Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

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To some this may sound like a trick question, to others it is serious thought. I tend to fall in to the second camp. I really wonder how much would I be missed if I were no longer around. I often wonder what kind of legacy will be left behind by me. I wonder will there be enough people at my funeral to even carry my casket. I wonder a lot of different things about what the lives of those I love will be like if I were to pass away.

Now, I have been writing everyday minus one for the last 62 days, I wonder if you all would miss me if I were gone. I am curious if I have left a small mark on your world, that has left and indelible mark on you in some way? Everyone wants to be remembered for doing something good.

It may be selfish, but I want to be remembered for making difference in the world through my words. Not because they are my words, but because every time I write I try to offer hope and encouragement through the power of Jesus Christ. There is no way I have been able to do all the things in this life I have done without His guidance and help.

So it is not a legacy of me I want to leave behind but a spreading of the good news of Jesus. I want people to say of me, what they said of the disciples, “That He has been with Jesus.” And as it is being said God would be glorified and in the end I would be like John the Baptist. “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

If I haven’t left that kind of impact then what has my life been for? What is it all about? So I guess in reality while I want to be a little selfish and know if people would miss me if I were gone the biggest question is did I represent Christ well while I was here? If I were to stop writing tomorrow, would the work I have created be a good discipleship tool, or just more junk clogging up the net?

Question: Do you think I have made a difference for the Kingdom of God? How can I do more?

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Getting Things Done (Will Power vs Spirit Power)

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Over this last week I have learned a lot about myself and the nature of things. I learned that I try to hard to do things on my own. I don’t trust in God nearly as much as I should or even as much as I tell other people to. I know I guess that makes me a hypocrite and for that I must repent. (I’m a work in progress please give me grace).

One thing I can say is that at least I am becoming more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to recognize that I am relying on my own strength too much. Don’t get me wrong sometimes pure dogged determination will get a lot accomplished. However, when we need to do things in the spiritual realm that type of determination just doesn’t cut it. I am learning that the hard way. But at least I am learning that and not being so hard headed/hearted as to completely ignore it.

Why is it so hard to live in step with the Spirit? I would venture to say it is because he is perfect and we are not. We have a hard time trusting in things we cannot see. We see things in the natural form forgetting that there is a spiritual side to life as well. Just like the graphic there are steps we feel we need to take and we tend to think that only we can accomplish them. Instead we need to be more like Martin Luther, he would pray for two hours a day, except on days he had much to accomplish he would then pray for three hours. He recognized the importance the spiritual plays with the physical.

This week I have had a major amount of reading and studying to do and to be honest with you I will not complete all that is laid out in front of me. At least not of my own accord. I guess you can say that I am a doubting Thomas in a sense. I don’t see how the Lord will be able to help me get through all of the reading I have to do to get certain assignments completed. Sure I should probably be using the time I am writing this to be reading, but for whatever reason it just feels futile.

I know I will get the work done maybe not on time but it will be completed. There is one assignment that is already behind, but If the others are done by the due date it is because the Lord gave me the strength and wisdom to accomplish it. There is no other way for it to be done.

There will be some who discount what I have to say in this post and I’m okay with that. I know it is hard to think the Holy Spirit has any control in our lives and how things turn out. I struggled with this idea for years, but have come to a place of acceptance. Knowing that God is sovereign has made a huge impact on how I live day to day. It doesn’t mean I get a pass to be lazy because God will take care of it. It does however free me from guilt knowing that God will have me accomplish his will in his time and not my own. If he wants me to pass a class or to fail then that is what is going to happen. I still have to bear down and do my part, God is not just going to give me “A’s” because I’m his child. I have to work for them.

This is where the age old debate of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility come into play. D.A. Carson has an excellent book on the topic. All of this to say we are not the product merely of our own strength but a combination of our work and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Question: Do you tend to trust in yourself more or the role of the Spirit in your life?

A New Found Respect for My Pastor

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After this last week I have a new found respect for all the good pastors out there. I have had so much work to get done this week I have had to choose what gets done and what doesn’t. There has been a rather difficult sermon text I’ve been dealing with since Sunday.

The reason I have a new found respect for good pastors is it’s not easy trying to deal with life and write a good sermon. I was able to do it last semester because it was mostly all I had going on. Not so this semester, there is an abundance of irons in the fire. And I’m trying to keep them turning in time. Without falling behind. I thought doing this job would be much easier than it really is.

Are you looking at someone doing a job you wish you had and thinking it’s easy? Chances are they make it look easier than it is. I have several friends who are pastors and most of them make sermon prep sound much easier than it really is. This new revelation has not made me want to do the job any less, it has shown me how much more dependent on the Holy Spirit I need to be.

There doesn’t seem to be enough coffee in the world to help me focus on the challenges that lay ahead of me. I don’t know about you but this kind of wake up call is good to have before you are in the “Big Leagues.” I would hate to be in full-time paid ministry learning how difficult the day in and day out is.

Question: Who do you need to get a new found respect for in your life?

Living in a World of Broken Dreams

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Why is it as a child we are told we can become anything we want to be, but as we get older and start to solidify certain things we are told to grow up and think about something we could really do? When we say we want to be in a creative field like an artist or the like we are told to find a job with some security. Pretty much we are told “I wanted to do something like that also and had to do something different.”

I am not saying everyone is like this just some. Those are the ones we need to stay away from.Tweet: If you have a dream inside of you to do something and it keeps nagging you, chances are you are supposed to be doing it. I have two passions in life, they are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and writing. I am in the process of trying to get them to take care of each other so I can make a living of doing what I love.

There are just so many people out there who once had a dream to be something different in life and the circumstances of life chocked those dreams right out of you. I want to encourage you to find your voice again and let God guide you to what he has for you. Don’t settle for the life someone else wants you to live. This is where most people would pull a verse outta context and offer some encouragement. I can’t do that I love HIs Word too much to mistreat it.

What are you longing to do? What keeps you awake at night other than worry and anxiety (we’ll leave it for a different post)? If there was something you could do in this world for the rest of your life and money wasn’t an issue. Once you can identify what you want to do, you need to identify your why?

What do I mean by your why? It is the reason behind everything you do? If you cannot identify your why you are going to have a hard time chasing your dreams. I long to be a pastor, in order to be one I needed to go back to school. The question I have to ask myself is why do I want to be a pastor?

Sometimes the answer is hard to remember, most days its not. I want to be a pastor to help people grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. And to do it effectively I needed to have a certain amount of education.

If we allow people to continue to dictate how we are to live our lives we will be in a constant state of upheaval. We need to determine what our dream/goals are and the whys behind them. So we can become the people we were created to be. Life is not meant to be some ho-hum experience we meander through. it is to be a glorious event we get to enjoy. Now everyday will not feel like a celebratory time, but its okay. As long as you can find time to realize who you are.

Don’t live in the world as another person with a broken dream. Step up and step out in faith proving you trust God to provide. It may not come in ways everyone else thinks it should, but God’s provision is his provision none the less. The best thing you can do is start to make an action plan and implement it.

Question: What dream do you need to work on?

How Do You Look at Indulgence?

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What exactly does it look like? Does it look the same for everyone? Is it a bad thing? These are all questions running through my mind as I think about the word indulgence. Why is so simple to over indulge in so many things in life. For example going back through the line at the buffet just one extra time, or for others it may be an extra drink at the bar.

I am not casting judgement on anyone for the Lord knows there are many things in life I have over indulged in. Right now it is sweets (chocolate, candy, cookies) items along those lines are my weaknesses right now. I have admitted in a previous post how I have and do struggle with addiction to many different things. Would you say there is a difference between addiction and the occasional indulgence?

A question I have for you to think about, “Is it possible to indulge too much in another person?” Can we have too much of someone else? I know you are used to me giving more answers and insight in my posts but right now I have more questions and I am hoping maybe you can help me to answer them.

Do you think it is possible to have too much of a good thing? I won’t get mad at your answer, I’m merely curious as to what you think. Today this post is about you and your thoughts on the topic at hand. I am learning to live a life full of moderation. It does not mean I am always succeeding at it, but it does mean I am trying.

For example I eat a meal with my family on Monday nights and then go to Bible study where there is usually (not always) more food brought for us guys to eat. Long ago before gastric bypass I would indulge and eat both places. Now I may eat my meal at home and so I can share in the fellowship around food I will eat dessert with the guys (usually, unless the wife has made an awesome dessert).

Are there places in the Bible which speak to this? At the moment I cannot recall them, maybe you can. I try and love the Lord and do things which are pleasing to him and I would say over indulging in something is not glorifying to Him.

Question: What do you tend to indulge in and do you beat yourself up over it?

3 Steps to Reignite Passion in Your Life.

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It’s is not an easy question to consider is it? But I would appreciate it if you took a moment to really think about the question. So…what is your answer? If it was no congratulations you are a lucky person. I on the other hand would have to answer this question on most days with a resounding yes. I do lack passion in my life. At least a burning desire to do certain things (except for writing). I love to write.

If you find yourself lacking, what are some things you could do to change? How about change your scenery. Changing what you have around you could release feelings and emotions you had not felt in a very long time. Go to a place you have never been before, or it could be a place you love but haven’t been to in a while. Where is a place you can go for a change?

Try something new. I know personally I love writing and glass engraving. They are both very cathartic for me. Each allows me to express my inner artist to one degree or another. Writing allows me to show more of the inner me and what is going on in my head. While glass engraving allows me to show off what I can do with my hands. I say try something new because before I was given a Dremel for my birthday last summer I would have never known glass engraving would be so much fun. What is something new you can try, one thing you have thought of just never attempted?

Meet more people. It sounds kinda funny but by meeting new people you open up new doors to the first two suggestions. You may end up going somewhere you haven’t been or doing something you’d never consider. I am slowly getting to know some of the baristas names at the local Starbucks and they have become a little more familiar/friendly with me. You never know if you’re single you could find your soulmate there I know one friend who did.

It is easy to fall into ruts or funks or whatever you want to call it. When we feel almost life less and wonder what in the world is going on. Being a student and a parent I can usually tell you what my life is going to consist of especially when I am without money. It is a lot of staying home doing homework of some sort. This becomes boring very quickly. My wife struggles with the same thing.

Question: What do you suggest to help bring passion back to your life?

When Is Good, Not Good Enough?

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Riddle me this? It is something I have been pondering for a while. When is good not good enough. I mean you try and do your best yet for whatever reason its not good enough. Or another way to ask this question is, “why is good not good enough?”

Could it be because we live in a culture were everything has to be an amazing experience. Isn’t the goal for all of us to be better than good? When we start to do something we never set out to be mediocre we strive to be great or at the very least the best we can be.

Who is to tell us what is good or our best? We are the ones who determine that. We set the standard for our lives and the things we go after. There are goals we want to reach and should not allow someone else’s perceptions ruin our goals.

There will be those who will tell you, you are not doing enough to meet some standards they have set up for you. Wanting to measure you against others in the same aspects. Like for me I am hoping to become a pastor or in some type of full-time ministry. However, unlike the average pastor I have some sever health issues (specifically fibromyalgia) which can be debilitating at times.

With these additional challenges it is hard to be measured by regular standards, but I do my best. I hope live a life honoring to God. So I try to measure up to the standards set-up by others. We are still left with the question of when is good not good enough? And the answer is when someone else sets the standards and you are unable to reach them.

The next question to arise is how to do better than good? So we can do more than enough. The answer which comes to mind, is to trust in Christ. I know it sounds hokey, but it is the best answer I can give you. When we commit ourselves to Christ we can know we are going to achieve the best standards possible.

As long as we are committed to Christ, and are fully committed then we can know we doing our best. And our best is good enough. With all of this in mind we can know we are on the right path.

Question: Are you still trying to live up to someone else’s standards?

It’s Hard Being All Things to All People

I don’t know if you have ever lived like this but it is hard and rather frustrating at times. I want to be the best at everything in life. I want to be the best husband, father, Bible study leader, and the list goes on. Do you ever feel that way?

I am not sure what has made me this way, but I am here now. One thing comes to mind while not exactly in context are the words of the Apostle Paul, when he tells the Corinthian church in 1 Cor 9:22b I have become all things to all people that I might save some. Paul wanted to be the best example he could be in order to win men to Christ.

To my family I want to be the best example of what a man of God should look like, not only to them but to those I lead. It is hard trying to be Superman. My health is a challenge in and of itself. Somedays it takes all I have just to get out of bed and do the simple things people take for granted like making breakfast. So how can I be all things to someone then.

There are times when depression gets a hold of me so bad I don’t know which way is up and I am supposed to be the light to those around me. It is my hope that by sharing this with you, you will realize life doesn’t have to be perfect to be used of God. He wants us to attempt to do our best for his glory and he will take care of the rest. We are told, to plant and to water but the harvest is up to God.

There are so many ways to live life. I don’t think it is inherently wrong to want to be all things to all people, but there has to come a point where you are who you ultimately are meant to be. The basis of all this is to say before I can be everything I have to be one thing. The one thing for me is a Christian. This is my basis or as some would say my foundation.

Once I know what my foundation is it allows me to build on it. You cannot become what you weren’t meant to be. A dog cannot become a cat or vice-versa. What I can be is the best me God has created me to be and in doing so I become all things to all people. I am a  better father to my children, a good husband to my wife, a devoted friend, and loving son. There is so much more that I am but it comes after all of these things.

Question: What is your foundation? How do you attempt to be all things to everyone?

Do Date Nights Make Love Stronger?

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This is a question I have pondered for a while. I have come up with several reasons none being more important than just needing the time alone with your spouse. That’s right I said spouse not significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend or what ever other title you may use for your relationship. It is something vital for a marriage.

There is something about having a wedding band on and then tack on kids it makes date nights hard to come by. For my wife and I we have had a hard time making them a priority. But we are trying to change that. It is one of my goals to take my wife out a minimum of once a month for some alone time with just me.

We both have some of the same struggles except for my health is worse than hers. We are both students, are married (duh!) and we have two boys. We try and divvy up the chores around the house. For instance I do the cooking and she does the dishes. But life can become bogged down with feeling ho-hum dong the same things day in and day out.

This is one reason why date night is so crucial. It breaks up the monotony. Most importably of all it lets your wife know you give a damn. When you go too long with out any really special time for the two of you to focus on your relationship it has the potential to crash into the wall. And it would be dangerous and hard to recuperate after depending on how severe things were.

I saw signs of danger ahead and tried to correct course. I am not saying I’m perfect, far from it actually. I’d hate to see someone else make mistakes that can easily be avoided. Nobody ever said date night had to be some extravagant event every time. Just don’t go to Wal-mart and think that is going to cut it. Go somewhere you can sit down and have a real conversation.

Lory and I enjoy going to our local coffee shop. We go there and sit at the community table and get pretty close to one another and just talk about life. What we are excited about, what are we scared of? It may not seem like anything special to an outsider to us it is vital to our marriage.

To lay out the bluntest answer possible to the question posed in the headline date nights are crucial because without the you will lose intimacy with your spouse, and my end up losing them completely in the process. They will become dissatisfied in the marriage, wondering if it is really worth it any more. Make any effort you can to take your spouse out away from the normal things of everyday life.

Make your spouse a priority you will never regret it.

Question: What do you and your spouse enjoy doing for date night?

Are We Supposed to Learn Something From Everything

church-402213_640I only ask the question because today I had to sit for almost three hours in a boring courtroom on a very hard bench. I couldn’t slouch or stretch without the bailiff having an attitude. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while you know how bad my health is (I have fibromyalgia). So having to sit there was excruciating.

What made things worse was the fact I had only gotten four hours of sleep the night before. It was a rough night, only have to wake up early to go to a Bible Study. The study was a good time of fellowship around the Word of God in Daniel 5.

But back to my original question are we supposed to learn something from everything? If so I wonder what it is I’m supposed to learn from sitting in a place being so stiff and in pain. I guess you could say I am supposed to learn patience and endurance as my wife was saying.

It was definitely a test. I took a book with me to read, but was at first too tired to read, and then was in too much pain to focus on the book. I don’t know if your courts are like ours, but you are not allowed to have your phone or anything else electronic it looked like.

I can say today has been an eye opener for me in one regard. The same way I write for myself and it resonates with you all. So does a simple phone call placed to a brother in Christ to check on him. I know I appreciate it when one of the brothers reaches out to me, so I took it upon myself to give some guys the same care.

You may be asking what have I really learned today? Well, I’ll tell ya. I’ve learned courtroom benches hurt, and I am not the most patient of people. Most importantly I learned the importance of a well place act of kindness. You never know the impact it is going to have on someone. One of the brothers I contacted said the simple gesture of me calling him “Made my day.”

I don’t know about you, but being able to make someones day just warms my heart a little more. So yes we can learn something from everything, but we can not learn everything from one thing.

Question: What is something you have learned in the recent past?