Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oh she is, oh she is

i am married to an incredible woman. i have seen and experienced so much my interpretation is limited on this forum. i would like to share some thoughts on woman and her ability, as i have seen through my wife and not her only but the amazing women i consider friends. it is quite obvious man is different. created differently, therefore, acting differently throughout his life. likewise, he interprets things differently and responds differently. i believe that man, through his creation, can help or hinder those features of his woman that are meant to grow her into what god has intended. so then it means he has an influence in his wife's created order to help her see god the way she needs to and help her to understand how god sees her the way she needs to. undeniably his woman has formulated an opinion about many things and has established a worldview prior to their meeting and joining. the development, much like physiological development, does not stop at any certain age or occurrence. so by this i mean that despite her supposition she still is able to continue growing her current assumptions of life and likewise, change her current assumption of life. this is what i would think of when i think of god's redemptive purpose in marriage, for both parties.

with that said, let me share a thought about woman that her husband, or man, may influence but has no ability to gain through any influence of his wife. that is the idea of nourishment. i can only explain it by telling you of the amazing character and opinion of life that still remains even after her complete giving of herself in ways that man would otherwise resort to hopelessness. my recent experience looks like this:

1.) her desire for another life
this alone changes the dynamic of family in such a way that in many ways and in many unconscious opinions is not tolerable. the man thinks of the negative aspects and the struggles that come with another life involved in the already hectic and taxing existence. not that man does not desire babies or creating life, but rather, i believe he has a limited desire compared to that of his wife's. it is huge because those with children can attest on some level that the woman's desire trumps mans fear and pessimism. i don't believe man hates children and if you read this and think i am saying that, than your missing the point. i love my children and would not trade my previous environment for the current one. but i would only be able to actually say this and live this if i had my wife with me. this is what i believe is the divine nature of god working to influence my understanding of my need for my wife in ways that are not tangible or affordable by any monetary means.

2.) pregnancy
this encompasses tolerance, pain, agony, fear, and incredible discomfort. all the while, instilling hope, courage, power, and reinforcing her ability to be what god had created her to be. this gives god an incredible amount of glory and honor. this might explain, in some form, why it is so long. obviously the baby needs time to grow and develop within the womb but if god had wanted it to be created instantly than he could have done this with just one spoken word. length suggests more than just development. it possess all things needed to encourage the woman in her ability to nourish. this is why man possibly will never get nourishment the way his wife does. will he possess the capability to nourish? yes he will, but this is extremely taxing on his mental capacity.

3. the birthing
i really don't need to share to much about this aspect. childbirth is very hard on a woman's body and rightfully so. there is nothing like it for a man i can imagine. ok maybe a kidney stone passing thru but lets be honest, man has no desire for a kidney stone like a woman contains for a child to be born. what i think is so fascinating about the design of a woman is that the word says she will bare a child in pain. it is not a secret and she knows it is coming and can fully expect that every time she has a child she will experience pain. yet, for some reason, she still desires a child and after the whole process of pregnancy, childbirth, and late night feedings, she will yet forget it all in an instant at the sight of her baby. it is like her mind switches to a different mode, or she has been flashed with one of those gadgets like in that movie, men in black to erase her memory of the incredible amount of pain this little thing has put her through. it is truly amazing and can only be attributed to divine order. the word says she will experience pain and yet desire her husband. as if to suggest there is a part of her that feels a mandate to procreate and pursue her husband despite the pain it will possibly bring. phenomenal!

4.) child rearing
the late night feedings, the sore nipples, limited communication, and the tangible expenditures are just a few of the many expectations in child rearing. how a woman is able to endure and yet maintain a somewhat calm demeanor is beyond my understanding. i am not naive and i believe there is a bigger role for the husband in this part of the child's existence that contributes to the sanity of the mother. but there is obviously another level of operation that a woman can attain that is beyond my comprehension. the word talks about man's punishment in the fall dealing with the things he works towards. i mean that in his lifetime, all that he is trying to develop, there will be somewhat of a obstacle in his ability to produce. this is consistent in all things not just in provision of food, and growing crops. i have never worked a field in my life and think that there are many like me who have never even plowed a field. it is not talking about farmers but rather what man strives to obtain, in all entities. so when man wants love, he works at it and endures obstacles that may prevent his object from receiving his love and likewise from him getting love. when he wants any business to grow he works at it; late hours, money, time, and sacrifice of personal pleasure in order to find success. this has an influence in his ability to nourish his children. whereas it comes at such an incredibly natural and easy response for a woman, man struggles to nourish his kids, love his wife, and maintain all the other things that correlate with life. i think this is where a lot of men draw from when their wife suggests having another baby. they begin to think about their own personal struggles and then the struggles that are present with child rearing. this introduces a significant need a husband has for the wife, not just a woman, but a wife.

this is a recent revelation of the woman i married. i then can see it in the other women i know. i think it is so amazing how something that is important for my body, like sleep, will change my demeanor in such a drastic way if i don't get enough. for my wife, it seems, she could stay up all night with little titus and wake the next morning without a hesitation in her step. i know she would feel it. but for me, if i miss 3 hours in the middle of the night the whole world will hear about it the next day. she is truly amazing to be able to wake in an instant from a dead sleep, attend to her child's needs, and then return to bed only getting a few hours before she must wake for her daily duties. shame on me for my laziness, and shame on me for not loving her because of her character, and divine attributes. shame on me for allowing vanity and deceitful entities as charm and beauty to be the at the forefront of my ability to love my wife the way god as mandated husbands to love their wife. not that i don't think she is beautiful on the outside...oh she is, oh she is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

again, yeah

i was putting my son to bed and we were about to say our prayers and express gratitude to jesus and it hit me that this will be one of the last nights i have with my son were it will be the two of us. it will be one of the last nights i will tuck him in as my only one and brush his hair from his face and kiss his cheek. he will obviously be my son forever but i was struck with a sense of sadness and joy that i am able to have the opportunity to carry him up the stairs, put him in his jammies, grip him ferociously has he tries to scramble away from me once he has no clothes on, and stare him in the eyes as we go down the list of people he wants to bless and confess with his mouth that he loves. he is truly a piece of art from the most high god. as i leaned in to his face and kissed his cheek my facial hair brushed his neck and he began to giggle. he said to me the words i will never forget as long as i live "again, yeah!" of course i could not resist. it hits me even now with tears, as i right this, the amount of joy i find in just looking at him and thinking about how great it is to be his father knowing he is already a "man of god."

it hit me right before sleep last night. you know that feeling you get before the big day of something that is going to happen? a shot of adrenaline goes through you and you then can't let your mind rest, you know that feeling; like christmas eve, or the night before a big trip? well as i lay in bed i began to think heavily about my next son and his character, his personality, what will make him cry, and then how am i going to be able to comfort him and give him the sense of warmth and security he will need to embrace the world around him. how am i going to be able to contain myself? i am a crier and i will cry. i know it, just like when dutch came. i can't wait to wake from the most uncomfortable hospital bed/couch and walk over to his little sleeping cube and look into his eyes. those are the moments i can honestly say i reflect dutch's same enjoyment in something truly pleasurable, i will close my eyes, think of god's amazing and loving gifts and say to my spirit...again, yeah!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

(DISCONNECT)

the condition i find you in as i read and hear you as we dialogue is a condition that reflects a distorted personal view of how god sees you. this distortion of how god sees you then distorts your view of yourself, which inevitably distorts how you will see others and interpret how they see you. you have written poems and said things that echo great desire. these words bare your soul, which sounds as if it is on a search. this distorted view is then used as the map that leads you in the wrong direction to a very real destination that your soul is not really longing to see. hurt, pain, loneliness, rejection, separation, desertion, aloneness, incompletion, and contemptment are all arrows pointing to a fracture of the every day man.

where do we disconnect from each other? if you and i are the same, bearers of that same fracture of the every day man, where do we separate from each other? all of the descriptors above are found in the make up of you and me on any given day but we still differ in that you are there and i am here? what is the disconnect? we disconnect in our current perspective of how we see god and how he sees us. it is clear in your narrative that your view of how god sees you is distorted. you and i both are born with a broken way of seeing things. can you be honest and say that you see god as a protector, provider, good, loving, caring, and a giver of good things? i don't believe that you do, you know how i can tell? your description of yourself: alone, rejected by those you value, emptiness, loneliness and isolation. all of these indicate your current perspective. you truly do not feel god's empathetic concern for your incompletion and longing. scripture clearly contradicts what you are feeling and telling me right now, which tells me something else, you are not reading scripture in a way to get to know god and how he feels about you. is more scripture reading the answer? probably not. but what is the answer is a clear understanding of who god really is and how he sees you. this will help how you see you and synonymously how you see the world despite the broken lenses you contain and use as a filter for everything.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

analytical soil

thinking of many things to say about this trip. i was blown away by the magnitude of acceptance. i really have thought a lot of how europeans would accept the fact that some americans, more importantly texans, would come over to belgium and save it. well maybe not those exact words because who are we kidding here, texans aren't going to save anyone but themselves, right? i was thinking about this and it was important to me not to have any "dude with a tude" type of mentality to think i had what europe needs. i know i am not going to BRING jesus to belgium, because he is already there. i believe awareness is the key. this is, actually, what our focus was this trip. as i was returning home i was concentrating on the report brought back to the states. it means everything to our future. i want to be the spy who brings back the good report of the land about to be invaded. jeff serio said it right that it will be similar to plowing concrete but whatever analogy you want to use something is ready and needing to happen or break or whatever. so allow me to be one of the spies who brings the report of the harvest in europe.

1. it's ready
while ministering in the conference the team and i were able to pretty much prophecy over everyone in our workshops. even with a dismissal (the workshop was technically over) the young minds and hearts were there and still engaged. this tells me something. one of the many observations made was of the young person who wanted to cry, sing out, laugh, or pray, but was noticeably judging the effect of such an action. it makes me wonder if there has been a legitimate scolding from spiritual authority or if this is just the natural occurrence of a generation who has not been feeding their soul it's "proper" nourishment. it's hard to admit this for me, seeing as i like to find the root issue in dysfunction, but it doesn't matter. and i think the adversary would enjoy those investing their time in the harvest of europe to run in circles trying to find out which came first the chicken or the egg! but the truth is that work is needed, and laborers are few. where are the laborers in the land now? they are there. or the one's that made the first wave are there still but are strangely aimless. i am not sure why, and i am definitely not judging their work. they laid a seed bed that will be harvested by future harvesters. maybe that is ninth hour, maybe that is you, maybe that is someone in the future, i am not certain at this point. there is a remnant and the desire is there, or the desire to blossom and bring to fruition is there and the harvest is unable to continue in its growth because like a rose pedal it must be cut and pruned in order to grow again in greater proportion. that is how i view the current state in europe or more specifically belgium.

2. it's cancerous
as insensitive as that word may be it provides the shocking idea of the flow of these small cells i would like to refer to as the remaining remnant. even within the conference, i noticed the cancerous possibility of a group of young people who could mobilize their efforts to gain divine momentum. make no mistake, there are those in europe who are hungry and are praying. possibly what they have been praying and seeking god for is what ninth hour comes to bring. it would be very arrogant for me to really say that, but to believe it in my heart and mind is another story. i was approached by a few, who had heard, that there was a house of prayer being started in brussels and they had expressed much interest in helping and being apart. these individuals were not just teenagers but young and old alike. talk about exciting! i see it starting as awkward 2 hour intimate prayer and worship meetings with individuals who are only linked by a common desire to see god move in belgium. growing from this, i envision individual experiences that are hardly containable to our little prayer gathering.

3. it's undefinable
i mean this in the strictest sense that there is a deep, deep drive to pursue the harvest, yet all strategies remain divinely appointed. while we had meetings with key figures the common question was "how are you going to do this?" i wonder if others who have since left and been successful have been able to mark key strategies and define it as absolute. i wouldn't think anyone would have the guts to say, if successful, that they are were they are because they had some great ideas or it was because of them. i hope my point is getting across. ninth hour's hunger is there. i hunger for what i am unable to see at this point in belgium and beyond but i am sure for anything to happen it must start with "no-bodies" and end just the same. i think this particular "undefinable" characteristic is synonymous with the generations represented. this is what is so amazing about how god has moved so richly for the generations at our church and this deep seeded passion has not left those members of ninth hour. nathan received a word from the lord on the way to belgium concerning this generational involvement. it was concerning what joel had said about the old men dreaming dreams and the young men with vision. i am paraphrasing but it went like this...the old men dream dreams, and without the old men dreaming those dreams the young men CANNOT carry vision, and our purpose is to provide service and vision to those in the land of belgium who have longed and dreamed for revolution, we will lose the vision if we don't serve the older generation's dreams. it was great because our meetings all contained men AND women who are well established in their faith in god and are so ready for this to happen and are so ready to support us as we come to serve those things they have had on their hearts for a very long time. i believe ultimately god desires and WILL appoint those who are not in it to make an impression for their name. you can try and build huge crusades and monumental conferences while getting amazing speakers but i don't think that is for belgium. a contrite and humble heart is a better approach.

i am not desiring to make a model and dissect it to gain a marketing tool for success. most, if not everything, will happen i believe as suddenly as "a sound like a rushing wind" passing through our midst. change will happen, change will occur and if i am to be the one to help push this along then great (however, my heart is anxious to do so) but if not then lord may it come and may it come quickly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

cj 2009

my desires were simple...make an impact that will not part at the doors but be a plant that produces fruit. i hope, in my thinking and understanding, that this fruit would be manifested and ready quickly. realistically, or ideally, when a plant has been surrounded by weeds for so long and the choking of truth has been so prevalent, the labor is intense. i'm determined, however, and my heart had quickly gained a burden it needed to release within the few days we (nathan, jon v., al) had been able to minister at this gathering of young people. the set up of all the equipment was no less important in our desire to touch this generation and grab a hold of them. one major drawback was that our wives were not present with us this year and all three of them have a keen eye for decor. i really missed my wife liz on this trip and knew as i lay in bed praying for her every night that she was not meant to minister in another environment than i. i always knew this but oh, how the mind needs constant reminders of the wonders of god's direction through small little gaps in the every day flow of things.

my anticipation was that i would meet many on their level, at their experiences with life at the cj. i was hoping that every single young person would gain a life changing experience. my teaching reflected this hope.

day 1:
nathan and our good friend matt lankenau, from the ei in berlin taught in the workshop. their teachings focused on an awakened heart. i knew this is exactly what god was speaking to me as well as stirring it in me before i set foot on the land. in my perspective, being awakened, or not being awakened, is not a sin. however, there is a natural consequence to not having a focus on god's heart and what the spirit is saying...because it constantly is, or doing...because it constantly is. i think the natural inclination is that of satisfaction of our soul's longing. we, as a generation and culture, are neck deep and saturated in alternative cures and fulfillments. because of our saturation a change from the inside out is required. we couldn't, even in our own strength combat the principalities and darkness in the first place without the same spirit that was present in jesus and raised him from the dead.

day 2:
al and i spoke and my key point was a change that educated us to drink from the living well of god's unchanging love so that our purpose, identity, and joy will be able to respond well, whether our life's circumstances are going great or not. before i spoke, the day earlier, i had struck up a conversation with a young teen (16/17) about where she was from and what she wanted to get from the conference. we began discussing the gospel and i asked her how many of her friends serve jesus as she does. she could not name one. shocking yet real. i noticed a problem with her legs as she came in and sat down. this issue forces her to walk with crutches to brace herself. i asked her if anyone has prayed over her, and when the last time she prayed over herself. she answered back that it has been years. she couldn't even remember. she told me that she had surgery on her legs and that the doctors messed up and it resulted in this lifelong trauma. needless to say i was crushed. i had no idea what to say or ask, so i said, "why do you think god has not healed you yet?" she responded, "i don't have enough faith." i was heartbroken and knew that the enemy had fed her this lie to distract her from god's undivided love for her. i told her that was a lie and that god wanted her healed. i encouraged her that even though we may not see change on the outside, god most definitely is doing something, it just may be on the inside. she teared up and then confessed to bitterness and anger at the doctors. she also confessed to unforgiveness and bitterness towards god for not doing anything about it. i know god is far my concerned with the condition of her heart, but how do you reveal that to someone in such a condition without coming off as insensitive? this is the condition of millions of young people alike, across europe. individuals who are harboring a cold, bitter, and unforgiving heart, who are far more satisfied with the "slavery in egypt" than the "liberation of the cross" through sanctification in the promised land. meanwhile, i knew god was doing something on the inside of her as we had the whole team and those in our workshop lay hands on her and pray. the next day at the night service, her countenance was far greater. i walked up to her on the front row before the service began and could tell immediately by the divine joy, represented by a smile bigger than the theory of relativity, that god was doing his work in her heart. i asked her how she felt in her legs, she had almost completely forgotten about her physical ailment. her issues with her legs were not a hindrance in her worship to her god. he will bring glory to his name through the healing in her heart, and the healing in her legs. praise god for his transformation that is not limited to, or manifested only in physical healing. this was confirmation of the word god had given me in our workshop teachings about god's interest in being the satisfaction of our soul's craving. make no mistake, our soul longs and craves. without an understanding of what or why our soul's long and that the fulfillment is only in their creator our souls will continue to ache and we will search for gratification. sadly, we choose to quench the craving by focusing or honing in on seasonal gratification that lasts only a little while. the living water of christ is such that it provides refreshment and satisfaction for the longing of the soul, for a lifetime.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

siloam towers

as i dive into the call to repent (luke 13) i am struck with the idea that circumstances are not but consequences (good or bad) of the actions of humanity influencing the world in which we ALL live.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

humans and go(o)d things

i have taken in some opinions and i am trying to process them out in a concise manner that is consistent with what i think the bible is teaching its readers. on one hand i hear the argument, when something goes wrong, "your faith should not be determined by your circumstances." has anyone heard this? i have my whole life. a close relative that dies, a spouse who finds love in another's arms, an accident that proves to be life-altering, these all are followed by some form of a christian approach of counsel for the victim of said tragedies to not put their faith in god based on their circumstances. i believe this idea to my core; stand firm to apply it in my trials and tribulations. however, for the sake of thought, i have heard an idea from an individual who wondered about when things go right. when things are all going great, or an amazing incident takes place in your favor is it not appropriate to state or hold to the same belief that your faith should not change with your circumstances? does it make god or prove him to be more faithful if things go your way?

i think i could make the case for an exception to the rule in the event that things work towards your favor.

god is good alone - luke 18:19
god causes things to work for good - romans 8:28
every good thing is from heaven - james 1:7

these are some of the scriptures that would reinforce the notion that you could make an exception, for god's doing, to declare that faith could be determined by circumstances. but the only problem is dealing with creation. we are not individuals who are able to hold onto absolutes reasonably. i had mentioned the case with homosexuality in one of the previous posts and the still remaining controversy with many, who are very well educated, as to what is the determinant of homosexuality? genetic or choice? an absolute in this scenario is never going to be found. why? humans are the researchers; humans are the validators. how about the notion that god doesn't reveal everything about your life to you. not so he can withhold but rather so he can protect you from yourself (the end result is proven to be very valuable). i would like to think that even in the midst of a great bonus at work, and on the other hand losing a very desired position or job would not allow your faith to fluctuate in the least. paul says it very well in 2 timothy 2:13, that even if we are faithless, he (god) remains faithful. why? he (god) cannot deny himself. eternally sound, eternally right, eternally good, and eternally faithful without wavering; god is and was the only absolute to stand on. regardless of the circumstances that may or may not have occurred because of the fallen world and our sinful nature.

quite possibly god uses inconsistencies to rouse a curiosity. only to later reveal himself as creator of truth. when we cease to search, and we retain our unmitigated view we don't adopt an unconditional love/regard as divine as our maker's. what happens in its stead is a spirit of pride which stunts the growth of our understanding giving birth to idolatry. for example, as a result, we witness a great deal of discrimination towards individuals who are up to their necks in perversion and become the object of disgust instead of objects of unconditional love. all due to those who hold to the absolute. "learning to distinguish when ideas are actually incompatible versus when they are only incompatible in appearance but possibly harmonious at a deeper level is a difficult but essential reasoning skill for the christian thinker" (psychology and christianity, 257).

humans have a way of pressing their opinion or perspective. my dad's way is usually on a saturday morning family breakfast, or a simple text message in the middle of a work day. like today, for example, he texted me that i have a great deal of baseball cards in his attic that could be put on ebay for sale. when you find yourself alone with my papa he will most likely throw a curve ball of a revelation he got during a quiet time in his week. i am no different. this blog proves to be a sufficient medium for me. the recent quandary has led to my thinking of how we, as a church, present faith and its affects. i believe humans like revealing good things that have happened to gain approval or applause from their audience. believe me when something amazing happens liz is the first to know how good it makes me feel. can this be dangerous though? especially when it involves faith. x and y happened it makes me feel good, it must have been from god, right? or, a and b happened it makes me feel miserable it must not have been from god, right? (the idea that only bad came from god and good came from our doing can also appropriately be placed inside our thinking) or better yet, neither had anything to do with god in any shape or form. must we, as a church be careful in how we present ourselves to others when we experience something life changing? only because we, as people, tend to not remain faithful. a misunderstanding of how faith was involved in the circumstance, or a bad communication on how faith was influencing the circumstance could very well determine one's idea or perception of the level of faith based on the circumstance. "if i would have had enough faith" a and b would not have happened; "because i had enough faith" x and y happened. this is horrifically inconsistent with scripture. as paul states in philippians 4:11, "...for i have learned to be content in whatever circumstances i am." the amplified bible further states in the same passage, (phil. 4:12) "i have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation...having sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want." when things are rough and we share with others (the church) things are rough, it should get people to feel the same feeling. whatever feeling you get when things are rough. denying that feeling is not a good practice for a community who articulates their desire to create an atmosphere of warmth and honesty. likewise, when one feels the need to celebrate let us (the church) all share in the feeling of excitement and express however one may feel when they are excited. let us present our faith in a way that it doesn't change with our circumstance but that our faith changes our circumstance. after all, we find ourselves in troubled situations most likely due, although not entirely, to decisions we wish we could have back so to make the better choice. i am pretty sure anyone who preaches that god is around to keep you from bad things and only let you have good things is an individual who has never read the bible. at least the one i read (nas). does this change god's demeanor? no, he is good, and everything he gives is for his glory and our good to in return give him glory. ultimately we all contain idolatrous behavior. this behavior manifests itself in many forms and at many different times. the test is when you find something going right and somehow god is not given credit for it. however, when things fail miserably god is the receiver of our frustration and blame.

in conclusion we (humanity) cannot handle absolutes, as i have pointed out above. faith is done a severe injustice when it is placed inside a category of human certainty.

the woman who touches the fringe of jesus' garment was healed as jesus so gladly and willingly desired in luke 8:48.

"daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace."

the garment would not have been touched if she didn't have the faith. would she have pressed into the crowded group and been healed if she contained only hope? maybe. but in my experience hope doesn't get you past the door to go and meet with jesus and fight or press against the crowds. hope certainly does not give you an assurance that jesus is even your mediator who is able to make possible what has been for so long impossible. faith, on the other hand, is not only hope but an assurance of what you hoped to happen coming about. by this we change your circumstance regardless of its improbability. where did the woman gain this type of faith? it was not her who saved her but rather the healing power of god, right? it was not her who said "if only i could touch," as if she had the ability to set forth in motion such a healing. if you read in luke what had taken place prior to him coming into the town you might find how she gained such a faith. jesus, healing the man with a demon in the graveyard, set in motion her faith over hope. the faith came from an act of god therefore giving her confirmation of this wonderful jesus. so god, instituted it and god, ordained this faith in this woman which is how he will gain glory from anything or anyone in every circumstance. praise god that we are not meant to muster enough faith to see salvation, progressive sanctification, or even his glorious presence displayed on this earth. but, these no doubt help in our belief and our faith, right? maybe this happens to give you and give me an assurance that no matter who challenges the bible's legitimacy and text...god is faithful, true and just in all he does. that is where my faith shall rest, in his goodness, in his justice, and in his unwavering truth.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

metasystemic

i am growing in experience in the therapeutic chair. i am NOT an expert and probably will never be an expert...i said probably (if you know me then you know there is still a great chance i think i will one day be an expert). but over the last few months i have desired to develop an approach that is consistent with scripture in the counseling room. despite what you (critics) think about one's approach to counseling, i have concluded that the mind that explores intelligence is a mind that gives glory to god in the highest form. i have made it important to my worldview to include, without sounding as new-agy as possible, the flow of body, mind, and soul as agents for the glorification of god's name. and so we are clear, i am talking about the god who is triunal in his nature and contains jesus as his son form. those who wish to lecture or initiate their ideology on life and exclude components, or dismiss them as non-essential to giving glory to god are further proof of the hypocrite they so quickly judge. so, in saying that, there is not one element of the three that is or should be less disciplined. they are all important for instruction, discipline, and reproof. the approaches i am aware of at this time are those that all share the same aim...giving god his glory. but the initial instruction on how to give god that said glory is where the approaches differ.

the levels model seems, in criticism, to place science at an ungodly level over the bible. however, the revelations of empirical research reveal a great deal of information that we simply do not receive from the bible. example, homosexuality and its nature. is it a genetic disposition or is it a choice, has always been the conundrum surrounding even the most faithful of the faith-filled.

the next one is a christian counseling point of view. this basically sees what modern psychology has done and says "yeah we know there is something there and so we should write a model that reflects christianity." meanwhile disputing all the humanistic foundations for modern psychology by revealing the writings of augustine, calvin, and those whom have been believers and cared for the soul long before freud and jung were around.

the integrations model is the approach that brings science and the bible together. it's basic premise is that science further reveals the truth and nature of the all powerful god. it is probably the most common method or approach used today in the faith based counseling circles.

the last one i am aware of at this point is the biblical based counseling method. most of which i find in my worldview comes from this approach. god's word uncovers the root of all issues that plague mankind on this earth. one of the criticisms of this method is that a great deal of these counselors are very neglectful of education outside the bible. they do not hold to the fact that you can create a counseling model that resembles a christian counseling approach that only reflects what humanists are saying with christian lingo. some may be familiar to the model known as nouthetic counseling developed by jay adams. this is the group described by those inside the biblical counseling model.

all that to say i am working towards a model that would find its text to be relevant to those who go to church every sunday, every day, or those who hate the church with a great passion. it is a great struggle to interpret to those individuals who do not grasp the bible, nor want to, the truth of their creator without using words from a bible. hopefully i will be able to write it out clearly on this medium once it is finalized. right now i am calling it word-action-faith model. again using language that communicates truth without using words from the bible is my biggest hurdle. but as tony romo once said "if this is the worst thing that will happen...i am doing ok."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(DISCONNECT)

a mother who is faced with the challenges of raising two girls, who are not even in her presence continuously to even make a difference, finds herself in a competition with their father...for their (girls) affection. divorced and desiring companionship she seeks comfort in the arms of a different man in her current setting. the desire to lean on someone has divided her attention, leaving an empty tank of emotion and affection for her growing offspring. her eldest, 12, is facing the brutal reality of true sacrificial love at such an early age. she is taking in every bit of the sacrifice her mother is NOT willing to make. she applies this to every relationship and regurgitates the need consistently, based on what she has been exposed to already. her future and her understanding of true love all hinges on how she will walk through the next few years of absorption. the younger daughter, 10, seems to passively take in and grasp unwittingly what marriage means to her. she WILL manifest her understanding of sacrificial love later in life. however, i fear the consequences of her previous 2 years of experience will have a profound effect on what is deemed healthy and what is deemed unheathly, as she may not fully retain an idea of health. she is better suited to be salvaged at this point. more so than her sister. unchecked, however, and she will find her experiences and responses quite similar to her elder sister's, which are very unpleasant. the eldest is either afraid, deeply hurt, or frustrated, and yet maybe all of the above. this contributes a great deal to her inability to show affection for her younger sister. instead anger, bitterness, frustration, all make a comfortable home inside her heart. this does, inevitably, reveal more than i would bet she originally was willing to communicate.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

kc and the shady grove band

i was able to spend this past weekend with some good friends in kansas city. it began as an invitation from allyster taubeneck and grew to a list of many. as one might expect that list slimmed down as time grew nearer to the departure. i won't blame any one thing for this sudden change in members of the road trip that would have been heard around the world. so never the less austin, daniel svoboda, allyster, and i trekked north on what should have been an 8 hr ride.

the trips calculated total cost had been set by the core leadership team which was allyster and steven parra. this was set at $120 per person. this price would include all expenditures acquired whilst on the road. well, we were blessed to have the johnson's (brian & wendy) open their home to us. this dropped the price tremendously. we then had the issue of vehicle. none of the members had really wanted to take their own car because of many reasons. thankfully, hannah baker willingly allowed us to take her car cutting our expenditures for a rental car. thank you hannah and austin for not allowing her to talk you out of it.

the trip began on friday morning. allyster was originally supposed to travel with us but had a family engagement, that was priority, so he was out for the ride to kc, but was able to endure it back. steven parra was originally supposed to ride with us to kc but had to work so he opted to fly later on friday and meet us there.

apparently dallas to kc is an 8 hr drive...no one really told us that, and if they had we still wouldn't have cared. it took us a stunning 10 hours...no let me rephrase that we wanted to go at whatever rate we wanted so it lasted 10 hours. stops were limited, i think. i really don't know how many times we stopped but it honestly wasn't that many and we drove nearly 80 the whole way.

we planned on attending and observing some of the activity of the kc ihop and of course the city. all of which was phenomenal and i really think i could live in kansas city...on the missouri side of course. the whole scene of the ihop is pretty interesting to say the least. there are nearly 500 people on staff and the 24/7 prayer room is a blog on its own. but some of my observations from the weekend are what i will post in this blog.

i am a guy who loves seclusion when i study. just ask my wife who ends up watching our kid for the day when i need to do some studying. i also get distracted easily and this technological society that permeates ever state in our union is not making it any easier on me to accomplish deep thought. the ihop is not a contributing factor to my ability to be intimate with jesus. now, i bet if i were in that environment for months on end eventually i would adjust. however, to accomplish this feat over a weekend is insurmountable. there is movement constantly in the facilities. people are constantly moving to and fro and it is very noticeable. the lights are on all the time because i assume many are reading and writing. in addition to movement, there are musicians who are singing songs all the time. this means words that i want to hear and pay attention to. when i am reading a deep passage or am contemplating a deep though it is very hard to process what i am thinking along with what i am hearing. so for me, the house of prayer model in kansas city would not be very conducive to receiving a word from the lord in the manner i find to be effective. the corporate settings are great and wonderful, but are also prone to have many people moving and walking aimlessly around. but i love the people, they are all nice and warm. that, i guess, is the feeling of a community that is constantly and genuinely seeking a god who is passionate for his people.

i truly believe there is a place and time to spend privately with god and receive and be refreshed by him. i also think that part of the mandate is to go out, or reach the community on some level that reveals a god who is just as passionate for those who are NOT apart of a community. others might call this missions. i didn't spend enough time dialoguing with the young man, but an individual named adam joined us momentarily on our travels. he is a guy who has served directly under mike bickle for some time. we had enjoyed a delicious bbq meal and he indulged me in some of the vision of ihop. one of the things i wasn't convinced of was the pressing mission of the gospel to pagans. i didn't get the idea that ihop had a mandate to minister to the local poor. again, however, i spent one weekend in kc so my immediate perception is that they don't have a strategic reach to those whom jesus had talked about in luke 4:18-19 when he was quoting isaiah. this has been the critique on most house of prayer models. what i did like about how adam put it was that the body has different functioning parts. i guess for me, i long to be arms AND legs AND mouth AND ears. maybe that is more of a deficit in my life than anything else. to me it is one thing to speak, preach, and sing about it, and another to actually administer it. i guess the issue is what have you made number one in your life over christ.

i hate to view the stats on young adults ages 18-29 activity in the local church. it saddens me to hear of so many who are serving strongly in their teens to fall off the face of the earth in their post high school years. the ihop does not lack a healthy young adult population. they are certainly grabbing a hold of individuals and instilling in them something i couldn't explain. i am jealous for this, and i wish my own church had this capability. not that i am thinking ihop is better. i think the statistic adam gave me on demographics revealed that nearly 25% of the ihop population was 65 years or older. this is still a big number considering the activity that goes on in the services. another individual i talked to, rebecca, told me that there are certain programs and teachings they have for said generation. i, personally enjoy an older generations involvement in the church community and feel there is a need for them. i do also think that older individuals have a legitimate fear that they will not be valued if a younger generation happens to grow in number. i am still trying to process which is the lesser of two evils. let me explain. on one hand you need the older generation because of their wisdom and experience. a great deal of understanding comes from the grey hair ; ). but on the other hand i foresee a stronger role of dominance. i believe to some extent there will be less of a release of expression for a vibrant younger generation to pursue vision. naturally, when one approaches later stages in life there is a normal reflection of the past and whether or not things were done right or wrong. this is not limited to a biblical worldview. it will, in turn, most definitely influence leadership style, which means a less risky and more conservative way of finding answers and getting things done. the ihop seems to be a little freer and not as direct. they seem to throw out agenda's and worship leaders are then leaders of the congregation and not limited to talented individuals with an instrument who only sing songs. i don't think this approach is very attractive to the older generation. structure, order, an idea of where things are going is the preferred approach i have picked up on when observing the older generation service styles. are either of them wrong? i don't know. i do know what i like and dislike. i can definitely see how young people would really thrive in the environment and temperature that mike bickle and other leadership has set for that church. i do think some of the individuals are escaping something that is unhealthy and retards their spiritual growth or maturation.

overall the city was magnificent. i had the best company and the best experience i could of had for the amount of time to get it.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

divorce the post-modern movement

"what one generation tolerates the next one will embrace." this is such a reality amongst us, inside and outside the church. the post-modern movement gives no appreciation to the modern movement that preceded it. because there is no appreciation, and only a desire for difference, my generation will reap the consequences of the full embrace of no structure and compromised principles. instead, most influential in the church today is a new concept of grace and a new doctrine of god's love. we have grown very intelligent in our construction of new bibles, theologies, and have so cleverly redefined jesus to fit our comfortability. this is the picture of the church in our post-modernistic culture.

this filth has infiltrated our person. this filth has infiltrated our governments. this filth has infiltrated our relationships. this filth has infiltrated our churches, and sadly, it has even infiltrated our homes. polluting everything that has a possibility of life. this pervasive mindset does not seek and destroy instantaneously but rather in a slow drawn out function it will drain the life of it's host. this mindset, at its root, is labeled...idolatry.

i attribute idolatry to pride. and the earliest example i have to offer is that of eve in the garden. when satan tempts her she is tempted only by the wisdom in which this "new way" has to offer. something different than the order god had in mind, something god had warned them about. this fracture has made a home in each and every heart of every man/woman that has walked the face of this earth. even in our most infant state there is evidence of this in humans. man has, and always will, seek to be the center of existence. consciously, or subconsciously, it makes no difference.

i have been asked, by a long time friend, to give my perspective on divorce. i would like to claim the title of one who holds dearly to the teaching's of christ and guidance of the holy spirit for the revelation of truth. so in saying that, my opinion is grounded on what i believe the truth of the scripture unfolds. because i have only been married for 5 years, or having never actually walked through a divorce, nor experiencing a traumatic event in my marriage does not disqualify the education i have received nor the insight i have gained through studying scripture and listening to what the holy spirit has said concerning this sensitive issue for many.

divorce...is wrong on all fronts.

"yes, but zach, my husband/wife cheated,"
"zach, you don't understand, my husband abused me physically and emotionally, it was not safe for me to be in that environment any longer."
i agree there are some cases in which one could make for a marriage to be labeled as unhealthy. i certainly do not advocate that one place themselves in harms way and tolerate it. but the simple truth of the word of god is that it has not been an option god has ordained from beginning. out of the hardness of OUR hearts it has been made permissible. permissible by whom? scripture says that it has been permissible by moses, or in other words...man. what god has joined together let NO MAN tear apart.

on many aspects i believe we like to see how close we can get to the fire without getting burned. what i mean by this is that we concentrate on the boundaries to NOT cross, and focus our entire lives on hoping, praying, trying with all our might to not cross those specific boundaries into dysfunction. this is the wrong focal point. instead, the focus needs to be on the health and functional entities that make a marriage work. because truth be told, when those little things, notes, flowers, surprises, etc, and other subtleties cease to spring forth, for whatever reason, the deterioration of the marriage commences. no one wakes up one day and decides to not be married to their spouse. that just doesn't happen. it is a process of falling away, just like the process of walking into relationship occurred. the lack of pursuit of deeper intimacy will inevitably produce the most shallow pool of intimacy and consequently drain whatever is left to nothing.

2 cor 6:14-16

there should be no partnership between lawlessness and righteousness
1. righteousness fulfills the claims of god's authority in our lives
-those who submit know what their authority looks like, and what it doesn't look like
2. one knows he is righteous because he is walking under submission to gods authority
3. christ conquered what we could not, therefore making us what we could not...righteous
4. you WILL submit to someone...god or yourself (see the first 3 paragraphs above)

there will be no fellowship with light and darkness
1. god's light, like the sun, is never quenched and always is revealing
2. darkness will always be a sanctuary for secrets and hiding things...anything

there will be no harmony with a believer and an unbeliever
1. christ had an influence of not just physical healing but mental healing and answers to life's toughest questions (luke 6:18)
2. people who walk in unbelief will influence others to be unbelievers; those who walk in faith, hope, and love will also influence as such

what agreement has the temple of god with the temple of idols
1. temple being the habitation of god and his ability to influence
2. don't compromise with attributes to god
-worship can be an idol
-missions can be an idol
-preachers can be idols

this is what i would encourage most to look at before they engage in any relationship that could go to THAT level. you know what level i am talking about. also remember that just because you go to the same church, hang with the same friends, and are friends on facebook does not mean you are EQUALLY yoked.

i like that the picture we are given in eph. 5.

christ=husband
church=wife

in this context think of all the times that christ has asked you to follow him, do this, listen for that, walk here, don't do that, or submit to him/her...and you DIDN'T. did christ ever divorce you as his wife? did he say was going to have to think about it? i will let you answer that one in your head. how many countless times have we abused our husband and lord? how many times have we cheated on him and prostituted ourselves for another pleasure? you can leave a comment if you can accurately account. our post-modern philosophy, which we all have adopted to some extent into our belief system, tells us we not only should be happy all the time, but we DESERVE happiness all the time. and anything that is contrary to this is false reality. so instead of individuals saying, "i need to work on this marriage, because of the person i want to become," we are saying "this marriage can't be what god wants for me because i am not really happy in this marriage and god doesn't want me to be unhappy, i should get out." god never intended for divorce to be because by his very nature he is a giver, not a remover. divorce removes us from the possibility of real, genuine love to grow and mature us.

i have more in thought as to how the family would be healthy if the man would just be what he is supposed to be, but, because of length, i am going to stop here. i hate reading blogs all day. this may be one of those. comment if you like. i have more thoughts but should hold them...for now.

oh you seemingly secular truth

i love the odwalla brand drinks wording on their bottles. on the most recent drink i read that the vitamin c will help, now watch this, a healthy immune system. not one that is lacking but rather one that is already in a healthy stature. this is extremely profound. i, most often, find my desperation of need when something is most definitely wrong but at that very moment, vitamin c is not much help. it is benefit to those immune system's that are already functioning effectively. so i guess the moral is...don't wait til something is wrong, boost when you aren't in need.

just a little observation.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

what's in it for you

cracks in the foundation are meant to be revealing symptoms that expose for the sake of change, not to create a path to run from it. many individuals never get the full flavored taste of life that jesus died for and most of us opt out in order to manage our behavior and image rather than expose our hearts. if you don't long to be completely known and completely accepted, then you aren't ready for life as god intended. being sick and tired of being sick and tired will, most likely, be your only motivation for changing...nothing else will be revealing enough.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

follow the dry bed

god has a way of making us aware in the desert place. because, i believe the desert place to be an environment in which we have no control of the outcome. you want god to show you, or tell you what he is going to do? i think if you knew every intricate detail of your glorious calling the praise that god deserves would not be directed towards him. it would be easy to proclaim yourself as worthy of that praise. that is why i enjoy the word of god coming to individuals in the desert. when they have nothing, can say nothing, and can boast about nothing they have accomplished.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ahead of time

human nature is incapable of liberty...no honest equality can be preserved in society, and such forcible causes are always at work as must reduce all men to a submission...

john adams

Friday, August 7, 2009

spirits into the minds

the last two nights my son has been coming down with a fever of nearly 100 degrees. when i came home on tuesday from counseling sessions he was laying in my bed with liz watching classic casper cartoons on hula. it was truly a cute scene. then i realized something...i was NEVER allowed to watch casper the friendly ghost cartoons. so i seriously laid there watching it with them for about 10-12 minutes when i had to go do something else. 20 minutes ago we finished another 2 episodes, which are only about 10 minutes long each. he doesn't have a fever tonight he just crawled up into our bed and laid down and said "dd." thats how he tells us he wants to watch a dvd or anything that is broadcast on the computer.

i thought of 2 perspectives one might have on children's cartoons, of this context, that portray controversial figures as viewing pleasure for children. there is the ever so popular idea that, no offense mom, i believe my parents had, which is, "these are inviting spirits into the minds of children who will one day practice such witchcraft or not know how to deal with it." my mom never said those exact words but i am sure she thought it...am i right lolly? the other perspective is the extremely childish exhibition that said cartoons display. maybe showing these in such a light sheds a greater amount of revelation on how foolish it is to be afraid of ghosts and so called underworld characters. i know that, as of now, dutch has no real ability to decipher what is real from fake. so dreams are in so many words more real than he can imagine. as of late i am believing how much he can take in. but honestly, watching these cartoons gives me more of an impression of how foolish it might be to be afraid. quite frankly it boosts my confidence to another level in the spiritual authority i carry over said creatures. i know this all is in the context of a biblical worldview and an understanding of the power of the cross...i guess i have pinpointed my audience on this post, have i not? fear not little children for the lord thy god is with thee. i was never allowed to watch shows with any type of magic or mystical plot lines. i am not bitter, just opinionated.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

what we consider a must

this cleanse has inspired me to think about the reason behind doing cleanses in the first place. yeah, i guess to, obviously, clean the colon, maybe to lose weight, rid the body of toxins and these are all important and very good things. i would say i am doing it to rid my body of toxins, and clean my colon. i have thought even more to what it may actually be doing to my system. up til recently i didn't even know how many different types foods that contain protein. i say this because last week i was doing only fruits and vegetables and a young man, who shall remain nameless, said to me that i wasn't getting enough protein the way i was eating. i then read about all the different things that contain protein which are nothing but fruits and vegetables, thus proving that i am not only getting protein i am getting more than if i were to eat my normal diet. this prompted me to think more and more about cleanses, fasts, and diets.

in isaiah 58 there is a good description of what i like to call a fast like no other and this describes for me the revelation of deprivation. a fast is deprivation of considered needs. but look at what we, in the modern era, have considered needs we choose to fast. things like tv, radio, internet, certain foods, certain pleasures, and anything that can fall into the category we deem as a must. then i ask myself, why would i even fast? what is the purpose? the bible spells something out and i believe in our interpretation we find our reason to fast that will line up with scripture.

lets talk about what we consider a must.

media
i have deprived myself of indulging entertainment on tv, internet, or media, if you will. i believe if you were to NOT watch tv for a month you would find enlightenment in your life. you would be able to look back on that time and see where you truly excelled in thought and intellect, even apart from prayer and bible study. things seem coherent, and introspection was great, and even enjoyable. the same can be said for internet, and for radio. now, is tv or media evil? of course not, i am only able to communicate on this forum because of the internet. however, is the majority of media used for the advantage or advancement of our souls? more than likely not. what i am getting at is that media is not something that is detrimental for our well being. if you woke up tomorrow and media wasn't there it would create chaos, but only for a short time period. we would all learn to adapt.

food
i could go on and on about food. this is what i find myself pulling from when i want to fast. i can go this amount of time without this, or that much time without that. how about this one, i will only eat this for this time period. i don't think anyone i know has a problem with gluttony or any eating disorders. however, i question what some individuals might actually be able to give up or admit that really is something they feel they cannot go without. many see a delicious meal, or particular food item and immediately their mind is drawn to how it tastes, and how it makes them feel after they taste it. i know, cause i do it too. even though i am teetering on the idea of giving up red meat, the moment i boldly claim so is the moment i want it all the more. this rings true for more of us than you think. even though i want to give it up, i know how good and juicy a piece of fajita beef from mariano's is. it then becomes a mind issue. you want it because your mind wants it and is telling you to want it. you think you need it cause your mind has enjoyed it for so long and it is telling you there is no way to live without it. make sense?

it seemingly is a must because the mind is telling you it is a must.

the issue then for deprivation is the control of the mind. isaiah 58:6 - "is this not a fast which i choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke." i believe a fast is about undoing bands of yoke on our lives. what we see as must is only a must because of the hold our minds have on our actions. this requires a great deal of humiliation. there is nothing more humiliating to me then when i have to say i can't. i love that isaiah describes it as "loosening the bonds of wickedness." these bonds are not always manifested in ways we commonly attribute, like drunkenness, pornography, addiction to drugs, depression, or immorality. these bonds of wickedness can be the very every day activity we casually call habit that lead us away from our affection for christ. i think god has been faithful time after time to speak regardless of whether or not i fast. the focus of the fast is important in my perspective. if i say i am doing it to hear god, i wonder at times whether or not this is actually selfish and even more so religious. the reason being, is that i am not fasting for the sake of deprivation, but the sake of selfish fulfillment. i wonder if fasting is not meant for those who are so desiring god to hear them (isaiah 68:4) rather than them to hear god. i heard one individual put it this way, people who fast for the right reasons are so interested in pouring out to god that food and other things don't matter. it, more or less, was a description of one who simply forgot about food because they were seeking god so hard. i don't know anyone who has ever done that more than a day. then again, maybe that is the revelation one needs to get of the importance of fasting.

as far as cleansing goes...the brain needs to be reminded of submission from time to time. what better way of doing that then denying oneself of those simple pleasures one thinks are important. this is a truly beneficial principle for us all. what do you think?

Friday, July 31, 2009

a host of accomplices

i was laying in bed with my wife just chatting, before we both decided to go to sleep, about some things. liz sometimes, when she can't sleep right away, will read the news on her phone and check other things pertaining to her social networks. last night she had told me of this story.

we laid in bed talking about it for only a few minutes because liz was tired and not really interested in one my philosophical/theological discussions. i guess this blog is more the proper forum concerning what i was wanting to discuss.

this seems as though something so far fetched to happen to anyone i am familiar with or know. i understand that believing in jesus doesn't take all my problems away but i recognize that i live with and are involved with individuals who are so vulnerable to an attack of insanity. not any of my friends but people i come in contact with through work, school, and on the road etc. we hear about these tragedies often through the news media that is most popular. these kinds of stories are gripping and shocking and compel us to read, right? how many of us have a news source that is completely focused on producing news that reflects the good nature and intent of humanity? probably not many. from my perspective there is no such thing as good nature and intent of humanity? can we be good, yes. but more so evil i think. at the flip of a switch there is a great possibility of tragedy to befall any one of us BUT all this good that is not reported, all the lives that make it safely to there destinations, all those who are able to go to work in the air condition, all those that have a healthy family, all those who can even walk, must not forget that there is a source and this source is our creator and heavenly provider. this is my proposition:

god is the source of all things good, the devil is the source of all things evil, period. when tragedy befalls it is not the work or neglect of god but rather the work of the creator of that evil (satan). i believe there is room to open yourself up, to become more vulnerable, and ultimately expose yourself to the source of evil by simply living a regular, casual, and seemingly good intention lifestyle. god has a host of accomplices whom are what i believe to be angels who are assigned to protect us from said tragedies.

i could be wrong but i know that being in the will of god has greater meaning than what we see as external benefits. there are some very serious actions that the source of all evil attempts in the hopes of changing or altering not only our life but our ideas of how good god really is. and then these are diverted by the very goodness we so many times are not willing to focus on.

i was hoping people would chime in on what they believe to be true concerning this matter. if you didn't understand what i was talking about then tell me and i will try to clarify. my thoughts have a way of going faster than my fingers.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

we await

i meant to post this the other day but i had forgotten. i just now wrote it down on paper. i had a clear vision on sunday in the midst of being prayed over by those who prayed over those walking through the long "refreshing line" after dr. wilks' word. i saw myself standing on a sand dune in a desert like environment. directly in front of me was a flat wilderness like wasteland with a mountainous range beyond the flat landscape maybe 5 miles off, but clearly visible to the naked eye. the terrain leading to this range was dry and barren. the dune i presently stood on, with my back to this flat wasteland, contained a company of elders or leaders of some sort. these leaders varied in age from young to old, but they carried with them an authority to deploy and decree. these agents of power clearly turned to me on this dune and said, "we await your orders." i slowly turned towards the vast barren layout and behold there was a multitude of soldiers, warriors, who awaited my command for advancement. they all had the attire for battle directly on them. these soldiers were not scattered or in disarray. these soldiers did not have the look of bewilderment nor was there any fear within their countenance. it was almost as if they had been waiting their whole life for a moment such as this. and it all was to be released on my command!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

yours and mine

"when characterized by grace, covenant and empowerment family is a very beautiful thing, but when it is ruled by law, contract and possessive power, it is a very dark and painful reality."

Monday, July 20, 2009

compromise of the unconquered

i was reading in the first chapter of judges and came across the last few versus which are significant. in verse 28 it states:

and it came about when israel became strong, that they put the canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

it hit me how important it was for the israelites to not just conquer but overcome and drive out the already existing inhabitants. these inhabitants were a clear representation of the influence that draws us away from our creator. they were the harlot that drew the israelites into adultery. we read about the torment of compromising the covenant with god for the sake of finding a way on our own. i say on our own because, i am confident the mainstream thought running through the minds of the people was congruent with scripture..."make these inhabitants our work force." this, to me, seems appropriate and logical, does it not? make these influences work for us in order to further our opportunity. logical...yes, perfect covenant...no! with one foot in the enemies camp, however the relationship is, dominant, friendly, cooperative, or strictly oppositional you have a foot IN the enemies camp. there will be a pull, there will be a stirring, there will always be, according to our heavenly father, a threat to the children he so loves to the point of death. god's words were clear to his children, "...behold i have given the land into his (judah) hand." and even before this event god's promise was the land flowing with milk and honey. his promise is not only a promise but an irrevocable motion. he can't go back on any part of his word. we can and do on many occasions interfere with "the motion" set in place. so the point here is the compromise of the unconquered. can we conquer? no, because we have no ability. we can overcome, we can drive out, we have been given that authority. jesus conquered through his blood and we overcome by his blood, we drive out by his blood. when we approach our creator may we have this at the forefront of our petitions and prayers. he is good, delight in him because you know he is good and has conquered. do not approach him as though you are on death row and he is the governor and there is a slight chance of a pardon. approach him as david suggest in psalm 37, delighting in him beforehand, it says, he will give you the desires of your heart.

Friday, July 17, 2009

marlene from chillerz

while it is still fresh on my mind i would like to post some things i have discovered this past week whilst among youth at the annual youth camp.

1. beware of the nimblenore
2. mind the wasps
3. earth ball is always a good idea at the beginning
4. bring sunscreen
5. bring your own food
6. get ready for some amazingly powerful exhortations
7. bring earplugs
8. bring in ear monitors
9. hide your bottled water that you bring
10. expect the boys rooms to smell like beef jerky

there were some great advantages for leaving and setting up early. i was able to get alone with god and my thoughts to ask him for some things i would hope happen in my life in the duration of camp. i realized, again, i am a guy who loves the one on one encounter with god and people. camp is hard on some levels because i like spending more than a week engaged in any one particular individuals life. for some reason during high intense moments of emotion and desire for change i am rarely at the forefront of raising my voice in the mic or in someone's face in prayer. i don't think this is bad, i just for some strange reason don't get as intense as others. i hate it sometimes because it makes me feel as though i am not necessarily spiritually in tune.

nathan did an amazing job this week and i must give him props for his burden that he was able to release in such a way as to make it reachable for young people to grab a hold of. he has blown me away. i think that if there was a mvp award, from a human perspective, nathan gets it because he was such a strong leader and able to impart so much. camp reveals to me so much about what kind of person i desire to be and what god is actually showing me to be. through and through the relationships that are built during this short time span are some that i will remember forever. i am tired however, from the long week, and will post more revelations later.

Monday, July 6, 2009

with a floating noodle under my butt

i've realized the greatest entities of life are in fact the family's members and when the family is able to operate and function as a unit is supposed to function. the question then becomes, what does a functional family look like? i believe it can take many forms...the healthy family that is, but the definition solely rests on the uniqueness of each individual inside that family. just like the marriage between 2. you should not allow others to determine the intricate details of your marriage because you then don't have a marriage of unique characters and personalities but of another's uniqueness.

i gained a clearer glimpse of this concept this last weekend. as the annual celebration of our nations birth approached i realized, unlike years previous, that i was out of the loop as to what people were doing to commemorate. i knew my dad had been out of town and he was starving for family time. i knew that my sister had just been married and i really haven't been around to talk with them as much. i knew that i see my friends a lot anyway and spend time with friends on a regular basis. of course, my parents will jump at any opportunity to see peanut...even now as my mom, on her day off, calls us to see if we can drop him off over at her house to watch him. all this put together means that liz and i will be spending the evening over at my parents. i had to work until 4pm. that whole time in my working mode i was fixed on eating the salmon i had bought for the occasion, eating the homemade ice cream my mother was fixing, sharing conversation with my dad and new brother, and swimming with my son in a pool that was a perfect 87 degrees. while in the pool, with a floating noodle underneath my butt, keeping me afloat, i conceded to that fact that this was truly a great time to be alive. i was proud to have a family that, for the most part, was functional my whole life and a place that i could retreat for peace of mind. this was the definition i found in my family, a middle ground for sanity; a safe haven for clarity of thought, and a place that reason and rationality would be brought back to reality. in that moment i felt how good god was, i could only describe the feeling as one might feel after a burdensome week was over and the next part of the journey was a steady down hill decline.

i have found myself being someone that i don't desire to be at this particular stage in my life, critical, depressed, unproductive, lacking motivation, and in some moments without vision. although i cannot vow to be someone else. i find that my life is and cannot be defined by this last year and a half of unwanted surprises and disappointments. i am striving and striving to prove something to somebody...i don't know who or what but it won't rest. and yet everything i experience is not as good as it could be. this weekend was the most fulfilling i have had in a long time and i am so grateful i didn't pass it up.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

5 golden rings

in light of the most significant day of the year in my marriage i had wanted to post something to honor my "fembot." not that she is a robot who's only function is to provide sex appeal, or that she prances around in sexually provocative lingerie with her hair pulled up but yet flowing like a golden waterfall. i secretly enjoy pet names yet i am too proud to call her by the typical babe, honey, or sweetie. so calling her my fembot is therapeutic. this is a moment i am willing to disclose personal information about myself without shame. i think that wives unconsciously and secretly enjoy these types of moments when their husbands are willing to admit to being proud and disclose humbling information about themselves in an open forum.

so liz and i are at 5 years in our marriage. this is great, monumental in some circles, and by today's standards we have been able to conquer statistics that reveal otherwise without ripping each others heads off. liz we have found ourselves in crisis on many occasions. the things i remember about these crisis or situations, which don't necessarily involve our marriage, are the talks you have given me to lift my spirits. i wouldn't say i am a completely dysfunctional human being but there have been things that have wrecked my confidence, decisions that i regret making, and even a type of person i wished i was but sadly am not and these particular things have all been spilled upon you because you are there. with all humility i praise god for the wife that you are. you have heard and seen the basket case that i am, at different times, and have been the words of wisdom and the anchor for me in a rushing stream. you know those moments that i have felt as though letting go would be easiest and more beneficial, liz, you continue to find new ways to keep me going when i didn't even think i had that much left in the tank. every april, every november when i have procrastinated on papers, tests, or projects that are all due by the end of that month, i have had the same attitude..."i can't do this," yet you have had the magic wand with your words to remind me of the previous times i have overcome harder times and made it to where i am now. most importantly you have done all of this without allowing me to be completely dependent upon your presence. i have been able to remember your strength and will power to endure hard times even when your NOT present. i have said it many times and i say it again that you are the completion of me in areas that i lack the most. you are the person i think of when i think true love. and its not just me who notices this about you. there have been countless testimonials about the measure of your love, the depth of your grace, and the never ending supply of your wisdom. if people can't see jesus in you then they need only to spend another moment hearing your words that express the heart of a loving king for his people. i can't and don't want to spend another moment imagining what my life would be like without you. this last week that i have experienced away from you, while you are in alaska, i tend to think about how real the emptiness of this home would be without you in it. how incomplete my life is without you beside me, and how meaningless it would be to plan for the future without you walking with me through it. i thought about the possibilities of it being over, like statistics say it should be by now, and i have come to understand that the greatest mysteries of our marriage are but a moment away. those mysteries will never end as long as jesus is our center, and you are my second. i vow to continue to make you my second and to strive to make you happy outside of the bedroom as much as i can inside the bedroom. i promise to love you when you are perfect AND love you when you are the farthest from it...and all in between. i promise to support you when are weak, to hold you when you are frail, and to mend you when you are broken. i can't remember a better 5 year span of my life. i am looking forward to the moment we are in our 80' and living and breathing as though we are in our 30's and looking back and saying that we couldn't recall a better time to be living. not because of our choices to be healthier, or our success as people, not because we accomplished so much or raised kids to be god fearing believers, not because we made a name for ourselves, or we were able to win people to the lord, not because we have friends or maybe by that point we won't have any friends...but because we will be living with each other side by side from the beginning.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

any male can be a fertilizer

i know dutch may never read this. i can't help but write it anyway because of this days importance for him more so than for me. it is a day of honor for dads but i hope that it can be understood that without the sons or daughters there would be no dads. there may still be fathers but because of the offspring there becomes a chance for a "father" to become more than a fertilizer. i love this opportunity, i embrace this opportunity, and i hope that my son experiences all the good, the bad, and the ugly in order to mature him to what god wants him to be. i thought about if i would want my kid to be in a situation where he grows up with anything he wants or if he were to grow up living in need, basically not getting anything he wanted, i don't have an answer. i think they are both pointing to a depraved mind. i know i will protect him to the fullest capacity, i will nourish him to my fullest capability, i will discipline him in my deepest love for growth, but he will use his free will, hopefully to pursue his creator to his fullest capacity. i know, ultimately, that would make me the happiest dad and that is what i want this day to be for me as long as my children are alive. 

i thought about those days, when i worked at the church, i was able to be with him one day out of the week. it was peanut and i all day long. i took those single days for granted, because i can't do that now. i thought about this on my way to work and broke down crying because of the importance of not just father figures but "dad" figures, which are needed for everyone...yes EVERYONE.

dutch's first word was actually "no" and this doesn't count because every kid is told this the first 2 years of their existence. if i can recall his next word was "dadd-y" with such an emphasis on the "y." i guess this makes me happy because with the emphasis on the last letter it makes it sound so much more joyful. go ahead try saying it with the emphasis on the "y" and call your dad, dadd-y today cause it makes for a wonderful phrase. the way my son says it will stick with me the rest of my life.
















Tuesday, June 9, 2009

having relations

i am a guy who gets caught up in "what could be better." i take a lot of realities and distort them by imagining what it would look like under different circumstances. i see relationships that are so fruitful, mature, real, genuine, and capable of so much and grow envious to some extent. i guess the better word is jealous. there are so many attributes in other's relationships that i long to have in my relationships; so i will easily overlook the brilliance of what has been taking place right before my eyes. for those who have been such a key role in shaping who i am i thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. there are to many to name names who have invested a substantial amount. if i may give you an example of what i am talking about, i have two friends who are brilliant musicians. they have connected so well that this has formed a unique bond if only they could see the magnitude and impact it has had on my life. i constantly hear stories of there experiences together and in many tales it would appear as though they have been brothers in some other life. they are very dear to me as well, both of them. but in this example i am talking about how i see their relationship together and envy it for myself, with them on an individual level, or even with someone else of the same caliber. this has some unfortunate side effects to it. it causes a great deal of disturbances in my perceptions of the genuine relationships i already have outside the two said individuals. i cherish each and every relationship and the unique and dynamic contribution they bring to my life. i honestly don't have any idea as to what i could attribute this distorted capability too. but i don't like it, i know that much. it causes problems on a lot of fronts but most notable are the affects on the one's closest to me. it puts me in a position to constantly compare what i currently have with this individual with what i think i could have with another. the other complication is if i see something great about two people and it appears to be better than what i have, i become jealous for the relationship that the other two have; i then will attempt to subconsciously get out of the relationship i have to pursue the "other" two and be apart of their dynamic. i do this a lot and it isn't very fair to my loved ones whom are investing even more to my well-being. it has a lot to do with what alfred adler called the lifestyle. the lifestyle is a psychological map of self and world that becomes our guide for action as we strive to overcome feelings of inferiority. it is composed of 4 parts:
  • self-concept - view of self "as is"
  • self-ideal - view as one ought to be
  • picture of the world - one's model of why the things work as they do outside of oneself
  • ethical convictions - how the world should operate outside of oneself
these concepts are generally shaped and formed with a large part of influence due to the "painting on the canvas" from guardians and caregivers in childhood, as cliché as that sounds. i love my relationships, all of them, and i know that in each and every one, even the bad one's, there is some degree of growth and maturity that i need and will need for future development. so all this to say that in relationships, all relationships, humans find meaning. not all meaning. but it is not exclusive from the creator but through the creator. if we are to believe that we are created in the image of god, and even he has placed so much emphasis on a meaningful relationship with us, there should be an, although finite, equal pursuit of others in an attempt to pursue our heavenly father. this must take place despite our frailties and distortions of how we perceive the health of said relationships are. go and have relations with others!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

sounds like you have a problem

kind of a big day today. i am meeting with clients for the first time in my professional career. i go today to counsel someone and help them with issues. i am so excited and nervous all at the same time. i guess it is a balancing effect because my excitement gets my adrenaline flowing while the nervous side of me calms me back down to reality. this is huge even though it is not a paying gig. i don't know what to expect and maybe that is good but in recent experience not knowing has proven to be a headache. lets see if the money for education has been paying off. i will let you guys know what kind of nut jobs are out there! 

Friday, May 29, 2009

websites are for suckers

i have been meeting with a young man from nepal for almost a year now and periodically we will eat nepalese food, or himalayan food. it's good, i am scared every time i go in to a new restaurant but for the most part it is pretty good food. they do, however, like to put oil in most of the dishes, or at least they leave a lot of the oils in that they cook with. i was able to meet more of his family this last tuesday as we went to lunch at a place in bedford called kusum. the young man's name is kumar, and for some strange reason, i guess because of the stupid movies "harold and kumar," that makes people laugh. it kind of annoys me. kumar had brought his aunt who has her own orphanage, or what we would consider an orphanage. she houses around 19 children ranging from 3 or 4 to 15. i had remembered when kumar told me his mom wants to be a christian and how excited i became on the inside to hear this news. i thought about all the big conferences, crusades, and sports stadium's that are filled and we see them on tv's or read about them in certain articles. they are spectacular to watch online or hear. i then thought of the magnitude of one woman in one small remote village outside the capital of a small country who has a yearning in her heart for the truth of all truths. when he told me this i was filled with such a joy in my heart. it was almost as if it was not for kumar's sake but for mine. it gave me confidence in my relationship with kumar and confirmed that i could in fact be a figure in peoples lives that need to hear the gospel. well, this lunch last tuesday was just as awesome. i met his aunt and at first i didn't know she too was a believer, but near the beginning of the meeting  she had told me she went to cfni's worship on sunday or some church near by. it blew me away, and i began to find out that it wasn't kumar's mom who told her about the lord. bimala is her name, she found out about god in a completely different way and the lord brought them together. bimala is kumars wife's aunt; not really related to kumar in any way at all. in fact kumar's wife's mom doesn't get along nearly as well as with bimala, which is kumar's wife's mom's sister. that is a hard equation. but bimala kept saying over and over how god had brought me into kumar's life and how the lunch we were having that day was because of god. with all that is going on in my life and how much i lack in finances to reach this small village for christ i still have a tremendous faith that compels me to believe it is true how god brought me to meet kumar and eventually to meet his aunt. i did say one stupid thing in the lunch time i do regret, which has a profound and deep revelation for everything churches stand for in the west, or america. i was trying to think of ways to increase her ability to get donors to this cause of hers. she told me her husband had left her within the last few years and when he did the donors who helped her out left with him. he had been unfaithful with the money that had been given to him by these donors. unfortunately bimala was left with the repercussions. but i had told bimala that a website was a great tool for letting people know who she was and what she was about for her place to gain support. she replied, god has known all along, god knows the needs now, and nothing i can do will outshine the work god does. i was blown away by this faith as i slowly curled into a ball and began to suck on my thumb. i revealed the state of mind of the church, in the west, where i live. this is not the state of the mind in other parts of the world however. i tell you god is amazing, active, breathing, and sharper than any two edged sword. she entreated me to visit nepal. she told me i could stay for free and my money was no good there for living expenses. i wish i could at this moment and that is my prayer for now is to go to nepal and see this orphanage. my wife and i will have an orphanage of our own one day, that has been my dream since before i met liz. i hope to achieve it sooner than later. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

hillary a pastor!?!?

i have never wanted to be one of those guys who rants and raves about everything. i mean in a critical way of course. everyone hates the overly critical guy who does nothing but rant about how things are never going right. i tend to rant and be critical. this blog site doesn't help those opportunities. however, i do think that there are certain individuals who are meant to bring a certain balance to the mix of yea sayers and the happy, "nothing is ever wrong," fakes. not to say that everything critical is meant to bring down or be a downer and not meant to lift up. lately i have felt the conviction of supporting nonorganic, or non-spirit led christianity. i am not sure how to fully explain it, as i told my wife the other night while we lay in bed thinking and talking. liz, by the way, i love those moments when we talk about ministry, scripture, and organized church. it's great to have someone to be able to talk deep with even if i am not being deep at all. i gathered that it all had a layer of influence throughout the moments i have served in ministry. bit by bit it seemed i saw things come and go, some of the things my idea, some of the things not so much. i think i am a critical person sometimes, but let me defend my position in that i really desire to be constructively critical. so my heart is not to bring down but rather, out of love for development; especially in my home church of shady grove, where i want the greatest move of god to take place. so anything i have ever said or will say must have this disclaimer attached. i am not ever going to leave shady grove. i will never expect shady grove to pay a certain debt or speak as though shady grove owes me anything. even if hillary clinton were to become a major influence or pastor i would exercise my influence to strengthen the kingdom of god and not the kingdom of shady grove. i guess of she became pastor there would be a lot of headache's but i know that the legacy of shady grove church will pass away when everyone is long gone. the one thing i know will remain will be the word of god and that will be more attractive and last longer than any website, political agenda, minister, worship leader, musician, visitor incentive package, light show, or gold plated offering plate man could build. all this to say there is no legacy to be built apart from the truth of the word of god. i will struggle for the rest of my life to be noticed by men for my ability to do any one particular thing, i think this is my "thorn." this thorn is not for my impediment of the truth but it has its place for my development and advancement of the truth. it keeps me humble in so many words. this is the all familiar pattern of the inner struggle for control. i thank you god i am not and i thank you that you are.