year. We didn’t hang the glass icicles on the tree this year because the kids like to look at the tree a little too closely. We will change that when they get older. We are going over to my in-laws’ house on Christmas day for the first time in, I think, forever, but maybe just since the kids were born. I am doing something different at work this year than I had been in my previous years here. I have a new boss too. So far, since I have been here, I have had 6 bosses (in eight years). Gas prices have been going down recently. It was $3.49 a gallon over the labor day holiday weekend. It is down to $2.36 right now. I upped the deductions on my paycheck so I will be getting more back throughout the ye

Shhhhhh....softly now

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 So many conflicts in our lives have more to do with how things were said rather than what was said. The wounding words, the wounds that do not heal, usually have little to do with doctrine, outlook, or any such truth claim. Rather, the wounds have more to do with how those truth claims were presented by the person laying hold of them. People can respect the fact that I believe in absolute truth. It does not take long to convince people that there is such a thing. They even can stand the fact that I think the version of the truth presented in the Bible explains our universe. What they can’t stand (and should not tolerate) is the tone I use sometimes to present that truth to them. As the husband to my spouse and the father to my sons I manage my family. There are certain things we bend on and certain things we do not negotiate. When the non-negotiable portions of our lives become sources of conflict, it is up


Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God. Matthew 5:9 How we make peace: Through evangelizing the lost and employing the principles found in Matthew 18. What we are guaranteed by being a peacemaker: God’s pleasure. What we are not guaranteed by being a peacemaker: peace with everyone. That frustrates the tar out of me. But it shouldn’t. The fact that it shouldn’t just frustrates the tar out of me even further.

Why are relationships so hard?

Relationships are born out of and maintained by acts of service. There is not a single more powerful force in the universe than a relationship that is built on love. Nothing is more important in someone coming to Christ or growing in the Lord than a relationship. That having been said, relationships are the single greatest source of conflict we encounter. That is just the way the Enemy would have it. The Devil will seek to ruin our relationships with spouses, children, family, and friends. As citizens of one country attack another, as citizens within a country attack each other, as we seek to objectify one another for personal or monetary gain – all of this is an attack on what God uses to bring people to Himself more often than not. It is an attack on a love relationship. Make a friend, be a friend, win a friend to Christ. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying. All of this will be accomplished when we throw off our hurried lifestyle and focus on people. We will be instruments of Go

We can know God's will - one of them anyway

OK, the smoke detector should be going off at any time now. I just put the brownies in the oven and spilled some of the roast juice on the burner. Well, we'll see. I am a disaster in the kitchen. Well, I have only had two stove fires. For some reason, two was enough for the "disaster" label. I read a book a while ago by John MacArthur called "Found: God's Will". I think the book is perfect, but others disagree. Basically, what MacArthur does is lay out what can be determined about what God's will is for every believer. No matter what, the Bible says that we do not need to struggle to find out what God's will is for our lives. A lot of people struggle with trying to find out, for example, what college God wants them to go to, or what car He wants them to buy. That is all right, but we will never know what God's sovereign will for us is on Monday until Tuesday. Some people struggle and strain and pur over the college brochures and pray that

We live in a big universe.

In high school I was into New Age music (the music, not the philosophy as much). Generally I explained it to people as a mixture of classical and jazz music, but it is a bit more complicated than that. My first album that I received when I got one of the first CD players on my street (from Sears - still have it – still works) was an album by Vangelis called Invisible Connections. Quite good and a nice symphonic work. He had another album called Soil Festivities that was very minimalist and very much a contemplative work that emphasized the symbiosis that points us to God. Not that it was his intention to do so, but you get the picture. My favorite attribute of God is His omnipresence. “Though the Creator lies beyond creation’s rim, every atom holds the whole of Him.” Every day we move through the very midst of God, but more than that: the Bible says that in Him we live, move, and have our being. He surrounds us with himself and causes all things while holding all things together for Hi

Big, bigger still, bigger even still

It is funny when you sit down to write and you write about something that has no relation to what you intended to write about. By know I am thinking to myself, “What is it that I was intending to write about?” The answer is less obvious now because my brain is on to other things and what I had intended to write about is out the window of it. So I don’t know what I think about this. We recently had a sermon on the Chronicles of Narnia because there is a movie coming out based on the book written by C.S. Lewis. I have read a lot of Lewis and his insights and clean explanation of the Word have given me great pause at times. It was mentioned that in this postmodern world there is no better introduction to Christ and Christianity than books like Narnia. In fact, there was one gentleman who used to hand out Lewis’ Mere Christianity (which I have read a couple of times) to skeptics. Now he hands out Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe . When I was a young Christian, Mere Christianity

Not just for the dead.

Not just for the dead. My salvation was wrought in Christ’s blood not so God could just get my sorry butt into heaven, but so that I would walk with Him and participate in the holy life in the here and now. There is this characterization of Christians (especially here in America) that they are just biding time until they die. Always looking toward heaven, always singing about the sweet by and by, always wishing that this lust-filled body would melt away in exchange for the one we saw Christ in after the Resurrection. There is some of that wistful longing in my heart. Especially on the dark days when I stare at my hands and wonder how they could have participated in such evil. Our longing and assurance of heaven should stir us into action. Action that communicates to the world that there is a God who will not be ignored and will, one day, set things back to how He intended them to be in the first place. The longing should embolden us to be the best spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daugh

And the need for a Savior Continues

And the need for a Savior continues….. Every day I realize what a debtor to grace I really am. Is it all grace all the time? A thousand times yes. No pay for performance scheme would ever get this boy to anywhere of value. My role as husband, parent, sibling, son….all of it needs to be soaked in His grace. Not one ounce of who I am, not one molecule or atom in my body is isolated from this. I stumble through life sometimes in such a stupor I wonder what victory is. Is this the life He has called me to? Is this all there is? Is this the saving? Then He smiles and sings. The cold north wind throws the finest, whitest snow at my face as I crunch onward. I feel so alive! See the diamond days sparkle? Sing over me Lord! Sing the song that I only “know” in the place between the wake and sleep! Yes Lord, you satisfy and the dark days, the tears, the infections all are swallowed up and crushed through your mighty Grace. The wrath I have earned has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel so al

Oh Lord it is hard to be humble.

Humility just rails against everything in me sometimes. If I was to see someone in an SUV with a nice family getting out and going into the Olive Garden for dinner on a Thursday night I may say to myself, “Good for him. He has obviously done well for himself.” We watched the Apprentice with Donald Trump last night and, although he did not get into the Trump helicopter, he encouraged the victors that one day, if they make a lot of money and choose to do so, they may have an 80 foot yacht to cruise NY harbor in. I think of “The Trump” as a decent man who has a decent family and gobs of money. “Good for him,” I say in my mind, “he has done well for himself.” I want people to think I have done well for myself too. That I have put my talents to good use and made something positive happen. I want them to see my family, my house, my degrees, my Toyotas and say, “Well, there goes a man who has obviously made the right choices and has a good life.” And then I remember that it will all be gone s

Not that it was a unique situation...

I feel a bit like Seinfeld.  The big premise of his show was that he had real life experiences and worked them into his comedy act. My real life experiences are worked into this blog. And then this blog becomes a real life experience. Funny how we try to compartmentalize things that we do, but they always end up squirting through holes that we never thought were in the box to begin with. I had to repent last night. Not that me repenting is anything out of the ordinary. I need to repent more than I do. I need to change my mind about a great many things, but I needed to repent last night in the middle of prayer meeting. I like to make people laugh. Call it what you wish, but I like it when I can do that. Anyway, I made a good joke last night at a light moment in the meeting and quite a few people laughed. The pastor even heard the joke and thought it was funny and told the gathered congregation and many of them laughed too. That was very self-gratifying. But that wasn’t the part I needed