Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going out singing walking in the Sunshine...............

How long have you truely lived? Someone commented the other day that some people live more in 18 years than others do in a life time.
That got me thinking.....hmm... How long have I truely lived? I lived when my nieces were born. I lived when I met my wife. I lived on top of a mountain when I realized this really is Gods creation. I lived the day I returned to living for God. I lived the day I realized what I should do when I realize I needed to leave the beer business. I lived when one of my friends told me he gave his life to Christ because of our conversations. I lived a few times when I realized that the time I was having with my friends was special. I lived when I fell in Love with my wife...everyday. I live everytime I see the wheels turning in the heads of the youth, when I've just shared some of the Gospel with them. I live everytime I see my people continually falling in love with The Lord Jesus Christ. I live when I get to fellowship and study with my Christian Brothers and Sisters. I live everytime I step out of my comfort zone.
Some of my living on the surface looks like I lived when I partied, but it wasnt the was the friendship.
Since I made a few of you mad last week and gave you something that will pop up when you least expect it and convict you, now I'm challenging you to think about when you've really lived. So it's another gut check from sweet lil ole me!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been......

Before I get into my blog topic, I want to expand on my last Blog. Reading the Blog it seems I was a little harsh. I was and probably will be in the future too! The reasoning is not because I'm disrespecting anyone, I'm actually very respectful of the whole deal, I just HURT really bad when this type of thing happens. I've been in situations that most of you never will experience and that's not a bad thing. To see another Kid die that affects my community, especially after seeing the families that are left behind to clean up the mess and to tie up loose ends, I get just plain PISSED OFF!!! I saw my people mourn over Dunni, that hurt. I saw the people closely involved continually getting in trouble and never really being punished. I've seen so many young folks die and the contributing factor is just being stupid. They know it will kill you because they've seen it in their friends deaths. I Hurt because I see the irresponsible actions and I know how hard it is to get turned back around. I'm not one of those that is totally against having fun, but I know that moderation with how you do it is necessary. Just be respectful to yourself and to those you care about! Now with the story.......

I imagine that everyone has heard the story of Jonah and the whale. This story is deep and has a few different schools of thought.
The story basically is about this dude Jonah. God tells him to go preach to his enemies and it scares Jonah so he runs away. Jonah goes way out of his way to get away from God and ends up on a boat and a storm comes up. As Greg Laurie (A popular minister) says, it was a "Correcting" storm meaning it corrected Jonahs direction, behavior etc. The Crew of this boat starts throwing stuff overboard trying to save themselves, because they are being pushed into the shore. Jonah tells them that it was his fault that they should throw him over and save themselves. Well they did, and were saved. That's where this big fish swallowed Jonah and dropped him off right back at the spot where he started running away. Then he went and did Gods work.
Looking at this story I immediately look at it as a story of life. God talks, we stray, we confess, we are "born again", and we go do Gods work. Did Jonah really survive in a Whale for 3 days? I know the story is about a man in a fish, and God can make anything happen, so I'm saying it's possible. Did he get swallowed be the fish from the start? There are some really big fish out there and some strange things have been found in their bellies.
One thing that jumps out at me is the Old Testament story of Salvation. If you look at Jonah repenting from his running from God, then the Being born again part point toward Christ. The Fish swallowed Jonah and had him in its belly (symbolism of a womb). Then Jonah is regurgitated on the beach (birthed). From that point on he lives for God and he was forgiven.
When Jerry Garcia sang of a "long strange trip" he had no clue did he!
Peace my People and have a great weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Beard, the glasses, and a smile on empty space....

What will you leave behind? What will people remember about you? I dont mean in the weeks following your death, but years later how will you be remembered? I bring this up because a young man lost his life this past week in my area. It was all because he made big mistakes. I pray this young man didnt die in vain. I pray that my young adult friends learn from his mistakes. One post on facebook referenced " rolling a doobie together last week"..... It seems so many people idolized him, but for what? Because he drank and smoked pot? Because he buzzed a football game in an airplane and endangered hundreds of people? Because he wasnt as good a driver as he thought he was? Did he ever really live or did he just throw it away? I know several people that look at this have never heard of the guy. I know several of you knew him and some of you may be one of those that is putting him on a pedistal. How is is cool to admit smoking a joint or drinking a beer with someone much more respectable than to admit you led someone to Christ? Maybe you didnt lead them to Christ but you introduced them or planting seeds as I like to say. What if other than just having a wild party boy lifestyle, what if he never knew Jesus loved him? What if he never knew about the free gift of forgiveness that Christ has given us? Had he ever heard the scripture known as the suffering servant? Isaiah 53:5 states, "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our sins, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, by his wounds we are healed."
Right off the bat that sounds just like so much of the other scripture in the New Testament, but that is what makes it even more important that our friends know it...... It's in the Old Testament and was written several hundred years before Jesus was ever born!!! Did I mention Isaiah was a prophet? This scripture was talking about JC, but was told to Isaiah by God.
I really hope one of my friends shared the truth with Tad. I know I have friends that knew him, I just hope the didnt start that "slow fade" and not tell him the Truth they already knew. I'm offering once again to anyone that has doubts, contact me! I dont care what time of day it is, get in touch with me if you have been affected by Tads death, or if you are not sure about where you are going when you die. Trust me, we are all sinners that fall way short of God.....but God loves us and wants to have that personal relationship with us hence Jesus.... and that's why it's called the Good News.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

What if the Road you're on is the Detour?

I traveled down a long highway more than once, only to find out I was going the wrong way. Sometimes I stopped and turned around, other times I took turns off the main route, other times I just continued aimlessly. The last choice sometimes seems like the best of the choices, I know, I've made that one. When I was 18 or 19 years old I dropped out of school. College just wasnt right for me. I basically followed the "good times" and spent a whole lot of money. I remember times I rolled pennies and hooked all my homies up with $.30 draught. I met so many people and partied so hard, I thought I was on the right was fun!!.... that's what's important right? If it feels good do it?! So I did. Sometimes one of my friends and I talk about the old days and think about just how easily we could've been "locked up"..... but we werent. I worked my way into better jobs that paid more, so I spent more and partied more. I finally ended up working for a Beer Distributor in Charlotte and made a pretty decent salary. By this time I was pissed off everyday (deep down inside). I met people that really didnt fit in with who I really know, the one I had lost somewhere along the way. I started dating my wife while I was working for "The King". By the time we got married I had started to get back involved in my church. After the wedding we both became involved in the Youth Group at church. Yeah who would have thought! I had two people put in my path that absolutely lit me on fire from that point, Both were Youth! One of our youth at church challenged me every week. Every week she would come in with a different question and she wanted an answer. Many weeks all I could tell her was, "I dont know, but I'll find out". The more she asked me, the more I learned and wanted to learn about my faith. Finally we went to a Youth Rally at Lake Junaluska and the Methodists were doing alter calls! Yeah Shocked the poo out of me too! One particular night the good pastor asked a question just before the alter call. He said turn to someone beside you and ask, "Is this the Jesus you'd like to know". Well I looked around and so many of our youth were going up and I kinda got a little teary eyed. I turned to my right and there was a little boy at the very end of the row next to the isle, completely chomping at the bit for someone to ask him. People kept walking by and I remember thinking how cool it was to see this kid right before he was going up. I turned to my left and looked at my wife.... you know just to see if she thought all this was cool too, but all she said to me was, "Are you going to ask him"? Being all knowing as I am, replied with, "ask who"? As I turned back to my right I realized this kid had covered the distance of about 14 chairs and was now about 6 inches from me looking up at me. I turned back to my wife and told her "I can't remember what I'm supposed to ask", and she kindly responded, "Ask whatever your heart tells you". Well that was it! I asked this little boy a question as closely to the correct question as I could. As I asked, He began to cry and answered YES! My Life made a Big Change!
I like to think back on that part of my story now. It's been a little over 4 years now and I've learned that some how I made it from the "Dead End" to a Detour to the Road I should've been on all along. It's awesome how the drunken prayers I prayed, the prayers when I was lost, the prayers others prayed for me got me back to where I could build on a Christian Foundation that had been poured so many years before.
Some one told me when I was young I'd be rich one day.....which I translated into millions of dollars by a certain age, but now I get it! My wife and I live on a meager income and are becoming better stewards of what God has and is giving us.
Before I end tonight I want to encourage my friends to examine where they are in their journey and if they are living in a way that satisfies their inner most ambitions. These are most likely the things God has gifted you to do and will satisfy you the most. As always I am available anytime to talk. So if you have a burning passion and you're not sure if it's right get in touch with me.
At this time I'd like to Thank my Family, my wife, my church, Shelly, and the little boy I've only seen once! Thanks for doing Gods work in leading me back to Him!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

You Still Move Me

Do any of you remember the Old Dan Seals song, You still move me? It is a song from the Country genre that was recorded in the early 80's. Sometimes there are things that you see again for the first time in quite a while, and they pull at your heart and take you back to the very first time. All the emotions are there, they are just as strong as before, and It Still Moves Us.
There is a video floating around the internet that does just that. I hope I can embed it, but if I cant..... Look it up on youtube or Godtube. It's an interpretation of "Everything" by Lifehouse. I hope you all enjoy this and I hope it brings you all to tears as you realize it's the Truth!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Where is your Ministry

With hopes of achieving a B.S. in Religious Studies with in the next few years, I've been frequently asking myself and others "Where is your Ministry". So many people have found the ministry that they are called for. I know some of you right now are backing away from the computer screen, shaking your head, and saying I'm not a preacher! That's okay, you dont have to be a preacher to have a ministry. There are so many opportunities to minister to people and more and more people are not responding to the call. Your Ministry could be as simple as buying Bibles and donating them to little churches in the mountains, to buying bags of burritos and handing them out to the homeless. Maybe you are an awesome baby sitter....maybe your ministry could be working the nursery at church or even tending a child so it's parents/parent can attend church or just get a little bit of rest. What if your ministry takes you to Vietnam or Lebanon? Maybe you feel the burdens of others and really have a knack for making them feel better in times of pain. Maybe you can really keep things organized for people, making their jobs easier. All of these things are different ministry opportunities that God as given us the gifts to do. Not everyone is gifted the same, but each ones gift makes them compatible for certain tasks.
The Bible discribes this using the Human Body. It talks about the Hand not being a Foot and the Eye not being a nose. Basically saying we all have a special gift given to us by The Spirit that makes the whole "Church" work. This all brings me back to the Question, "Where is your Ministry"? I pray that you will all explore what really pulls at your heart. I dont want you to think about what makes you the most money, but what gives you the most spiritual happiness. You know the deep down feeling that tells you, "I just did something very right"! "and I want to do it again". Then, I pray that when you find your ministry, you'll as closely as possible build your career with that ministry in mind. If you love making people feel better and want to help the a doctor.....dont do it for the money.

Father, You are the one that leads us in ways that we sometimes ignore. Please open all of our hearts and minds, so that we will know what you are telling us. Let us know what our gifts are, and the ministries that we are to use them in. Let us closely position our careers so that the two may be the same or very closely related. Thank you Father. In Jesus Name~Amen~

I read from Oswalt Chambers book, My Utmost for His Highest, after I origanally posted this blog. Here is the scripture that was the Heading of the reading I did.

"We know that all things work together for good to those who love God....." Romans 8:28
I dont believe the scripture was an accident. I think it was something I was to read for myself and to share with you!
Now go out and make the world a better place!