Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Laugh 'Til She Cried

Yesterday I was listening to some podcasts from The Drew Marshall Show truly the best podcast interviews I have ever listened to. I suggest checking him out if you get a chance. One of the podcasts was comedy bits just for fun to finish his show and so last night I played them for my family. We watched all of the ones at this link Tim Hawkins and my kids and Amy laughed until we cried. It was so much fun just laughing as a family...like camping we need to do that more.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I went to church at PCC this morning and the message was about 99.5%. Danny Cox mentioned that only 0.5% of our time would be spent in church on Sunday morning and that really got me to thinking. What about the other 99.5% (which was his point). Whether or not I go to church is not necessarily what makes the difference, it is really what I do with the other 99.5%. At our bible study on camp last Thursday we talked about really trying to live this relationship with Jesus day in and day out. Checking our hearts and how do we do that...by checking out hearts to what the bible says, allowing the Spirit to lead us and interacting with others (both Jesus people and those who aren't Jesus followers). Obviously I got something from going to church as I was challenged, just one of many ways God uses people to touch us. I am also reading a book by *Brother Yun a Chinese Christian called Living Water and the first chapter talks about our need to repent in the context of truly turning our lives over to Christ. He talks about a missionary to China who was bringing other missionaries in China to Christ. I realized that there are many "Christians" who need to come to Jesus...as I begin to search my heart I realize I may very well be one. Needless to say this has all hit me this weekend and I am looking at my spiritual journey wanting to be diligent with following and pursuing this faith I have. I don't want to go through the motions and if I am not taking 0.5% of my time going to church Sunday mornings then what am I doing with 100% of my time to grow in this walk with Jesus.

*When searching for a link to Brother Yun I found some controversy surrounding him being a heretic. Upon further search I found this open letter by his co-author that seems to support and clear up the controversy. I can say that whether or not he speaks for God what he has said has pointed me in the right direction in my faith Phil 1:12-20

Friday, March 27, 2009


Gotta tell the story because I have heard of this happening but yesterday it happened to me. It doesn't make me feel smart, but worth sharing.

We are under the house we are remodeling putting up insulation. I am using a hammer tack staple gun (a staple gun that you use like a hammer to drive the staple) and I hit my index finger right on the tip. I look down and have driven a staple through my glove and fingertip. I try to take off my glove and I can't because the glove is stapled to my hand. I use my razor knife to pull out the staple and don't want to take the glove off to see the damage. Only one side of the staple went through my finger. Fortunately it went through right off the end of my fingernail and came out the other side. Like I said it makes a guy feel pretty smart.

Sweet Conversation

So today I am in Barnes and Noble browsing for books and I see a guy I know from PCC. We end up having the best conversation we have ever had, it was interesting. Honestly I can say that we weren't exactly great friends, it wasn't that we didn't like each other but at the time we both were at PCC things were different. After talking to him today about his journey through some church stuff and my journey through some church stuff and where that has taken us in our relationship with Christ. I found we have a lot in common. At one point he apologized for a meeting he and I were in and that stood out to me, the meeting didn't but the fact that he apologized did. I found myself thinking to myself "wow he has changed" then my next thought was so have I! God has done a lot of transforming in my life, sometimes I think more than I realize. Most of what has changed has to do with my heart toward others and that is significant. I know God still has a lot of work to do with me, but it was a great conversation today that helped me realize how much work Father has already done. I am such a mess in so many ways, that alone humbles me and helps me realize that if God can love me he can love anyone.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Camp More Work Less

If I could I would camp more and work less. We went camping this past weekend and had a really good time we were at Dead Horse Ranch State Park with our great friends Jim and Michelle Smith and their family. We also ran into some other great friends Mike and Shae Morris by accident. We had a great time fishing and just hanging out. The big kids played memory with the little kids. I love the way camping gets you away from tv, computers video games. I think we need to camp more and work less.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Inside and Outside

"Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done. You didn't think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard? Or did you think that because he's such a nice God, he'd let you off the hook? Better think this one through from the beginning. God is kind, but he's not soft. In kindness he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change."
Romans 2:1-4 from The Message on Bible Gateway

"Those people..." at the beginning of this passage refers to people Paul talks about in chapter 1 who "...know perfectly well they are spitting in God's face. And they don't care..."

So last week I was talking to a friend and we both have come to the realization that this passage of scripture was talking to us. I realize now how judgmental I have been toward others. How little grace I have had for others and where they are, not allowing God to be big enough to love them. Five years ago if I knew of someone who said they were a Christian, yet they drank, chewed and cussed I would have questioned their faith rather than think the best and see what God has actually done in their lives that has been good. This leads me to want to ask for forgiveness from all those whose faith I have judged by my standards, because I am that person now. I don't want to change my behavior because the Christian culture says I should, I want God to work on me from the inside out, I want him to have my heart and do the changing. Does this mean I have a license to sin? Of course not (just ask Paul) it does mean that God is working on things in my life that are probably more important like my heart and attitude toward others (inside of the cup) and less concerned about some outward things (outside of the cup). I am still really processing through a lot of this, I feel a need to press into Jesus more so He can work on me. I feel a need to become a whole lot less self-righteous and a lot more humble.

This is what God is doing in me, it isn't that pretty really, but it is good. It isn't fun, but it is good. I know this that he wants more of me and I want him to have more of me too.

Luke 11:38-40 The Message
When he (Jesus) finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn't wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, "I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn't the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Quiet Times"

Amy and I are a part of a bible study on Tuesday nights. It is interesting because we are the youngest and the only ones with small children. Mom and Dad come over and watch the kids and we really appreciate that. We also appreciate the people in the group and the wisdom that they all bring to the group. Anyway it is a different small group than we have ever been in, but it is really good.

Last week we watched a video about "Quiet Times" it was interesting as the proper Christian stereotype of "quiet time" (qt) is taking time everyday in the morning to spend time in prayer and reading the bible. Which is a good thing, but my brother mentioned how at one time he worshipped his quiet time...this is also true of where I have been. I think sometimes as humans it is easy to turn things into something we worship rather than keep our focus where it should be. As I was growing up I got the idea that how much, how long, the quality etc of your quiet time would define how good of a Christian you were. There is a balance in there - obviously spending time praying and reading the bible is good, but it can be made into a performance based thing which robs it of what it is intended for and this is something I had done with it. I would love to turn the blame to someone else (and there are those out there who push the qt in this direction), but I am the one who lost sight of it's true purpose. I also feel as though I have in the past judged others based on their qt and that I have pounded on people with a big qt stick. For that I am sorry, the guy in the video was good at pointing out the relationship part of a qt. The guy on the video suggested asking God to show you how to have a qt that works for your relationship with God. The thing that stood out to me the most was "pray your mind", basically instead of praying a list and forcing your way through it because you "should" pray this way pray about what God has put on your mind. I have done this a lot lately and it is a staple of my qt and it happens throughout the day. I still need to work on my time in the bible and journal (I just like to journal), but it is good to focus on it as time for my relationship rather than a religious expectation I have put on myself and others.

No matter where you are, simply taking 15 minutes or so to just clear your thoughts and focus (for me on my relationship with Jesus) is a good thing that really can help you relax and destress.

Working It Out

So Amy and I have started the Body for Life 12 week program and have finished 2 weeks. I really like the workouts, especially the lifting, the running is another story. I am highly motivated especially after my birthday and because Al Ortolani told me lovingly that I would eat myself to death. I know he told me that because it was true and for motivation so that I wouldn't. So anyway the workouts are going great, the issue is eating. I have not done well following the plan this second week, so Monday (Sunday's are days off) I am going to make a new commitment to strictly following the plan. It has made a difference in how I feel especially when I follow it closely, so here we go...starting NOW! If you have any ideas or encouragement let me know...I am running in the Whiskey Row 10K in May in loving memory of Al Ortolani so I have got to get going.

Thirty-nine and Holding

I turned 39 last Friday (the 6th) and had a great birthday with lots of birthday wishes via text and Facebook. It was nice, we had a couple of dinners with friends and family and played a little pool last night. All in all it was a great birthday. I really appreciated all the birthday wishes and had a great time with my family and friends.

It is a little weird being this old, I don't really feel old, still think I am 25 I think. Ultimately I have a full year to prepare for turning the big 40. I don't think I am going to let it bother me, just keep plugging away. I am thinking my goal for 40 is to ride in the Whiskey Row 25 mountain bike race. All in all life is good and going to just get better and better.