Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the god of hot chocolate

i've taken a step back and breathed in a deep breath. i've sighed heavily and just been able to think long about things. i have been without a regular job since the 5th of this month. during this time i have been forced to live without things. the month of december, thankfully, was a month of plenty for me. i had big gatherings of family, food, good times, and blessings but the month of january has been a little bit less promising...or so i would think. 

the budget of the average american family probably looked similar to mine last year: a few hundred dollars a month on groceries, money for savings, money for car issues, money for clothes, money for missions, and most importantly money for entertainment. i couldn't imagine life without a budget for entertainment. i can call to mind the previous jobs and the lifestyles that went with them. when i got married i had been employed by the same company that has employed over half of my friendships...starbucks. this was a really great job. i worked with individuals who i could relate to on an age respected level. things they experienced i too was experiencing, that sorta thing. but the main point of this story is not the same issues but rather the lifestyle and the spending habits i was accustomed to. i was living on a certain income and liz and i both had to stick to a budget because at that time we were not the most wealthy couple, nor were we trying to be. i can remember the moment i got the job at the church and i was so excited to not just do something i had been wanting to do since i was in high school but i was getting a pay raise. naturally with more money came the bigger spending appetite. this isn't wrong so much as it is just stupid. ignorance is the best word to describe the latter moments of spending. i truly wish i could have been content with my spending as though i was making the same income from starbucks. if i could have done that i would be at a fantastic place today. maybe paying for my school with cash, who knows. 

i have really been able to live without things i thought in previous years i couldn't live without. i can't think of too many examples. some that come to mind are those moments i am driving home, or to a certain destination, and i feel a craving for a short extra hot, hot chocolate...no whip. i now have to stop myself, i now have to deny my craving. other examples are those times i am invited to go to a place in arlington on sunday nights that offer half price selections from the food menu. this invitation, via text message, is followed by countless seconds of desire and contemplation as to how i might be able to scrounge up a few extra bucks from somewhere and head on out to meet my mates. you know those moments you get a message from someone that says a bunch of people are going to hang at a certain location and you really would love to go and be apart and that next 5-10 minutes where you are thinking if it would be wise to spend your money on that order of boneless buffalo wings? this may all seem elementary to everyone else. i might be the only one who suffers. i for one find it very difficult to say no to the possibility of banter and sarcasm i would soon join in on. i don't encourage a life of abandoning those life giving moments to the soul with friends spending money. i think i had just been thinking i could not live without them. which i can.

what i am thinking is the same principle that involves people with weight loss issues, or bad health issues and food. i think it is rather humorous for individuals who pray for a health issue to be broken or relieved when they follow the crowd to double dave's pizza house. you see the irony in this thinking? one who wants god to do a miracle and when he (god) probably would if that person would do their part in taking care of the very body god gave them to live. maybe you don't think like that. i don't know. i still wonder and ask questions though. i think my situation is similar in the fact that i have been asking god to break through in my finances all the while spending frivolously on hot chocolates! i have some big dreams in the very near future. these dreams are not complicated for the god i serve but i believe i could make them complicated; i can continue to contribute to the frivolousness and complicate my point of view on who god is. meanwhile god in his awesome love and desire is trying to bring me to a point of complete deconstruction in order to reconstruct my life to fulfill what the desires he has put on my heart to begin with. i love that. he would rather deconstruct me, cause he loves me too much, to deal with the issues than let me be and continue growing in life guessing at whether or not he is ever gonna be there, or he is ever gonna supply.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

indie "rock"spertise

i love itunes, don't you? i got some gift cards to itunes and would like to find out what others think i should get. let me know! 

Friday, January 9, 2009

legacy i desire

my wife and i are in a pinch, as they would call it. i don't know who "they" are but "they" are different than "us." i have recently been released of my duties with the gentleman who was so generously compensating me for the last year and 3 months. my story goes right along the path of any others who have received a miraculous provision from the lord. every time, in hindsight we can see where, how, and why the lord was moving in such a miraculous way. we shrug off the doubt we had and move on. these pockets of visible blessing further my opinion about how god moves on the earth in noticeable ways. many times i am quick to question the influence of god in a particular circumstance in my life. question whether he cares, whether he is really even there, or if he even sees my situation, like i did after i had heard that i wasn't fired, i just wasn't in the budget to receive compensation. really i am trying to say this without a negative light on shady grove church cause it is what it is and that is that. this happened so god could do stuff and i see that now, like is said in hindsight. i think and believe that i have a certain right or have entitled to me a right to be bitter, upset, disgusted, hurt, frustrated, and feel as though i need to blame someone. these descriptions are completely my right to take and carry in my walk if i so choose. of course in view of what i am entitled to i can also begin to try and reason why these things happened. looking at my own character i try and decide if it is a character flaw, maybe i should not have done this, maybe i should have done that, maybe i should have been better at this, or that? easy. such an easy logic to grasp. get mad at the perpetrators, or depress myself and get mad at my character. of course this is all abreast to the dreams, goals, vision, and plans that i am making for my not so far away future. so how appropriate is it to struggle with all this while i dream big.

 2 years ago, you invite me to play guitar at another local church, regardless of pay, i emphatically reply no! i don't know why, there was a certain passion i had for the home of shady grove church. maybe this passion was unhealthy? maybe it was unbalanced passion that was more concerned with the reputation of the legacy of shady grove church than the idea god had for me 4000 years ago. i say 4000 only cause that is the number that popped in my head, there is no significance to that number. but god's destined idea for me was not a legacy builder of shady grove church. that legacy has been built by god and he has done a pretty good job of it to this point. an expert on character i don't claim to be, but these last few years of my life i can point to times that an entitled spirit should've and could've taken over if it weren't for the mercy of god. the other morning i was awaken to the sound of nothing going on. my alarm hadn't gone off yet, there wasn't a rooster in the distance, my son was still sound asleep, and surprisingly as it may seem they actually took a break from construction around my house around the time i awoke. so i got out of bed and thought to do only that which i do every time i am the first one up and no one else around me is awake, pray and read the bible. i was upon the infamous 1 cor. 13 "love" passage. love is this, love is that, and love doesn't do this, or that. well, this passage correlated completely with the topic of my wife and my discussion the night later, which would be last night, i think. she had asked me if i felt bitter, or if i felt like blaming anyone for, what we feel like, the wrong that has been done. i thought about it, and thought about it, and thought some more. my conclusion was that i undeniably felt no bitterness. i did not feel as though anyone is or was to blame. i felt no anger, or resentment. i did not feel like leaving the church, and still to this very moment don't feel like leaving shady grove. i thought today about what the natural feeling should be: bitterness, hatred, anger, resentment, etc. but this passage in 1 cor. showed another glimmer of the gem in an angle i had not seen before, or maybe i had but just forgot. true love endures. true love suffers long. true love remains patient even under slights and personal wrongs done. true love does all this even enduring without divulging personal distress. in a culture that teaches a release of emotion regardless of whom it may offend, or hurt true love teaches otherwise. it does this in order that selfishness would not prompt or expose itself in any hardship. true love protects its very name. to release the emotions that have been built up for the sake of avoiding repression does not accomplish or promote true love. that is the legacy i so desire to build, a legacy of true love. 

god is so much more interested in the growth of the heart rather than the growth of the wallet. i mean if we are truly gonna believe the logic of the lord's prayer than we need to understand this principle. when young people have asked me in the past, "how far can i go with a girl without it being a sin" my response is why test the fire (no pun intended). using the same logic, those who have so much and still need more, the question is, why seek to gain and gain, to profit and profit when the more your desire is fed the more likely, as a sinful human being, you will drift apart from the dependence on god. true love protects this very dependence. true love reserves the bitter entitled spirit and in its stead puts a heart of forgiveness for even the worst enemy. another reason why i appreciate god not allowing me to heal everyone with an ailment; or cure every sickness. it would be cool, but it would be hard to keep from losing myself in myself. those pockets of visible blessing are so important to our everyday faith. to those who question every time something bad happens, "where is god, he doesn't care, or he isn't there." think of the mere fact that you are breathing in the air you have. thank him that you are not one of the drunk driving fatality statistics. thank him for all those unnoticed miracles he has done for you, all those times he diverted your step to protect, provide, and produce profit or gain for your well-being. i think we, as the "perpetrators," do not deserve true love from a god who is nothing but love.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

thanks dad...i think

i was thinking the other day about my dad, and how he is not limited by societal faux pas. he is a guy who will at the most random times blurt out his mind even if he is aware of the present company shunning in embarrassment. he is not affected. i guess many would agree that i too have carried, if anything, this lowrie trait on into the next generation. i don't mind, on some occasions, to poke fun and jest at what society has taught us to be and blatantly refuse to acknowledge and pay homage to her education or conditioning of humanity. i think many of us fall prey to cultural cues and participate and encourage something that really has no business being propagated in the first place. need an example? well let me share example i thought of. now with the disclaimer stated, this opinion will make some uncomfortable...but i, carrying the lowrie laisse-faire mentality will continue in my example. sex is something that is broadcast over thousands of tv sets and the references to it, which in high school andrew heep and i would use the term sexual nintendo for innuendo, are just as palpable. people talk about it, people do it, and our favorite characters on every tv show imaginable perform it, right? well, tv shows current anyways. how dare i throw the cosby show, growning pains, or any other show prior to the late eighties under the bus. the way i believe our culture has run sex into the ground and made it a joke and casual entity of everyday life is not because of the intelligence of writers, or producers, not because of the inspiration of satan, but because of the lack of discussion inside the house amongst proper educators. when i was growing up i would hate to talk about sex with my parents, as would any teenager, because of the very idea of thinking about my parents having sex repulsed me. thanks to my dad he was not interested in how i felt about sexual discussion. he did not pressure sexual talks but he was not quick to hide his thoughts about its importance and the power behind it. he would mainly communicate in a comical manner but he was not grotesque. i guess i can only compare it to how jerry, kramer and the whole seinfeld gang had approached sex; quirky little gestures in reference to different sexual things. ultimately most of what i learned about sex, i am safe to say, was from my parents. i guess in some ways i am still learning, but the basics i got down pretty cold. yes, my dad risked disgusting me when he talked about sex but the only reason i found it to be abnormal or unpleasant was because of the conditioning society had already birthed (no pun intended) inside my mind about sex. my dad didn't give me the idea that him with my mom having sex was gross. who gave me that idea? i think this is where the enemy comes into play. why is it the discomfort of talking about sex is only with those individuals whom are ordained, destined, or fated, to teach us about the sexual nature of human beings? what is good, what is ok, and what should i understand about the spiritual implications...these are all things that young people need to know about sex. so what i have observed is, not anything new, talking about sex with your fated educators is labeled gross and repulsive, conversely, getting the teaching from tv shows, "sexual nintendos" and porn is all something that is labeled appropriate by our culture. what i am encouraging parents to do is to be more open with sex with their kids. i am encouraging parents to be completely honest about all issues related to sexual intimacy no matter how grossed out a teenaged offspring might find it. there is a fear for parents to talk about this taboo subject with their young. many parents think that, "if i don't say anything, they will be ok, they will be fine," or "they will be normal." i have reason to believe it will NOT be ok. observation tells us otherwise. the prince of lies has been able to flourish and prey on young minds and hearts too long because of this mindset that silence is opposition. the prince of darkness loves when followers of god are silent. silence is not opposition, but rather, silence is submission, regardless of whom you claim to serve. you serve satan, you are silent about growing issues, you further satan's cause, on the other hand, you serve god, you remain silent you still further satan's cause. why does that equation not work for god? this earth is cursed, living here makes you cursed unless you actively pursue otherwise; unless you actively engage your heart otherwise. silence furthers the curse and grip of satan and his dark force.

deuteronomy 6:7
you shall teach them (statutes, ordinances) diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

well, i guess a thanks is in order to my father for not submitting to silence concerning taboo topics. he talked about other stuff too but much of that other stuff was boring and only funny to him at the time.