Wednesday, October 29, 2008

i like books!

i just signed up for something that might be one of my favorite freebies of all times. i'm a sucker for something free, whether it's a ringtone for my cell phone or a sticker in the mail. i genuinely like free stuff. so you can imagine what a doofus i am when it comes to things like a trade show. i'm the guy that goes booth to booth and foregoes looking at the booths purpose, and focuses on the FREE STUFF.

that being said, if you like books, like to actually READ them, and would like free books, check this out. thomas nelson is giving away free books if you will review them. kind of like what you already do, like when i read CRAZY LOVE by francis chan and it rocked my world. i immediately went out and told my friends they HAD to get that book. i didn't give them mine because i'm still re-reading it and marking it up. like when i read frank viola's book, pagan christianity, i began to talk to others about it. i started challenging people about the "why" of the things we do as Christians that either make us look better or worse in religion's eyes.

so, with that being said, if you are one of the people who check this blog out, like to read, and have a blog, i would highly recommend this like to you...


Monday, October 27, 2008 chapter

with the last couple of posts about fear, i have come to realize that many things have caused me to be unnecessarily fearful in my LIFE. i have actually come to realize that many of these fears are needless and pretty petty. so, with that in mind, i thought i would finish this mini-series with a more practical approach to fear.

as you face today, one thing is certain, you WILL be faced with opportunities for fear. whether you choose to give in to those opportunities or not is completely up to you. you can choose to fear the future, the economy, the election, the monday night football game, or whether you will wake up or not. you really can choose to fear each of these things and more.

first, let's look at what fear is defined as:

a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. (

second, let's look at it through this lens...

can i really trust God?
i think that's an important question, and rather than give anecdotes, i'm going to leave it at your feet. i know we all have fears...some are good--like the fear i have of snakes--i'll never get bitten if i consciously stay away from snakes (unless one sneaks up on me). some fears are crippling to us--like a phobia--which keeps us from doing something we might like to do. yesterday, e-dub missed out on a chance to go with d-money and a few of the neighbors on an excursion that ended with them being able to shoot bb guns. e-dub wanted to go but there was one HUGE problem...maggie. our neighbor's boxer was going on the trip. so e-dub's fear crippled him to the point of not being able to leave the driveway to just walk across the street to their house and hop in the truck. definitely a fear that kept him from something he wanted to do.

i realize e-dub will probably avoid being bitten by a dog simply because he avoids them at all costs, but some day, he might miss out on something AMAZING because of his fear. i also know that for me to simply look at him yesterday while he stood in the driveway and tell him to just "trust God" wouldn't have worked. he has to EXPERIENCE a God worth trusting...

if we trust God it's because we see Him as trustworthy. i don't trust politicians because i don't see them as trustWORTHY. i think they ALL lie. i think they ALL mis-lead us. i think they ALL are a little bit shady...even the ones who have the approval of focus on the family!

i think learning to trust God only comes when we actually meet God. not knowing ABOUT God, or our family's faith, or our spouse's faith, or a faith we read about in a book. trust comes when we have faith in a God that we KNOW intimately and personally, and before you know it, our fears of the little things tend to vanish, then BAM, we're trusting Him with big fears, decisions, and plans...

just a thought.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Words Could Never Describe

Words Could Never Describe

Posted using ShareThis

this is quite possibly the best piece of "worst ever" i could imagine. hearing a rumor that this is from some cult, but sadly it could be from any number of churches i have either been to, been a part of, or know of. enjoy and laugh today! remember, God has a sense of humor.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

scared? fear? part 2

as i think about fear, i have to come clean about one of my greatest fears...currently. i struggle to let others know about it, because it makes me sound so out of control...which i am at this point of my LIFE.

my greatest fear occurs about 3 times a week...sometimes less and sometimes more. each morning that i wake up and don't hear lane playing in his room, brings me my biggest fear...what if something has happened to him during the night?

this might sound like a needless fear or you might think agree. the truth is, i don't care if you agree or disagree on this one. it's a very real fear for me recently, and i don't know why.

most mornings when i wake up around 6:10 to wake d-money up for school, lane has been up for a while and is already playing with his toys and making all kinds of noise. occasionally though, he sleeps all night and that means i have to wake him also means that i don't hear his tell-tale signs of laughter, his shrieks, or the sound of his toys piercing through our downstairs.

up until recently, i longed to have lane sleep through the night, much like d-money and for the most part, e-dub, but now i find myself fearful of the "what if?" feeling. i think the hardest part of all of that is knowing that one day, none of us will be here, but the reality of lane not waking up one day or having a seizure that he never recovers from is a VERY REAL possibility in our world. i also know that when that day comes for lane, his world will go from horrible and painful to instant bliss. he will stand before his creator for the first time on legs that work and his eyes will work and his first sight will be he face of Jesus! i rejoice at the mere thought of knowing lane is going to be great one day, but the fear is still there today.

why? why would i choose to fear when i really do trust and believe with everything in me that it's going to be ok? am i afraid of the pain it would cause our family? am i ashamed that it might happen while we are sleeping and therefore it would be blamed on us? i really don't think it's any of those, i think it's actually a bigger character flaw within myself. i think it's my realization and reality that i really have NO control over it. i don't think i have worried about d-money or e-dub not waking up since they were mere infants, but lane's different...and fragile...and it's a real possibility that he might not wake up one day, but regardless is it fair to the rest of the family or to him to let fear have a place inside a heart that isn't supposed to fear? is it right to fear the uncertain...and is it truly uncertain if i truly believe?

i have to think about the story of Jesus and the dad of the son with seizures. the story in Mark 9. check it out below with my commentary.

14-16When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked, "What's going on? What's all the commotion?"

because, when religious people get around those who truly follow Jesus, a fight usually ensues over who's really right...

17-18A man out of the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn't."

a seizure...want to get attention? have one! i can actually feel that dad's pain. i can feel his hopelessness, his frustration, and his anger. i might even go as far as saying he could even be a little more than ticked that he's helpless when all this happens. what good dad would just sit back and watch this happen to his son? and then he goes to get help from Jesus' disciples, and they were helpless too. so this is what was in store for his son for the rest of his LIFE? i'm so glad we have a great neurologist, that i trust, but this guy had nothing like that.

19-20Jesus said, "What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here." They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth.

first, the AMAZING sense of sarcasm and frustration in Jesus, and second, the mere contact with Jesus' presence brought the funk from the demon. maybe there's something more to that than we've previously given Jesus credit with. His presence should royally tick off some demons and evil around us...

21-22He asked the boy's father, "How long has this been going on?"

"Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!"

notice, Jesus didn't just jump right in and help out. He didn't just bail the dad out of his pain and suffering...again, ANOTHER LIFE lesson

23Jesus said, "If? There are no 'ifs' among believers. Anything can happen."

24No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, "Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!"

I NEED TO HEAR THIS! I have if's! they are crippling and they suck the faith out. thank God for this passage and for a dad who was willing to do anything for his son.

25-27Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: "Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!" Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, "He's dead." But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.

of course a crowd was forming. you have Jesus and then a seizure. why would a crowd not want to watch THAT trainwreck?

28After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, "Why couldn't we throw the demon out?"

29He answered, "There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer."

from the message paraphrase

so what am i praying for today that is preparing me for what i'm not going to be able to do on my own tomorrow?


Monday, October 6, 2008

afraid? you're not the first...part 1

so now it's october, and fear is a big word. some people are going to spend their money to go and be scared...or at least try to find something that scares them. horror movies are rented, pants are soiled, and adrenaline races...all for the quest of fear.

i for one am not a big fan of being scared. i kind of hate it. i grew up afraid. i was afraid of the dark, afraid to walk up the stairs by myself because i just KNEW that someone was going to grab my leg through the railing, i was petrified when cujo jumped through the window (if you don't know what i'm talking about you're just too young), and the sight of a hockey mask still makes me shiver a little bit. one of my most embarrassing moments of ALL-TIME involves myself and fear. we were walking one friday night late to the "asylum" in knoxville--an old "supposed" abandoned insane asylum--with a bunch of people. i remember it was dark and just the intensity of the moment made me jumpy. i remember looking at the group of guys i was with (richard, chris, and maybe one other person) and making the stupidest statement of all time--"hey guys, no FAKE scaring!" i couldn't shove the words back in my mouth fast enough. richard reminded me of that statement for months. i still would expect he would remember it if i ran into him today.

the bottom line is simple, i HATE being scared. i have gone into "punch first, and ask questions later" mode as i get older, and have had to be mindful of a young child coming to the bedside on more than one occasion. i thankfully still haven't hit one yet!

so what do you do when you get scared? do you panic? do you freeze in horror? do you shriek? do you get aggressive? i don't know why, but all of those reactions are pretty normal.

my own kids have their own fears. e-dub HATES thunder and storms. this morning when we got out of the car to go into school, his first question to me was to find out if it was supposed to storm today. the only word for what goes through his mind...panic! lane absolutely DETESTS air horns! we found that out on saturday at the football game. a couple of moms chose to bring them to the game and every time he heard one, he went nuts! screaming and crying were plentiful...and not that kind of crying that says i'm hurt, it was that horrible, i really hate that and i'm scared kind of scream. d-money is just like me. he HATES to be startled...and i know it and do it more than anyone else. EVERY SINGLE TIME i jump out or scream, his reaction is the same, "DAD! AAAAHHHH! that's SOOO STUPID!" i know how he feels, and have actually taken a vow to not do that again...because i remember how i hated it.

for God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline...2 timothy 1:7

so why is our first reaction usually fear instead of power, love, and self-discipline? i know this is a stretch for this verse, and i know that this verse is (in context) is an encouragement to timothy by paul, to live a LIFE that would be confident in Christ, but what i don't know is why we so often live in fear of things.

can the boogie man really grab me as i walk up the stairs? he sure can if God allows it, but he could also walk up to me in the middle of the super-giant-mega-mart and grab me in the middle of the soft drinks...if God allows it. so why do i spend so much time and energy focusing on the fear instead of the power, love, and self-discipline?

just a thought...and oh IS STORMING today!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

something i have learned...from an UNBELIEVABLE source

i was reading a magazine (actually the only magazine i actually subscribe to--more on that later) on the plane to naples the other day when i came across this quote:

we're still a viable band--bring it long as it doesn't interfere with our family lives, which is the number-one priority for all of us. which makes (our band) number two. sorry, everybody out there. but if our families came second, the band would implode.

you might be like me and read a quote like that and ponder the wisdom of the statement. you might think this statement came from a giant in the "Christian" music sector, who has learned over the years to champion the cause of his or her family because they realized ministry has to start in the home. you might think about giving this band a listen, since obviously their priorities are closer to where they "should" be. or you might even be taken back by the sincerity of the statement, but i can almost guarantee you that you never expected this statement to come from the source it came from.

you see, the ONLY magazine i currently subscribe to is rolling stone. it was a personal choice a few years ago when i realized i was getting everything from similar sources. i have NOTHING wrong with other magazines or magazines that would be labeled "Christian." i pick them up from time to time and even make mental notes about things that challenge and spur me on. the reason i chose to no longer subscribe to any of the "professional" Christian mags was simple...i was tired of looking at pages that seemed to advertise every possible way to get my ministry to succeed. ads for software, hardware, marketing, books, conferences, etc. if you don't believe me, just pick up a journal or magazines for vocational minsters and look at the ads...promises to help anyone be successful...and quite frankly it just bugged me.

i chose rolling stone for a couple of reasons. one, it was highly recommended by a good friend in ministry...someone i did and still do look up to. someone with a great ministry to people on the "outside" of the church culture. the second reason was even simpler. i could get a LIFETIME subscription for $99. that's right, for two years of a journal, or a few years of "help" mags, i could get an issue every other week for the rest of my i did it. i subscribed.

i love the way rolling stone (rs) is written. i like the wit, biting satire, and most importantly hearing what people (who i had no clue ever existed--the "other" side) believe. all that being said, it's important that i point out, I DO NOT ENDORSE OR AGREE WITH EVERYTHING PRINTED IN ROLLING STONE. it has language that would get my kids (and my own) mouth washed out with soap more often than not (but words i have heard more than once--even recently--on the youth football field, by coaches, parents, and even kids!). it is completely slanted to a non-God and unbiblical view, and the political section is quite possibly as far away from what i believe as possible. i have the UTMOST respect for matt taibbi, who is the political guru there, because i enjoy his style, wit, and biting sarcasm--something we might have in common. i have to admit i wonder often why he is so anti-God and anti-Christianity. my own opinion is that he has experienced hurt in the form of church like so many of us have. i have seen it more than once, this time it's being thrown out in the open rather than hidden. rs many times glamorizes things that i believe makes God show His mercy by holding back His wrath for another moment. for every morsel like the one above, there are 3 more that make me cringe. i have to rely on God to show me what i need to read. it helped tremendously that rs put the above quote in one of its captions under a picture (which having severe ADD helped me find it!).

so, you probably want to know who said it. i was amazed to know, it was metallica's kirk hammett. i have to admit, metallica was one of the groups that was "off-limits" for me growing up. their album titles like, "kill 'em all, master of puppets, and ride the lightning" were just too "out there" for our family, so like with so many other taboo things, i chose to hide it.

i read that quote and am amazed by it. it could have come from a marriage conference, a pulpit, or any number of places, but it came from one of the heaviest metal bands ever. a band that has come through addictions, losing a member in a tour bus crash, anger issues, counseling, and more funk than anyone can imagine, and triumphed. they have found sobriety (for those who chose it), family, and fun...all without Jesus. THAT'S the worst part. how many people do i know or bump into who appear to have things all worked out, or even figured out? do i even look past the surface, and do i even care?

so there you have it. i subscribe to rolling stone, play rock band on the xbox 360, and am amazed by quotes from metallica (didn't even have time to talk about their new album or the song, "the judas kiss," here). maybe i'm mixed up, but i'm definitely going to let my LIFE speak to others who are searching, hurting, and looking for something out there in this crazy world...

oh yeah, my boys love music to. dmoney has a guitar that he's seriously thinking about trying to learn to play, lane is a wiz with one hand on the piano and keyboard, and e-dub is SERIOUSLY a drummer. what if they grow up to be in a band?

businessmen? is it all really a metal act?