Saturday, November 29, 2008

god help us we are being treated fairly

ok "black friday" should not come after the greatest day in american history, besides independence day. i believe, as we observe the atrocities of consumers willing to trample on people to get "the deal" of the century, this nation has sunk into an all time low. i like deals and cherish the "free" market, if you really want to call it that, society we live in as much as the next guy. however, when i hear stories of gunmen in the parking lots, wal-mart employees getting trampled to death, and people fighting over...what was the in thing a few years ago, oh yeah "tickle me elmo," i get sick to my stomach and detest my american brethren. who can i attribute this behavior? who will take the blame? you can for some of it, i could as well, and i think anyone who desires to live in this "great" nation. but when you get a certain freedom you get certain consequences with that freedom, and i for one am always deciphering if it's the best for us as a whole. sure, kids who get what they want from their parent(s) at an early age will in fact begin to love that parent(s) more than anyone else. because they give them what they want. but then you can see as plain as the night from the day that this child will not be a "healthy" child in the sense that they will seek to follow a moral code that governs humanity, right? america has morphed into a state of anything goes consumerism. and as a result we, and i am including myself in this too, have began to believe we are entitled to something, we deserve it, we need it, we can't live without this or that. we will go to great lengths to gain, or preserve this right, or protect (through the federal documents) what we think we deserve to make it fair and balanced. does anyone see the flaw in this ideology. i HATE it! and i know people will say "well, i don't agree, but i know you have that right to say that and i will defend until the death your right to say that" and blah blah blah. do we really want what is fair? stop and think about if we are really wanting to get fair and balanced on a spiritual scale? if we REALLY got what was FAIR...that means eternal damnation right? i know it won't change cause that wouldn't be profitable. this holiday season prefer your neighbor, prefer the person behind you who has one or two items compared to your fifty and let them check our before you. there is no reason to get up at 3 in the morning to go shopping for items that will be there on the shelves next week. before you put something on the 15% interest rate credit card stop and think...can i maybe get something just as great but not as expensive. the great thing about gift cards, in my opinion, is that you can put an amount on them and it doesn't have to be the full amount but can be a great or significant percentage towards the product. i know genius, right? what about going in and paying an equal share with someone else to get the bigger item. "but zach, christmas is about giving gifts no matter how big!" please, that worldview will hurt you not just in the long run but in the first month of the new year when you gotta pay that purchase off plus interest. there really is no great or huge thing to do at this point in time to expose the charlatan america has made the holiday seasons. but in this capitalistic holiday season don't think "me" or "i" don't even think about "us" or "we" because even in that you still are preferring yourself. instead think, that person, or them, just think how can you prefer your neighbor over yourself. make it "unfair" by lifting someone else over your needs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

did i give the wrong number!?!?!?

i have the opportunity every now and then to work out of the most convenient starbucks. i loathe the collins and green oaks closing so i am forced to make another location feasible to my needs. i ventured into the lamar and collins location, mrs. laurinda dunn's establishment, and although this particular store is not necessarily in the busiest intersection i imagine since the closing of collins and green oaks it has increased in business. i tend to stay away from these stores. i hate that the drive in starbucks is the majority in my area. it is completely disadvantageous for my concentrating needs. well i pressed through anyway and studied the material i have been working on for the last few weeks concerning a model of the church that will address the needs for growth into maturity, the needs of others, and empowering the layman. i was working when the spirit quickened to me to bless an individual. i had no picture in my mind as to what specific individual, but rather i thought maybe i should buy someone lunch. i went to the chick-fil-a right across 30. as you can imagine the chicken king of the world was very intense, people in an out, things being shouted across the floor, and the lunch "rush." so i ate and moved to another location, i used to frequent, and asked the lord to show me someone to bless. i love thrift town. it is always a gold mine for clothing. i went in and saw this younger woman and her son in a cart. she was shopping and i got the direction from the lord pretty early but she wasn't done shopping and i didn't want to follow her weird would that be. but towards the end of her spree i stopped her and asked her if i could buy her clothes for her. now granted she had a basket full of clothes and i was not comfortable at all with purchasing this cart load of clothing. never the less, i began to inform her that the lord wanted to bless her today and he wanted her to get a tangible view of his blessing by allowing me to do it. she was a little hesitant, and rightfully so. i then proceeded to inform her that my family was having a dinner (shabbat) that night and i thought it would be great for her and her significant other to come and meet my family and have dinner too. i continued to calm her nerves by telling her "yes, yes, i know this sounds really weird and that this sort of thing doesn't happen in our culture" but i didn't not want to offer a back door for her to say no. i didn't want to give her the option of backing out of a continual blessing by stating "if you want," or "if your not to busy." god wanted to, not just bless her and her family but, bring her in to an understanding of a lifelong blessing. i gave her my number and showed her pictures of my son on my phone to ensure her this was not a guy hitting on a girl and wanting to go down that road. we went to the register and i proceeded to tell her about the shabbat meal and the meaning behind it. after the purchase we walked outside and i told her about grace and how she is a candidate of unmerited favor of the lord. not only did he desire to give her salvation but even more than this god wanted her to experience ON THIS EARTH his favors and benefits. she never ended up coming over but she did text me, so you her number, and she is stuck to be liz and my friend. i rushed home and told liz about it. i was so nervous during the whole process and when i told her my number, and she didn't call for a while i got a little nervous that i gave her the wrong number. i had told her she needed to let me know soon so my mom could set an extra 2 settings at the table. well she had the right number and texted me about how her boyfriend was blown away, and she had been praying for this for a while. awesome, and i feel as though there is a genuine connection there. i will post an update for the world to see the testimony of gods doing later when i get a chance. again the best encouragement i can give is stop talking about doing it and do it...then post the testimony for others to see what god has used you to do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

hey doctor maserati!

the wealthy are tough cookies to crack. there are numerous business men i desire to encourage but for some reason i get this rock heavy feeling inside every time i reach the door to their office. there is this one gentlemen i know god wants to encourage, you know those individuals who have this favorable countenance that is viewable without talking to them well this guy has that, but i think to much into his perspective on the approach. "he probably has it all" is one of my inclinations. another would be, "he may think he doesn't need god." anyways...i am gonna do it anyway. i don't wanna jeopardize the opportunity cause of my assumptions. here it goes...  

Monday, November 17, 2008

gets easier every time

in august i had entered into this little gas station that is by my parents house cause i felt compelled to go in there for a reason. it was a sunday i think, or a saturday, either way the place was bone dry. no one had come in and out for a while. this prompted me to strike a conversation up with the guy who worked there, his name is kumar. he is from nepal and we began to talk about his country and what brought him here to america, and all those little quirky little facts about nepal and stuff. i was talking with him for about 20 min before i heard the lord tell me to give him $20. i thought again, nah, this can't be the lord. but i heard it again, and felt it this time. i took it out after he was helping someone who had come into his store and explained to him that this was a special $20. i said to him, "i don't know why (i really did however) but i must give you this $20 and it is to go to something special in your life." he replied that he was going back to his country the next month and that he needed money because his job was not helping him much. i figured that it was for this trip. he was very encouraged and blessed to receive this money and asked for my name and number, which he wanted to write on the bill. i politely asked for a paper and pen because i didn't want my number and name to be on this bill which would end up in lord knows who's hands. but there was something else about this trip i was sensing and i said, "there is something about this trip that will change your life kumar." he took out his phone and opened it up to a young woman also nepalese and had explained that he was going to get married to her. i was so encouraged to know i was able to contribute to his cause. as i was walking out i turned around to him and said to him, "kumar, i believe there is a god in heaven who loves you dearly, i believe that he wants to reveal himself to you and show you his love. do you believe that?" he shook his head yes. i told him that i would be praying that jesus christ would reveal himself to him. kumar again shook his head in acknowledgement. well, that was in august and since then i have been in his store a few times, waiting for his return. the last time i went in there was a few days ago. the young man behind the register recognized me from the last few times i had visited. i didn't even need to say anything, he told me kumar would be back in the latter part of dec. i asked the guy where he was from and he replied the same country as kumar, they are roommates. as it turns out this young man, named riki, has been told all about my exchange with kumar as well. i could sense in his countenance that he is vulnerable to love and support from the living and active god of heaven and earth. i have made it my mission to spread that love and support to these two individuals. when kumar gets back i am gonna pour into his life the love of the greatest prophet, the greatest teacher, the greatest leader, and only messiah he has ever heard of until he accepts him. i will NOT take no for an answer. i don't know why i have relayed this message to you. but i guess it is to further the boldness of the individuals who read it. the greatest need that needs to be met in someone else's life can sometimes be the greatest gift you ALREADY posses to offer. fear tells you that you have nothing to offer. since this encounter i have made it a priority to encounter people in the same manner. it will never be an encounter unless you make it an encounter, which requires action. stop talking about doing it and do it. i have met some interesting people and have shared some great things with people since this revelation of meeting kumar's need. and it gets easier every time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

all that in 24 hours

random things going on:

1. dutch this morning unfortunately woke up around 6...but then as i got my pants on and was about to go get him i looked at the monitor and low and behold no flashing red lights so he had fallen back to sleep. praise the lord. then he woke up an hour later, so i got an hour extra sleep this morning. all i can say is thank you little man, thank you. got up around 7 and had to hurry cause i wanted to get him adjusted before i dropped him off at the smiths. i really had to hurry. but all got done and "the power is on" as dr. rob would say. 

2. gas was amazingly $1.90 this morning. i only had to pay $25 dollars to fill my tank. this is amazing which led me to think when the last time gas was below $2. the last time according to dallas business journal was dec. of 2005. that to me sounds too close but still that was 3 years ago. i am so glad that prices are dipping.

3. i woke up and put on my nicer, rock n roll attire and thought i will go by kacy and dragan's starbucks this morning and pay them a visit, obviously i get free coffee out of it but still seeing them is cool too. well this store is located in a part of town i don't go to very often and the coffee drinkers in there are very "fond" of men, if you catch my drift. well upon my entry into the store i didn't really think anything of it. i mean as jerry seinfeld feels, "not that there's anything wrong with that," i feel it too so it doesn't freak me out. i then realize what i am wearing...tight nicer jeans, and a snugger fit armani exchange smooth shirt. i realize my clothing alone puts me in a canidacy for "mr. right." yikes! needless to say i didn't linger there much and chat long, i left to my place of employment quicker than usual.

4. last nights get to bed routine was quick and seamless. once i got in bed i played the usual 2 or 3 games of solitaire on my phone and put it away. last night however, i got so filled with anxiety to pursue this guy at my work place named dave. i think he has family here in the city but not sure. i have been praying for him a lot and hope to go hang with him soon. but then i thought why not invite him to thanksgiving with my family and the hundreds of other families that join us? i begin to think how important it has become in my life in the last month and half or so. i realize i have changed dramatically and grown exponentially over the last 6 months. i can remember the message i was preaching with my whole heart to young people, essentially to make him number one above anything else, and out of that will come a desire to do other things in life that please him. like evangelism for example. i am not admitting to accomplishing the greatest commandment and have no more issues, but i realize that last nigh i gotta do more for others. i gotta not just DO more but CREATE more opportunities. i am not gonna meet lost people at church on sunday morning. i am not gonna meet lost people in my house. i gotta create these opportunities to meet lost people and build relationship with them. i don't feel like people will grasp the concept of god, even if i where to be able to explain it, on the first introduction. it will take many more meetings. meeting lost people is easy for me, but relating them to christ is hard. but anyway i lay awake just grieving that i haven't done enough and hope that i can effectively pave the way for a relationship with lost people. i don't know that many... sad i know. holidays are a good time of the year to include those who don't have family, or maybe even those who do but are lost, to come to your house and enjoy the holiday feasting together. even if they are atheist or agnostic they gotta eat, right? and i guarantee that they are NOT gonna go to work on the sanctioned holidays the public honors.

Monday, November 10, 2008

ain't no sunshine when she's gone

this is not my first night to spend without liz, and totally in charge of peanut, but i feel weird. i don't know how to explain it but for some strange reason this night feels like she is gone for a long time. she will return to our house on wednesday night. i miss her more than i have before on her trips to other business places. i think it it cause i realize how much she really does, maybe this is why god made woman. he looked thousands of years in advance to this one particular guy, named zach, and said, "sheesh, he is gonna need lots of help that week, i might as well create help for all MANkind!" i don't know random blabbering from my mouth, but seriously, better not find some handsome millionaire hunkerama and decide he could help you out in all the ways i can't!!! and if you do just remember that our kid is a combo meal of you and ME, so you will never be able to make another cute baby like peanut without me. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

doc, i know i'm here but i gotta go back to the future

i have been working on this church model that is designed after a few scriptures but one in particular is the one in revelation when jesus says "behold i stand at the door and knock, whoever hears my voice and opens the door i will come in to him and dine with him and he with me." this scripture to me is the classic case of meeting someone's need. the american culture is centered around the table. it doesn't take someone very long to find out how much the u.s. loves its food. the key component of this model is the fellowship aspect, or the dine aspect. when i was in belgium talking with adam mccain he had mentioned this new mcdonalds in ft. worth. he asked if we had heard of it, "it can hold 10,000 people, has 200 registers and feeds a billion people in this one location on a weekly basis." i looked at allyster and we glanced back and forth in shock that we hadn't even heard of this. "no" we replied, "we haven't." adam said "that is because it DOES NOT exist." mcdonalds doesn't try and bring in millions to one location, they spread there stores out broadly over a metroplex in order to feed the people where they are. what a concept! of course i am confident this has been tried and talked about, maybe even packaged up and sold for young pastors seeking revolution in their cities. these are all good motivations but one thing i know lacks in a lot of people is the willingness to DO anything about their motivation. i could read all the books in every christian bookstore and i still would not have made a dent in the kingdom. i would have gained insight and knowledge but is that what jesus has displayed in the word, to gain insight, and knowledge? this model i am speaking of has been in my mind for a while and the vision gets brighter and brighter. when it is in completion i will reveal it but it isn't anything new or huge outside of scripture. allyster reminded me of a scripture last night when we were at his small group in acts chapter 8 verse 3. it says saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men AND women, he would put them into prison. i am not gonna say anymore after that cause i feel i have given away too much already for this idea, which again, is not the answer to the postmodern movement, but a vision the lord has been showing me in bits and pieces. i actually wanted to talk about belgium and show pics. but i know what god is showing me now i will operate in HERE and in anywhere else in the future.

this happened the moment we made it to kris' house. i know, i know you are NOT supposed to do this, but hey, come on,  i think we needed it, because of the week we were about to endure, in retrospect.

this was the wonderful facility's front side. the belly of this beast was not as appealing as the outer garments.

got stairs? we had our plenty. thats the floor, down there five flights. it was a great workout, EVERYDAY.

our room was quaint to say the least. as americans we brought the usual, his and hers ipods and an ipod touch for our movie entertainment on the "late night no sleep occasions." but we never expected there to be any kids on our level. but there were going to be so we were told to not hide our ipods but LOCK them up in someone's car, everyday. this meant getting them out and making sure one of us was getting them locked up and brought back to the room. needless to say it was an added task i wasn't expecting.

our workshop had the most people in it by far and i was not expecting to have a workshop in the first place but was very honored to share even though i needed a translator. this is the workshop where we were sharing on worship and the power that is in worship. nathan shared after i did, and jon shared after nathan, and it was just an awesome experience to share on something i love doing.

this was our house of prayer set up. our location was called the "holy lounge" and we had the place almost completely dark with the exception of a lot of candles in front of our location, as you can barely see here. it was great though cause it was mostly ambient worship. we played a song that i had written and arranged and was glad to have that ready. this idea is really new to the belgian youth but something i hope i can help contribute in developing over the coming years. 

this was the main stage and us worshiping with the gateways team. something i was glad to do as they played mostly songs i was familiar with. not that i didn't enjoy brian or the others but it is good to know the people you are playing with. this conference went all out with lights and smoke and a bunch of stuff.

this is me with the gateways team again, i think. its blurry cause of 2 reasons, one, the lighting, and two, i am moving so dang fast. no i wasn't doing much but i do come alive in worship if i feel the moment.

this other stuff here is just the life.

Monday, November 3, 2008

the front is the best

getting back to reality hardly is anything worth getting excited about. i found myself, however, waking early on sunday morning, on purpose, excited about going to church, excited about leading worship, excited about the word, and excited about doing what the lord has deposited in me these last few weeks. doing, and stop talking about doing. all of a sudden during the service my whole mentality changed and something switched that excitement in me to disappointment. i don't know what happened i just was completely turned off for some reason after about 2 songs into the service. i can't explain it, i don't want to try to explain it in too much detail. but what i really felt was a weighted burden on myself that i had not felt in a long time. a burden i needed to escape from, or get away from. i don't know how much sense it makes. let me think how i can compare it. i can't think of a really great example but my excitement was an idea of going back into reality with momentum and the "sky was the limit" mentality and then i felt as though i watched the momentum continue on as i stayed back to allow others to catch up to me. ok, maybe this will're at some amusement park with your mates and you notice the ride everyone is eventually going to get on has almost no line for waiting. this prompts you to hurry into the line to make sure you reserve a spot early for the ride but your group seems to lag behind, talk to each other, wait and keep your attention from the opportunity that is up ahead that seems like an awesome deal. what are you to do? run ahead and risk not riding the ride with your friends? wait for your friends and then possibly risk the prime spot you would have in the cue? i don't know. i am not making any specific reference to my friends in general or necessarily about anyone i know personally. this was simply an analogy to describe my waking up on sunday morning and then the transitional feeling after 2 songs during the service. 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

merci beaucoup

ok first, klm airlines are the greatest. anytime you get a chance to fly klm, or even if you have a choice and its close in price range...go with klm. most airlines will boast little tv's in the headrests. klm not only has the tv's in the headrests but they give you a library of choices to choose from for your viewing pleasure. i have been out of the loop in the theatre in the last year and a half so, of course, every movie available i had not seen. on the way to the eastern hemisphere i should have gotten sleep seeing as belgium is 7 hours ahead of our time but...i DONT sleep on planes period. even if i take an aid i still won't sleep and will be even more groggy when i land. fortunately klm's library was stocked with movies i had not seen. flying east i saw the love guru with mike meyers followed by jumper with the chosen one, hayden christensen and last but not least vantage point with jack from lost and dennis quaid. on the way back i enjoyed poseidon, prince caspian, 21, syriana. so plenty of entertainment to keep me busy whilst every one else was sleeping. except for liz, there was about an hour or so in the middle of the flight we battled in tetris. thats right, they have games, where you can battle others on the plane. i would have thought this would be pointless and boring, however on the way back if it hadn't been for my tetris skills, the terrorists who were going to hijack the plane would have followed through with there plan if i hadn't challenged them to a winner takes all match. needless to say there was a library of tv shows to watch as well but of course they were all stupid shows like 30 rock and sex in the city, or friends. they did have one episode of flight of the conchords and the office but episodes i had seen before. anyways klm has my vote for all my overseas flights. and funny thing...they handed out these brownies that made me real loopy, strange i know, but when i ate one i got hungrier and even a bit sleepy. i asked where they were made they said a quaint little coffee bar in the downtown district. apparently this little hotspot was famous for their brownies and americanos, i had never heard of them. 

now the important issue...belgium. well if liz and i had taken peanut on this trip it would have been disastrous, in my mind. the first location in carlsbourg, where the convention was held, was not the ideal location for a 10 month old child. i am gonna refer to jon, nathan, courtney, liz, and myself as the americans from here on out. well the americans were told their beds were on the 5th floor in the "b" corridor. this was originally sounding like it would be a great place for us. we were told there wouldn't be any disturbances from the other kids and that basically we would be all the way out of the way. good, sounds great, we thought. until we had to climb the stairwell that took us to the 5th floor in corridor "b." sheesh, even the days we didn't have to carry our luggage up the stairs was the most exhausting climb for me. well, we thought, lets get settled in and things will be ok. ummmmm, not true. our heater was broke so not only were we looking forward to climbing 5 floors of stairs we would need to wear 3 layers of clothing every night to survive the cold cell. well, we thought, the stairwell is bad, the no heating situation is bad but i had liz to snuggle with and nathan had court and jon and allyster had...extra blankets, so...problem solved. NOPE. we found out later on in the night our "b" sector was not occupied by only the americans, but by belgian, french and many other teens that we had never meant nor would in the coming days. so basically it was youth camp in a tall building in the middle of the winter for us. oh well we had fun and like des's blog says, we were able to get to know each other a little more on this trip. it was really fun, because every night jon, nathan, allyster, and i got to do a house of prayer room for the convention called the holy lounge. this wasn't the name we gave it but it was similar to a coffee bar inside the house of prayer during an intimate session. it was great because this had never really been observed by so many teens before and we were able to show them and teach them, in a workshop, about worship and what it is about and what it does. it was great. we played during the conference in front of 300-400 youth and most of the songs were all in french so playing with someone whom we had never met before was challenging to say the least. i could go on and will later but i know that statistically by now you have phased out of reading and are doing something else. i will blog again about the spiritual implications and such later on.