Monday, December 27, 2010

quick reflection

i have been longing to begin "my project" for a while. i technically have it started but not in any order. it has been a working process for over a year now and i am excited to have a study area to begin. when we move into our new house here in belgium i will begin hastily on getting things started. i imagine not being in the waterloo house with everyone will give me plenty of time to myself to begin this thing. i am seeing myself working quite a bit when the kids are in bed and when i have some time to myself. these are the available slots for me in this season.

i can't describe the feeling i have. it's like when you know you need to be working on something but there are things that are holding you back. or maybe it isn't hurdles as much as it is not the right timing to begin something like this. i am not writing a book...yet. but i do want to tackle this discipleship curriculum that i have had on my mind for a long time. this is the time to implement what works and trash what doesn't. i have plenty of test tubes, so to speak.

i have this burning in my heart to do it and it won't go away. prayer is what i need from you now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

my soul longs for routine

adjusting to this new role as mr. mom is becoming easier. i just hope that those excellent qualities my wife taught my children while she remained at home can also be consistently taught by me as well. it is something i have had to make a priority. i am able to make time for them but i am tempted to just resort to this idea that taking care of them is the same thing as me spending time with them. it is not the same thing. i think they are always looking forward to the moment i lay on the floor and allow myself to be a landing pad for their aerial attack. over and over again dutch will do the same technique and my only job is to protect my most intimate of areas. i know that finding our own place will provide a better opportunity for a steady routine. that is what i am wanting more than ever right now. dutch will be starting school in a few weeks so another change is on the horizon. the schedule lends itself to being early mornings. i am not opposed to this at all. continue to pray that liz and i are able to locate a home and a vehicle quickly. we have been beyond blessed to be able to live in a community of generosity but i do not wish to wear out our welcome.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Simeon's and Anna's

The holiday season does something to you doesn't it? Specifically Christmas. I notice back in the United States most of what is now happening is that as soon as Halloween is over the Christmas decor is in full effect. I was able to reflect on this to the youth of The Christian Center during my message and reveal a frustration with how another holiday known as "Thanksgiving" is overlooked in the states. I was introduced to the pulpit as one with a Masters in Psychology. I thought nothing of it, however, many of the youth seemed intrigued and desired to question how psychology was possible. One of the students named Benjamin asked "what about the authority of the Holy Scriptures?" I knew I would fit in with this certain bunch of youth who are looking for truth amongst their studies. These young adults are in a place of wanting to know how to process truth and how to determine what to take in as God breathed. I felt strongly that through their questions they were not so much as trying to test me about what I felt as truth but rather to reveal that they too are hungry to know God on a very very deep level. Not this surface level "go to church on Sunday, read the Bible as a history book," mentality. They really want to go deep. I saw it and I feel even more challenged to correctly present the word of God as the best source for truth. So my adventure just began and already I have found some whom need discipleship of a different kind.

Friday, December 3, 2010

monday for barcelona

what liz and i have come to realize is that our kids are not necessarily used to many people all at once. that is what you have to expect in the ninth hour base at avenue des gemeaux 4. dutch has acclimated pretty quickly however titus hinrik has been quite the challenge. i shall return to this subject in a moment.

we were very shocked however, to find that a week out from our move liz was to change positions in her place of employment. it was highly recommended that she interview for this position that became available the week before our move. liz and i were excited for this opportunity because it was a change of pace for her. it would require her to go to the office five days a week and allow me to be mr. mom. i would gladly give her this opportunity due to her tremendous sacrifice for our family by raising our kids, working from home, and allowing me to pursue my education as a counselor and then a career. i was excited to be able to do this in belgium but as the lord has clearly shown us, it will have to wait for the now. upon her confirming interview the thursday after we landed we found out that she was required to leave the following monday for barcelona for a business trip. this was not what she nor i were expecting as soon as we land.

i was gearing up for the 3 day excursion with my kids who were NOT completely adjusted to this time zone and community living...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

first moments

god is good...

this has been the most trying statement the last week. my heart and mind want to follow this statement and believe every aspect to the littlest part. sometimes i am so consumed by the last 168 hrs (7 days) that i lose focus even for a second on what the whole reason i moved here to begin with was. both excitement and fear gripped me for this endeavor. so at any one time my emotions were either on a high or in the valley of despair.

the travel was perfect. liz and i have both traveled quite a bit alone and with our kids and i know if there is an opportunity to travel without kids we will take it. however, there was no option this time. we boarded the flight on british airways and were very excited about the opportunity to be entertained by tv without having to pay. the only thought was if the kids were not doing well then it would require us to forget about salt, or robin hood and put our full attention on dutch or titus. the trip across the pond was fantastic. we made it without any "screaming incidents." they both fell asleep 5 minutes into the flight for nearly an hour and a half. granted it took me nearly 4 hours to watch robin hood i was glad that it was not because i had a screaming kid who needed me every few seconds. we arrived in london and quickly boarded the flight to brussels without missing a beat. upon our arrival in brussels national airport we were greeted with the reality that not all of our luggage made it on the our flight from heathrow. we had no way of getting in touch with anyone outside the airport to let them know and i couldn't leave my wife with our two kids and nearly 10 pieces of heavy luggage. so by the time i found out about where our luggage was it was nearly time for them to arrive on the next flight from heathrow. naturally we decided to wait for it. well, all of a sudden, nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes after landing jon vandeput comes with a security agent looking for us because he was worried about us. we kindly explained the situation to him and he was escorted back out of the baggage area. the first moments in the car on the way home from the airport were absolutely amazing. the thoughts of us doing this were real and at that moment it did not seem to be all that challenging. as my family would soon find out, our opposition was about to become greater...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

jesus satisfies his bride

continuing on divorce and marriage...

isaiah 54:5-6
jeremiah 3:20
ezekial 16:8
hosea 2:19-20

these verses indicate god's desire and proactive approach towards the healing of individuals with marriage as the ointment, so to speak. what we can conclude from scripture is the following:

1. marriage fills the earth with a witness of the relationship between him and his people. this is one reason why divorce and re-marriage are so serious and should not be pursued. they do not tell the accurate story of god and his people
2. marriage not only reveals his unconditional love but also his profound mercy and patience...and all of it is unconditional
3. marriage shows his goodness and fidelity. so divorce, discord, and division obscure this image
4. marriage reflects the gospel in the image of jesus christ: forgiveness, long-suffering, compassion, unconditional grace, covenant and humility

god is radical and not accommodating. our world needs to see a church that is so satisfied in christ that its marriages are not abandon for anything even something as emotional neglect. the deepest meaning of marriage is the covenant keeping faithfulness of christ to his church despite their infidelity, abuse, or emotional disconnect, he will never divorce her.

Monday, November 1, 2010

how much for this broken marriage?

in matthews account of divorce 19:3-12 we have some of the harshest realities that challenge even the current direction of relationships of today. in all accounts one thing is certain, jesus is always challenging the convenient idea of happiness. i find jesus is far more concerned with our joy than our happiness. the two are different and you will quickly find the difference not when things are going as you planned them, but rather, when things are NOT going as you had planned them.

this standard frustrated even those walking closest to him. there response in verse 10 indicates a frustrated defeat. maybe they had hoped jesus would be wrong, or change his mind as many scholars suppose god does from time to time. i think this is an area where jesus' standard reflects the upmost importance, "not all men can accept this statement, but only to whom it has been given." so really jesus is suggesting what many refuse to see marriage to be...a gift from god. some have been given the gift of marriage and some, on the other hand, have not (some by their own choice and some by god's). i don't think it is hard to know whether or not you have been given this gift of marriage. what many have been suggesting in their behavior, however, is gladly accepting the gift given only to later want an "upgrade" while leaving the other "gift" on the shelf only to be sold in a garage sale. oh how the mind cons us into trading rough patches of relational despair for temporal satisfaction. if you think that this isn't true than maybe the statistics can reorganize your thoughts as it clearly indicates the percentages of those who have divorced once will likely divorce again (don't even ask about 3rd divorces). the bar is high for a reason. don't think for one second that the easy way out is god's way out. more times than not the easy way out is NEVER god's way out. especially when it comes to breaking a convenant.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

two masters

a mormon and mark twain were debating the issue on a man having more than one wife and the biblical view. the mormon was absolutely determined to convince twain that polygamy was divinely encouraged and is taught in the bible. he gave his strongest points and twain was still not sure of the standard. the mormon chose to challenge twain and told him to find a scripture in the bible that was actually in opposition to having more than one wife (quite common for those who want to do want they want to do without any real concern for what god says about the issue). twain went on the next week searching and researching the position of the bible. he had found something, so he returned with quite a confident demeanor. the mormon quickly jumped right back into the topic and challenged twain's ostensible confidence. mr. twain replied that he had found in scripture jesus himself challenging the position of a man having more than one wife. he pointed to matthew 6:24 and read...

no one can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other...

women make terrible gods. men make terrible gods. marriage makes a terrible god. i find marriage today has become just that...a god intended to fulfill or complete individuals. marriage can't give anyone that satisfaction. it's going to fail you every time you put something in the place of god. so when women put expectations on a man that he was never meant to fulfill, he WILL NOT MEET them. the outcome is disastrous for both, she is disappointed and he is either defeated or he is searching for someone who won't constantly hold him to such unrealistic expectations. i think if men are placing any unrealistic expectations on their women it comes in the form of inconsistent leadership. men will be afraid to lead, or set a standard and women will be confused about where the relationship is going.

marriage then is a wonderful, yet brief, blessing (matt 22:30). in everything jesus displays his standards were never meant for the assumption that this earth is our final home. i believe, just as you see in marriage, so much our culture creates will stand against what our heavenly father stands for. marriage isn't any different because if its finitude. because this perspective is so radical it creates tragedy for some who hold to unrealistic expectations for their spouse. marriage will not meet your needs, jesus will. don't make marriage a god.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a case for conflict

because of the thought, research, and passion i have for this particular subject i will be splitting it up into a few different blogs. that way those who claim they are NOT readers can sit for a short period of time and yet still get something out of what i have found in the word. otherwise, these people will lose focus and feel the need to be entertained on youtube by seeing if there are any more song renditions of a robber coming into peoples houses and doing things to them so they best be hiding their kids, wives, and husbands too (we gonna find you). i feel i have already lost some of you to that search as i type this now.

god is good. and marriage which he made as the first institution (gen. 2:18-24) is just as good as he is. however, as we read in the very next chapter of god creating this institution, we find that there is what some call a "fall," or maybe you prefer a "fracture," or for the small few who have a sense of humor "what always happens when a woman enters the picture." whichever you choose to describe what takes place in chapter 3 of genesis we know that there is an awakening that creates the ability for man to find other forms of gods (with all of it having a root of self idolatry). james 4:1-3 spells it out pretty clearly as i mentioned on tuesday night, a look into the source of conflicts. and conflict is the viewable layer we find in divorce, it is the tree that produces the fruit we so despise in any individual. yet we will never ever find conflict to be a distant memory of our past. even the most loving and dedicated believer will encounter at one point and another a conflict with another individual. so to work and strive towards a conflict free relationship with a spouse is like trying to separate the air from gravity.

i leave you with this thought...

iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
-proverbs 27:17

if the axe becomes dull and he does not sharpen its edge, then he must exert more strength. wisdom has the advantage of giving success.
-ecclesiastes 10:10

there's more to come...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the d word

tonight at the gathering i am fortunate to be able to share on divorce. i have roughly 20 minutes which is waaaaaaaaay to short of a time slot on this extremely important issue in the church, and even outside the church for that matter. so in order to appease myself i will be opening up my blog for a broader and more in depth revelation that i have received. i wish i had a week to share all my thoughts and all that i have found on this issue but unfortunately i do not. so look for the notes in the coming days.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

early and often

teens who consistently suffer "life" lessons/consequences will find no angle of trust for a parent who is inconsistent in their rules for their teen...even if the parent's claims are for the well-being of the teen. this sounds a lot like many christians who fall away due to their claims god is inconsistent or feel his values are NOT for their well-being.

another reason parents need to establish a better picture for their kids early and often

parents, have rules that are consistent and fair. and remember that rules without consequences are worthless and confusing, which is another reason kids these days are growing to see god the same way

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

playing to lead

today is a wonderful day in dfw history. the rangers are entering into the post season for the first time in over a decade. i am so giddy inside about this. i haven't followed as closely as i had when i was in jr. high and elementary but i think for me the simple connection is that it is headed by nolan ryan. nolan is my favorite player of the game. it is truly fitting that he is here leading it like he was attempting when he was pitching on the mound 20 yrs ago. i already consider this year a success for those players but i do have a desire for them to do what no other ranger team has.

like 6 years ago

its beginning to hit me that i will be leaving for belgium in just a few short weeks. i can't believe this is real and it is happening. if i were to tell you about the detailed work of the lord i would be committing a blogger no-no (too long of a post). i am already one who does not hold to that rule as much as i should.

as of recently liz and i have found how expensive it will be just to get ourselves over there, with our kids this time. yeah it's not cheap. i think the strangest work of god is using the establishment liz and i despised for so long to be the actual instrument he has used to get us over to belgium and minister...her work place. sheesh, i think that is a blog in and of itself. maybe even a book. but here we are a few weeks out and this job of liz's is something we have now seen as an arm of the lord for our good. did you hear me right, this, this thing, this utterly disgusting and dead-end job for liz has transformed our lives by the working of the holy spirit. i don't have words to express my understanding. even when liz marched into our apartment when we first were married and told me that she was done with this job (this was like 6 yrs ago) i felt so bad because of her feelings of frustration. so all i have is my thoughts, which are not always communicated effectively out loud, and my pen and journal.

all i can say is that god is good. not because he has given me what i wanted, but because he has used what i didn't want, to make me what he wanted. man it is truly a miraculous testimony that i hope to be able to share with each and everyone of you...another day.

Monday, October 4, 2010

you need him more today

matthew 26:35 - peter said to him (jesus), "even if i have to die with you, i will not deny you." all the disciples said the same thing too.

...remember what happens?

we are always quick to make such bold statements about ourselves when we haven't faced the realities of the cross just yet. it is easy to abandon the idea of our weakness and lack of faith when it hasn't been challenged by what god offers through the cross. the charge christ makes is to remember who you are and not forget the promise of the cross. that promise has implications for those who are weak, unable, and find a need for the saving power of the blood of jesus. it also has a severe consequence for those who hold to pride so much that they subconsciously refuse the cross' design.

i don't enjoy my sin but i enjoy acknowledging i am one who commits it. this provides much room for the work of the cross to transform me into his image.

come on people...acknowledge you need him today!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

marked by faithfulness not vindication

nothing grows a heart colder to love than lawlessness and injustice. it seems when evil prevails in spite of our prayers and supplications to god for vindication and a righteous king to take his throne on the earth we forget the promises of a faithful and patient god towards our brethren who are in need of grace and mercy. jesus' promise still remains, "the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. this gospel of the kingdom of god shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations,..." (matthew 24:12-14).

Friday, September 17, 2010

part 3: stepping out of the goo

...i have found that there is a lot of demonic activity that is being written and absorbed by our culture (james 3:14-15). not because demons and satan are fun or entertaining but because what is presented as an option by this perverted creature is a picture that to most of us seems ideal. the natural strives for the ideal, do you hear me, STRIVES for the ideal rather than the REAL. the natural will slowly replace reality to many because that is our tendency anyway, to look for the natural as truth. we have been created to search and seek but not search and seek alone but we also hold a capacity to find. we were created with an ability to find, and if you want to be technical, the ability to find our creator. so when self-criticism doesn't exist you have and then further develop a very corrupt idea of best. for correction i believe, as with everything that separates us from our creator, we acknowledge first, we...are...wrong. stopping here would be foolish rather so after admission then continue in the effort at making right what is wrong. do not misunderstand me you shall never be able to earn your salvation and justification comes only by faith in jesus christ (romans 5:1). you can't fully understand what you can do until you understand what you can't do. i don't care how many times someone preaches phil 4:13. the aspect of your ability flows ONLY from the cross alone; knowing and believing jesus conquered something pretty significant 2000+ years ago which now gives you power. power to do what? to be courageous and say to your flesh...


the power to say and deny and the power to claim and speak possibility is what "idealists" will say is impossible.

"one of the chief uses of religion is that it makes us remember our coming from darkness, the simple fact that we were created"
-g. k. chesterton

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

part 2: stepping out of the goo's not that i think there isn't any opposition or enough criticism or even critical analysis. i believe it is extremely evident in our nations leaders that we have plenty of criticism and opposition...i would say we have a plethora of criticism (for those who appreciate clean comedic relief). even within every facet of every societal function criticism exists into the smallest form. it seems to abound in efforts to expose heresies and hypocrisy in people. so we have plenty of it, except on one level i seem to find that we tip the scale and that level is...self. the word of god is an instrument, i believe, meant to critique every thought, every motive, and every behavior in our existence on a daily basis. whats the problem?...its got to be a daily basis. oh let us return to the god breathed text as authority over our lives and the governor of our hearts.

you might be thinking, "what about those individuals who take scripture, twist, distort, and pollute it by pulling text out to confirm half truths of their own agenda?" absolutely they exist, and they constitute those in whom i am referring who are part of the problem. how about those individuals, i would respond, who should know enough reformation has taken place in order to understand gods ablility to speak to them personally, one on one, so that instead of confirming the heretical lunacy of their pastor/leader/priest they are able to hear from god on their own and follow a true shepherd who follows christ and acknowledging his being the only way? again, we come back to this issue of self-criticism (which, for the record, is NOT the same thing as negative self-talk. i think it is pretty clear throughout scripture that god is not for destructing those whom he has created for himself).

we don't live in a culture where we are to worry about too much self-criticism. quite the contrary, we live in an age where we get what we want when we want it unbeknownst to the effects of its abuse upon our lives. think about how ridiculous it is we can, at the push of a button (ok more like 2 or 3), find out how many starbucks' are within a 5 mile radius. this is in reference to an ability we occupy to live way beyond our means...and why? because we don't critique ourselves.

let us not suppose, as i mentioned briefly before, that by self-criticism i mean we are locked in a dark room with no windows and in a fetal position, or rocking back and forth professing, "woe is me." i mean, reading the word of god, finding his truth, and admitting it needs to correct us. quite possible depression takes root not because of the circumstances alone but because you have tried for fulfillment over and over and over and over and have not found anything to sustain you like god promises his truth would. jesus said this in john 8:31-32 "...if you continue in my will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." when you begin to look at things outside the word that have aroma's and elements of truth of god of course it will capture your heart.

to some degree i wonder if not everything created is still god's truth. even the atheist that denies his existence was created by god, no? the decision is of a truth that has been created for will. in addition, if they die without acknowledging christ as lord they then become apart of another known truth that was created by a loving god, hell. by god telling them to depart from him he is righteously hating sin as he has always done even from the beginning of time.

i close with this statement...i am not opposed to literature outside of the bible; i too hope to write a book one day...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

part 1: stepping out of the goo

only because i don't have a mass audience to preach will you hear the rumblings of what god is stirring in my soul

i don't really find it all that absurd that one might believe in the theory of organic evolution, or the idea of our existence merely happenstance. that is "natural" or what i might call "ideal." in opposition, i think about life on this planet and the biblical account where god has strategically placed earth where it is in order for life to even subsist. i dread the summer months had he positioned it one inch closer to the sun. likewise, imagine our plummeting temperature during our winter solstice had this wonderful land been placed slightly away from our natural heater. there is no doubt amongst all communities the earth is in a position that is so unique in all our known solar system that it holds the only element no other planet holds...humanity. my tendency to be drawn to the chance theory of my modernistic counterpart and their unique case when it tickles my curious funny bone. much has been concluded concerning life on other planets in our solar system. the distinctiveness of earth makes me wonder what the big deal is. how come earth displays such uniqueness? what makes it so great? i would "naturally" conclude nothing. which makes the "per chance" theory seem so plausible and real.

so realistically, what i find is that science can't solve this issue. because the focal point should be on humanity and not the environment/location. meaning, naturally, if you deny an influence with a higher power this will close a door to any possibility, whether desired or not, of understanding there is more to us than location. so absolutely there is no reason to wonder why a naturalist would seek organic evolution as an explanation of the origin of the earth. this is STILL the age old philosophical inquiry of man and his purpose. the truth about science, besides it NOT being the enemy of faith, is that it will give us mortal/finite/transient/perishable entities a limited glimpse of a current reality that will barely even fit into our current scope. it has no antidote for diseases, sufferings, death, or psychological abnormalities. if this seems to not be true please buy tomorrows newspaper and/or watch the evening news. things aren't necessarily getting better. modernism, which birthed much of what we find in our journals of health today, is only what we say it will be, due to empirical research on ourselves as subjects. in 150 years a different, regurgitated, heretical ideology that has was breathed from the mind of satan long ago will be reintroduced in a different pretty painted package, permeating society in depth.

the issue then is not a scientific one but a spiritual one. i like g. k. chesterton's way of putting it, "there are some people, nevertheless i am one of them, who think the most practical thing about a man is still his view of the universe." rightly put, if there were not a god there would not be an atheistic mindset to have to try and deny the truth of his existence. i find myself embracing all the more this so called "game." god's riddles and unanswered entities are far more satisfying and enjoyable to pursue than anything man has thought he has been able to answer or solidify. i know man to be finite that is all. how are we to judge what part of the story we are in when our supreme text (the bible) seems to place our redeemer's actions in the middle of his story, not at the beginning as we would have hoped, nor at the end as most epics carry out. we have no way of knowing where we are or at what point we find ourselves. so i end this segment with one question that will continue on in the next entry...

i find the real issue is not whether evolution is right or wrong but rather who is quicker to admit they are finite, and who is willing to admit they are defective outside a moment in which they have been caught in such defective behavior?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

an accusation in need of grace

it is absolutely amazing how god, even in his instruction to leaders and their dealings with backsliding individuals, finds a way to correct and reinstate within the accusers the amazing restoration he has designed for their lives.

take note:

1 timothy 5:21-22 (nasb)
21) i solemnly charge you in the presence of god and of christ jesus and of his chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality
22) do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share in the responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin

to hastily of an accusation and sentencing confirms, in others, certain entitlements. in other words, it allows accusations to not be properly nor biblically processed. there is a responsibility in leaders handling of certain individuals that even in their way of dealing with them they help correct and rebuke the sin in the accusers. This is profound in that it brings forth restoration in those accusers by no means of their own efforts. proving once again, through another type of relationship, the amazing gospel dispensation for all of those who would receive the gift of our heavenly father.

father forgive us for hastily judging, accusing, and laying hands upon individuals who are meant to reveal in us a part of our own need of your saving grace.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

living and active and sharper

one of the most terrifying things about reading the word of god is that it is bound to unmask the heart. i firmly believe the word of god intends on illuminating reality, "including the reality of the human heart, and such light sometimes causes pain, something humans are inherently disposed to avoid."

"if there were not so many illusions and self-deceptions, certainly everyone would admit as i do: i hardly dare to be alone with god's word."
-søren kierkegaard

Thursday, August 19, 2010

hey numbers guy

wisdom says: leave success ratings to god, and live your christianity as a religion of faithfulness rather than an idolatry of achievement


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

how do you know

the young man said to him, "all of these things i have kept; what am i still lacking?"
matthew 19:20

as i read this today i thought to myself, how does the young man know he is lacking? jesus hasn't even given any instruction that would cause him to question his personal motive. jesus actually spells out the answer for him to which the young man genuinely felt he has accomplished these things. my rationale would tell me that if the answer to my question of eternal life were things i had already been practicing i would have left it at that, no? does it seem strange that the young man was not at peace, in his heart, with the efforts thus far for eternal life? simply put...his spirit told him he was lacking. somehow in some way he knew he was aware he still lacked something else. i wonder if the young man actually believed in the goodness of the god he felt like he had obeyed his entire life. that might be where jesus wanted to press on him...his unawakened heart to the lovingkindness of the lord. it seems apparent in his lifestyle that his attempts to achieve eternal life are through the empire he builds on earth. maybe he thinks god will take notice of his amazing capability to acquire such financial gain and resources and feels god would certainly not be able to do without him. he gives his heart of understanding away in two areas:

1. when jesus corrects his (young ruler) position on what is good
- if he really knew god, and not of him, he would have known of god's abounding in lovingkindness and the design for those in need of that divine love
2. he cannot sell his possessions
- his grief, in verse 22, is a noticeable mark of an event in his life he cannot let go of
- one grieves because something has happened (loss, trauma, etc)
- the young man sees his possessions as a greater loss than his eternal life (this in itself will grieve any individual, especially one seeking truth)
- the young man's grief will lead him to a choice that he will inevitably have to make

i believe this is the place god wants us all. are you going to admit what you want will not sustain, in order for him (god) to give you what he wants you to have. we come to that crossroad, sometimes daily, sometimes not as much. nevertheless, god uses the crossroad to show the value of the choice, his for us and ours for him.

keep pursuing the truth and when you feel grieved over something ask god for strength to choose what he would want you to choose for growth and maturity.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

can you pay for your sin?

so if one chooses not to believe that jesus paid the bill for their sin. is the inevitable reality that comes, a bill unto which that person pays it in hell?

just a thought as i read about the heidelberg catechism.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

confusion to the cross

matthew 16:1-
the pharisees and sadducees came up, and testing jesus, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven

...jesus is that sign (hebrews 1:1-3). he is the man in which they seem confused. my thought is that god is not the author of confusion but rather uses it for his glory. god creates, sin distorts/perverts/confuses, and god then begins his perfection process of what has been altered. the mind is attacked as our adversary continues to go around and seek one whom he may devour (1 peter 5:8). once the mind has been infiltrated, which is the case for all of us, access to the heart is easily attainable. what brought this about was the fracture that the universe suffered as a result of the fall...meaning my sin, and yours. this made and continues to make confusion possible. even the the thinking of godly things has the possibility to be corrupt due to the nature of who we are (romans 1). this, in part, explains the confusion of the pharisees to be not led by god to see his part in perfecting what had been damaged but instead maintaining and promoting confusion by asking jesus to show a sign. in other words "work your magic to prove yourself true," asking jesus to do something outside the character, and more importantly the will, of god to prove he is from god and valid. this proves to be an irrational request for god. it's like asking, "can god create a rock so big he cannot lift it?" on the one hand if he can create a rock so big he can't lift it he is not all-powerful; if he cannot create a rock so big he cannot lift it he is not all-powerful. my response is...dumb. a dumb question. so how does god answer a dumb question? i thought about what must have been going through jesus' head as he heard this request. c.s. lewis has this to say about such a scenario, "can a mortal ask questions which god finds unanswerable? quite easily, I should think. all nonsense questions are unanswerable." how is the clay to ask the potter why did you make me as this (isaiah 45:9)? so what brings about such a question? surely a sign from god does nothing but confuse further an individual who has no basis or intent of wanting to be set free from any confusion to begin with. take notice of our empathetic and compassionate high priest, who must endure at some point in his life a fraction of confusion in order to answer the way he did in verses 2-4. the pharisees are worshippers of themselves to the extreme measure. take notice of the individuals, namely jesus' disciples, who are in no other position as the pharisees as we find them also to be confused. jesus calls out their confusion as he reminds them of the miraculous works that have already been seen. the disciples are reminded and yet do not seem to fall away into a further confused state, as the pharisees, but are drawn closer to jesus even by their confusion as to who christ might really be. he reminds them that it is the aim of those who are worshippers of themselves (pharisees) to sustain corruption by questioning those who draw close to god in order to find out what he (god) says about their (disciples) confusion.

2 cor. 5:17
if anyone is in christ, he (that one in christ) is a new creature

matthew 16:24
to be in christ is first and foremost, denying yourself. taking your cross, and carrying it, which in itself, at times, seems to be confusing, no? and follow him (jesus). jesus' death doesn't remove the confusion of following him, on the contrary it enhances the value of following him.

so i say be glad you have confusion at times. this confusion is your cross which motivates you to put to death all that leads you away from christ. follow him, confusion births questions and the hope is that we would bring those to him and let him reveal himself in his due time to answer those questions. he will at times remind you of his work which he has done, and at other times he will orchestrate new wonders right before your eyes. sometimes these will reveal inside you even more questions, this is good as you continue to look to god for answers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

why i need older people

there are times in my life when i wish i had the mentorship of an older individual to confirm what i am thinking. to listen to my ideas, to admonish my undisciplined activity, to encourage the train of thought, and to show and teach me responsibility. i love talking about the church, theology, philosophy, and righteously debating issues with those who share the faith. it gets complicated with those who DON'T share the faith.

right at this moment i know i have people who, if they had to, would move their schedules around so we could talk periodically about the mentioned things. right now i am craving objective "older" person dialogue. the key being objective. i have a lot of things that are going through my head that i want to discuss with a wiser being but yet not as wise as god.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

shell shocked

what sort of things do you think work?
what sort of things need to change?
what sort of things are, quite frankly, doing more harm than good?
what things can make a difference if consistently applied?

most what are these questions referring? i believe in checking behaviors and re-checking them to maybe find where something will have a damaging effect, if not at least an undesirable one. i believe i see from this angle much more than not. i view my life thru this lens. because of this i feel as though it helps me bear fruit, as john put it, in keeping with repentance. it does this by quickly showing me that i will in fact choose myself all the time unless i get a second opinion, or better yet the word of god.

i think being this way enables me to take a road of skepticism i have never ventured before. i have shared my thoughts on this before, just not on this medium. to see something and wait for its completion, then wait for reaction, then wait for the reaction to the reaction all the while observing without displaying the slightest emotion as to take a side is a unique attribute. do i posses it? i think so but who am i to make that judgement?

i am thinking of what can only be described as a shell shocked church and their lack of application to this principle. this is the church that has one thing in mind...converts. this is to point to the tremendous growth (if it comes). this is the church with no plan for people after a true decision has been made to follow christ. this is the church that wants to make jesus cool for the masses of which whom already believe that he (jesus) is irrelevant to society at large. everything becomes very cute once the motto has become "lets get you saved, lets get you coming," but, again, with no real plan on transforming the heart. this church sets me off. i feel sometimes i am surrounded by this plasticity, living in the bible belt, that lends itself to religious compromise at the expense of what jesus came to die for. anyone with me?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

an evening with metal

you may or may not recall moments when i was on staff at shady grove church. during those moments i had the opportunity to develop friendships with a small population known only as the metal heads. the majority of their existence in 1829 was in the years we had our service in the old building. one or two of them kept coming around for a little while but slowly they drifted out of the wednesday night scene. why or why not is not the point of this entry and quite frankly we could debate all day on why people fall out of church or how to trick up programs to make them more enjoyable for numbers sake and longevity. i honestly, think about those guys every now and then and think about what seeds i sowed that are bearing fruit now. it is the whole shoulda coulda woulda syndrome. i think a lot of our connection stemmed from the fact that i, for a season, felt obligated to relate to a particular crowd in 1829 that i simply did not want to relate to. i didn't want to listen to rap to fit in, i didn't want to play basketball, i didn't want to make lame jokes to amuse them. kind of like throwing anything up in the air hoping it will stick and that nothing will fall back down for me to have to dodge. when this "metal head" crew showed up there was a connection that presented a legitimate challenge for me in my "talents." i welcomed it and can recall a few times getting burned out, not because of them but because of me and my over indulgence in duty. but thru it all i loved that crew because it represented a new chapter in 1829 that i didn't remember seeing before, at least before i was on staff. but with the closing of the era for the metal heads years ago i currently find my thoughts concerning them in a state similar to mr oscar shindler towards the end of the movie of shindlers list...i could have done more. so when i check my phone messages yesterday afternoon after work i wasn't expecting to hear one of them defeated, broken, and desperately seeking an ear to talk to. i ceased the moment and took advantage, only this time, i thought it wise to think about what things i didn't do with them years ago and what i could do now with this opportunity. i called him and told him i would come to his house pick him up and bring him back to my house. my intent was to allow him whatever he needed. this means if he wanted to talk, he could talk; if he didn't want to talk, we wouldn't; if he wanted to swim, we would swim; if he wanted to eat food, we would eat the amazing food my wife made last night (another blog entry is needed for that fabulous feast she cooked up). i thought it best to not make him do anything. i sensed that quite possibly at this particular point and time in his life, being made to do things he didn't want to do, was all that was going on in his life. so, simplistically thinking, i felt that even in our conversation i would let him talk, let him lead, let him guide, let him voice any frustration concerning any issue. in doing this, i would give him the validation he needed...

that he matters

regardless of what he has done or has not done.

my overwhelming sense is that when people are not affirmed or accepted they will do things to bring acceptance to their life, we all have done it. these things we do are advantageous in some ways and detrimental to our emotional health in others. but thru them we find validation for who we are and so sometimes it's easy to find comfort in intimate encounters physically with others. likewise, heroine has a way of relieving pressure that has not been relieved in relationships...which is where i believe god has intended. these examples are obviously disadvantageous to our well-being, any way you slice it. so any behavior, good or bad, black or white, brings notification. no such thing as bad pr, right? one of the problems you may find is that as a whole, society will more than likely respond with greater depth to those things that are very disadvantageous for the well-being of an individual. it's hard to pinpoint the good and truly commend others consistently. it's natural, a cop never pulls you over and tells you he thinks you are doing great for going the speed limit, or that he loved that you made a complete stop at the stop sign back there. no, we pay particular attention to when an individual does something wrong. you never call a meeting to discuss the great direction of the company or to discuss the smooth flowing legislation of a particular protocol. they are never the focal point...that is the fractured icon's we are. this, i feel, is what has plagued my metal head friend who was in a state of desperation. my response has to be very careful because of the rejection this kid has already experienced for only god knows how long. my desires were all about me, not him:

unconditional regard
  • esteeming him
  • giving him extreme amounts of worth even without knowing the situation
  • showing respect for his needs not because he did or didn't earn or deserve it but because he is a human being
  • i wanted to only observe him...and when you are observing, you are not talking or thinking of a response
  • i wanted sympathy for him, i wanted sorrow for his misfortune. however, i didn't want him to have to see me trying to feel those things
  • the smallest cue could trigger rejection, especially if they have never been taught how to have an adjusted personality but have, instead, lived maladjusted their whole life
  • it can be said like this: if a child doesn't engage in any activity w/ something you provide, and you provide something else and state something like, "maybe you would like to play/do something else." as an "adjusted" child they may hear options, which are good, but as a maladjusted child what is heard is their desire to not engage is disappointing to that person who is providing. this is communicated as rejection.
  • i cannot have compassion without a strong desire to alleviate the suffering
  • i cannot have a strong desire to alleviate the suffering without a truly deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for the misfortune
compassion = action to alleviate suffering = sympathetic and sorrowful

at the end of the night i hoped he was able to find one person he could talk to and could listen to him. i don't even feel he wanted me to give him direction or tell him what to do. he wanted me to hear him explain what he was going thru and that he missed god. i hope i was able to validate him in his experience and be a representation of a god who loves him to the point of death.

Monday, May 31, 2010

be apart of something that will do something to help someone somewhere

some of you know i love to help people. especially those who may not seem to be able to help themselves. i am in love with the thought of growing up in the south and seeing myself during the united states' most troubled moments of racial tension. i pray that if i grew up during the heated and tense moments of the civil rights movement i would have been an individual who stood for the freedoms of black people and other minorities. i think of the atrocities that occurred, i think of the heros that made today possible, and i wish i would have been able to provide further assistance. i had one of those moments in belgium this last trip. most of you know my wife and i took our youngest son titus across the atlantic to visit our good friends and ministry partners of ninth hour this last month. we learned still yet of what god desires of us in our journey thru his wonderful world we call life. attached is a song that captivates me in such a way that i feel time travel is possible. i travel back in time and right everything that went wrong. i correct all the mistakes that we now reap the consequences of such actions. the song is entitled emancipation and i know i have shared of its brilliance before. it captures all that i wish to be able to write and record in music someday. upon this latest trip to belgium i was able to minister inside an apartment that was meant for teaching prostitutes and those forced against their will to work in the sex industry in antwerp. all i accomplished was the assembly of a cabinet that will be used for storage. it was cheap, somewhat easy to assemble (minus the language problem), and it was from ikea. yet upon completion i found myself yearning for more and a desire that was comparable to that feeling i get when i think of "civil rights activist zach." i longed for the freedom of those bound against their will and even those who are fooled into thinking this is what they want, but you know that if they were presented with another "way" they would gladly accept.

it was burned in me

it was engraved in me

and i find that upon further research i too can be apart of something that will do something to help someone somewhere. i found this organization called payoke and upon reading i found them describing their immediate effort was to provide emancipation for those used in trafficking for sex. and would you believe it they are located right in antwerp, only an hours drive from brussels. this continues to ring inside my head. i can't let it go. i feel as though my services to offer, considering my educational background, provide me with an enormous amount of potential. i believe god has expanded my horizons.

look out november...emancipation is on its way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

in reference to the mouth

i wouldn't say i am scared of the dentist but i certainly am not excited and don't lose sleep like i would if it were, say christmas eve. i really don't have any horror stories about the dentist. i remember having to have 7 teeth pulled one time when i was in jr. high. this was to prepare for braces. i remember friends who would always talk about how the dentist/orthodontist screwed them up and how their teeth are messed up forever now. i hear the stories of the dentist like a car mechanic who seems to make things up in order for you to buy something that seems reasonable for you mouth. i have never had those problems. i go to a place in las colinas, his name is dr. henegar. i rarely see him personally, actually. i think there are some small things that might change the feel of going to the dentist, as i am sure many fear the dentist, if there were ethics that could be broached.

1. the breath situation
i am always self-conscious about the odor projecting from the orifice that is being examined (in reference to the mouth). i can't help but feel that the protective mask so many hygienists use is not for any other reason but to protect their noses upon the first whiff. this is because i see some hygienists wear one and some don't. i too feel some what protected from them in the event of their morning latte and bagel desiring to make another appearance. i don't know if anyone worries as much as i do about this. are there any solutions to comfort the fear? i think one great solution is to have a good laugh about it. maybe talk about what the other person might be smelling if in fact odor seems to make the eye twitch a little, which is all to noticeable. i tend to reassure my hygienists that i did in fact brush profusely in order to eradicate any odor. this makes me feel better. it helps that my hygienist seems to have been doing this line of work for years so i am sure out of all those people she has seen in her history my breath is most likely not in the top 10 of the smelliest.

2. the waiting situation
seriously, magazines and t.v.'s are ok but lets make sure that just because the office is full of women that an option might be given to a man to not have to sit thru 1 hour of regis and kelly. i don't really care about your cd with your wife, nor do i imagine that it is good anyway. i don't care about which celebrity that has recently been voted off dancing with the stars can be on your show and dance with hot guys or girls, so please, please can we change the channel.

3. the chairs
i haven't done a whole lot of research but i would think that with all this advancement in technology there would be in some catalogue somewhere an enhanced chair for the comfort of the patient. i am not very comfortable in the chair which combined with the overhead light makes me feel like i am in some alien ship on a table being probed for understanding of my body. i could not be anymore uncomfortable even if i was completely naked. the arm rests are a step in the right direction but still yet the support for the back and arse is lacking.

4. mirrors
maybe the majority of individuals would rather not see the monstrosity that is happening within the framework of their mouth but i for one want to know what is going on. i think of the dentist as a cop. the cop as we all know is the instrument of the law that is actively showing people what they are doing wrong. the dentist is in my mouth scraping, drilling, flossing, cleaning, washing, poking, and i have no clue as to what is taking place. so if he is consistent with my perception, and policing my mouth, i think i have somewhat of a need to know what i am doing wrong. notice i said "need" and not "right." we won't get into why if feel right should not take precedent over need. bottom line...i wanna know whats goin on buddy!

5. informed consent
i think it should be part of the duty of any hygienist to inform said patient of particles that might be societal disgusts. in other words, if i got a booger hanging from my left nostril swinging from hair to hair like tarzan on his way to rescue jane, i want to know so i don't go further humiliating myself in society. at the moment the chair begins to fall back, so that ALL is in view, the hygienist should thereby be deputized as a "good friend," who looks with compassion upon her/his patients flaws that are very capable of being remedied. so just break the ice and let them know, as in observation 1 with the breath, that they are actually encouraged to not just pull out unwanted particles on the teeth but anything else that might be within the reach of that little poker thinga-ma-jig.

i have made my dentist aware of all these, or at least the hygienist. things are a lot smoother upon each visit. and i know she is not freaked out because i see the same one over and over and have never been suspicious of her trying to dump me onto the recently graduated intern who is looking for anyone to prove she has what it takes to last years in this business.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

motivational fear

i am freaking out, on the inside. the nce (national counselor examination) is a huge exam i must take that is given by the state of texas in order to become eligible for a license to counsel. i received my confirmation number on friday night and lay in bed thinking about how this was going to be possible. i mean passing. i hear from the most supportive people in my life that i will "do great," and "don't worry." i think about how divine many of my advances have truly been. i won't go into detail here but lets just say some strings have been pulled in order to get me at this position. or that is the way i see it anyway. i think about my study habits and how i have been removed from the education system for 6 months now. i think about at what level is my dependence on god to provide supernatural intellect realistically not practical. i believe he provides and that he sustains and that he orders one's steps but i don't think about how the intensity of my laziness influences to whatever degree my outcome. i wonder at what level i am being lazy. am i being lazy at all? does this make sense to anyone else? you feel that perhaps you have studied and think to yourself, "i know this!" but then there is that small voice that says "it's gonna to take supernatural interference to pull ya outta this one" i fear, bottom line, i fear. i fear that i will not pass and will have to take it again. i fear what perception others might have if i can't gain a passing grade. i fear what people might think if they know i want to be an effective counselor and yet according to the state, i am anything but an effective counselor. i struggle to make an allowance for the possibility of failure. my mind races to think of what i could do if i fail the test. i do not enjoy retail. i repeat...i do NOT enjoy retail. in the long run i am moving to belgium, so consequently, does it really matter? for my personality, it matters to the fullest extent.

i remember buying my miniature moleskin for the purpose of writing down great quotes, philosophical ideas, scriptures with life-changing implication, and small thoughts that would alter the course of humanity. i can remember one of the entries which came after a session with an individual who admitted to being surrounded with fearful thoughts. i was wondering if there was any usage of fear and if in fact it had any qualities of being good. i remember finding out that fear is used to motivate and yet when you try and partner with it you will find yourself alone most of the time. fear of failure has the ability to drive me to study to be prepared in this particular situation and yet if i were to partner with fear too long i might find that negative prophecy will dictate my thoughts. one of the quotes related, i can remember, hearing from FDR, "the only thing to fear is fear itself." i believe fear has its purpose in a proper context. fear as a secondary emotion can really do some great things to motivate people to accomplish goals and increase vision (the good from the bad mentality). however, let me issue the encouragement to anyone thinking fear is great to motivate others. it is not. fear is able to motivate only the individual who finds themselves seeking change. in other words, fear tactics are not really benefitting anyone. i will say this as an example: heaven is not a place for those who fear hell. so preachers who use it are not benefitting anyone but only revealing the depths of their own soul...fear as their ally.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

determined for death

liz and i set out on a weekend of camping at robbers cave in oklahoma this past weekend. i am sure liz will blog about this sometime in the near future. i can't tell you how manly i felt. i can't tell you how excited i was to go into an unknown place without any previous knowledge of how to do the "camping thing." i can't tell you how excited i was to know the only familiar entity was my wife with me. well, i guess i knew how to start a fire. that is one of those things boys learn how to do when they are young. we sent out a message on facebook to anyone who had some camping gear we may be able to borrow, seeing as i we don't have any. some great people of our church cory and rhonda woods responded and supplied us with enough to start our own town if we wanted.

i packed that little subaru to its brim. i mean sleeping bags, pots, pans, firewood, tent, lanterns, propane tanks, and most importantly phone and ipod chargers. this weekend was going to be AMAZING! that seemed to be the phrase echoing through my mind the whole time as i loaded. friday afternoon 330 was launch time.

i had hoped to be able to leave and still arrive at the camp site with day light. i can always picture doing things in the dark and thinking i never really was able to do anything in the dark. well, we were not able to arrive at robbers cave until close to 10pm. as you can light. i tried to keep the head lights from the car on the actual campsite til we could set the tent up but the way the road was situated only a little light actually hit the site. the roads to drive were higher than the grounds. i started a fire as soon as possible so this might bring in some light for our viewing pleasure. my mind was set: get the fire going, get the tent up, get the chairs out and set them by the fire, enjoy ourselves by the fire, stay out late and then finally go back to the tent and truly return to natural activity. this was MY plan. the tent we had graciously received had never been assembled by our hands. i honestly, was banking on liz's expertise more so than mine. she grew up in alaska with that outdoor-sy mentality. with no light to actually to see anything the first assembly of the lowrie's tent congregation was not happening that night. suffice to say there was no tent revival. out of no where liz shoots out, "well, lets lay the tarp down and put the sleeping bags on them and sleep outside." i had not even thought of this being a possibility. i didn't want to sleep outside, i wanted to sleep inside a tent. liz was very tired, and i was rapidly approaching that point of give up. you know when you have been working on something and then your fatigue sets in and you reach a point in the mind that this has been far enough and even if you were to attempt any more, you would not achieve what ever it is you are shooting for. that was it for me as well. the excitement let down and then it hit me...i am laying on a tarp in the middle of oklahoma underneath what could be clouds to let down rain at any given moment. i thought this will be ok i guess...

all thru the night i heard noises. raccoons, birds, frogs, and semi's from the not to far off distant road were all periodically entering into the ole drum of the ear. i knew the morning light would wake us and i was praying to god it wasn't the oklahoma rain. my biggest fear upon waking was really to see campers lined up behind liz and i taking photos because we were sleeping outside and not in a tent. i quickly felt the urgency to dispose of the evidence that two individuals slept outside. i regret doing so because liz wanted a picture of our adventure to share with the world. never the less we set up the tent and surprisingly enough it took not even 20 minutes. after the completion of the tent we made breakfast on a propane stove. we mixed turkey sausage, eggs, and cheese. it was very, very, very good. it coupled nicely with our cowboy/camping coffee. as we sat there eyes glazed towards the river less than 20 feet away i realized how awesome it really is to be able to sit down and not have immediate responsibilities. we took a walk in one direction from the site for about 20 min. came back, took a nap, and then started on a hike in the other direction. little did we know our trip's life was determined for death.

as liz and i started our stroll in the opposite direction of the earlier morning hike it began to drizzle. it was nothing to cry about and was barely noticeable. however, it was consistent and lasted for nearly two hours. liz and i talked politics, callings, counseling, and i shared with her some revelation the lord gave me earlier in the week about eagerness and examination. i won't go into detail on the specifics. before we realized it we were headed back in a somewhat harder rainfall. we thought we might want to check the tent to see if there had been water damage. there was just some spots were water was leaking in but not enough for us to begin construction on a log cabin. well the rain was NOT letting up. it wasn't a hard, torrential downpour but it was not being a good host to the native land of oklahoma either. we set a time limit on the rain. it was leaking in more and more. 5 o'clock was the deadline, if had not let up by 5 then we were going to pack it up and head home. at this time it was around 345 and not even as soon as we had set that time limit a drop lands squarely on top of the sleeping bag. that was it, we both had had it. we devised a plan on clean up and effectively succeeded in clean up in a mere 20 minutes.

with everything packed and the little subaru on its way back towards the exit/entrance of the park i though we might just check and see if they have a cabin to rent. they only had a hotel lodge = yuck!!! despite their efforts of getting us to stay by knocking off $30 dollars, we really didn't want to stay in a room with a microwave and mini fridge. we left and decided to head home leisurely. it was a great trip back. i can recall many moments where i made liz laugh and things she said made me laugh hysterically. we stopped at a goodwill because i felt it was a gold mine but the only benefactor of that stop was our son dutch who got 4 shirts. we then stopped at pizza joint in some random town which had music blaring on the speakers inside. it would seem we had stumbled onto christian night at mazzios. they played all christian music, most of which i had never heard. the music was showering cheese and i thought we had enough cheese on our pizza so we got out of there and started back home only to arrive around 930ish. i was promised by my wife that we will indeed go again sans the children. but it also prompted a desire in me to invite friends to attend the next one too.

i will go camping again, oh yes, i will go again and i will stay longer than 24 hours at this next campsite. this i vow...nature has not had its last laugh.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

3:10 to fatherhood

upon watching 3:10 to yuma i found a chord was struck in my heart that left my pillow drenched in tears and my heart searching for consolation. this chord was the chord of desire for my son's to see me as great in their life. this chord was struck and echoed loudly inside my life, at its current state, and thoughts of the future relationship that only time would tell. as the tears fell my heart was ignited by a different fire that seemed unfamiliar to my previous burning experiences. and this was my thought:

i want my sons to want me. i desire them to appreciate me. i desire to be the answer to the question of strongest influence in their life. when the question posed as to who their role model/hero is, i would hope that their answer would, uninhibitedly, without a shadow of doubt, be me. i can't even imagine waking up tomorrow and one of my sons not. death and physical separation scares me and thinking about how i have one more day with them prompts my praise to the ever lasting father. i can't even imagine waking up 10 years from now and just the same, emotionally dead, unengaged w/ my boys. i fear that as much as i fear natural death or separation from them. dutch could not tell you what an emotional connection would be or how to achieve it. he only knows how to manifest behavior to inform me when he is not getting a connection. the realization to its form and appearance comes with age and yet, the longing and desire seems to increase, and still yet, fulfillment comes in different forms and avenues. he keeps me guessing. he keeps me watching and looking to see if he is in need is a better way to say it. one of the scenes in the movie has the lead character, dan evans, in a situation where he could potentially be bought out of the situation. his response to the $200 buy off is, "you know, this whole's been egging on me. that's what the government gave me for my leg - $198.36 and the funny thing is that...when you think about it, which i have been lately, is they weren't paying me to walk away, they were paying me so they could walk away."

i sit back and contemplate how many fathers actually pay attention to their kids so their kids can walk away feeling satisfied. or do the fathers pay attention so they can walk away feeling satisfied. just 5 minutes here and there seems to suffice the fathers belief that they have properly vested enough into their child. how gravely the wake up call will be 10 years time when they have emotionally been dead to their child causing a vast separation that seems hopeless in repair.

how divine god must really be in his search for his son's to see him as great! and his errors are not as our earthly father's consistently promise...he is always reaching to connect to us for our sakes.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


look at the truth of our own mistakes bringing our knees to the cross in this entry i found from my past.

i feel i have opened the door to certain things and in this the enemy has moved in and allowed more "things" to take over my life. i feel james 4:4-10 discusses my conclusion. lord cleanse my hands and purify my heart so i may be humbled before you. miserable i feel, miserable and weak do i feel. and i want this feeling to humiliate me.
i am not sure what the "thing" was but in reality it makes no difference. the issue was with the heart being lured into idolatry. the passage in james is the firm declaration of the jealousy of god. i love this as it starts in vs. 4 calling me an adulteress. then hitting me with the awareness of god's broken heart of jealousy towards my actions and doing what he does best to draw us in to him.

this was in part of a message i was working on concerning purity.

romans 6:19
before christ we used our bodily members/agents to walk in unrighteousness. now, because of the death and resurrection we now use those members to pursue righteousness.
sin management mode
controlling sin - "i won't do that anymore," or "i will abstain from that"
sin is put to death by beholding christ more and more
paul is saying instead of using the members of the body to try and manage sin, chase righteousness with those very members.
i continue to be amazed at the place god has brought me through the cleansing power of his cross. and the emphasis continues to be on what he has done.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


i was able to dig out some of my journal entries from when i started journaling. this one was on this day in '05:

i wanna sing a new song oh lord. a song of a new hope. a song of new revelation. a song of new destiny for this generation. a song of desperation to grow in our faith and confidence in you the unfailing god. so i praise you oh lord. i give you honor and a word beyond recognition. i pray your face and name would be known beyond the recognition of who we know you to be (meaning a deeper revelation of him). more than what we have known. more than what we have tasted, more than what we have seen. a song of new glory. the some anointing grace but in a new way. lord prepare me oh lord for this song of glorification to you.

awaken me oh god to your peace and give me a hope that this glory in which we sing about would fall through the heavens and hit us like a violent wave of the ocean hits the land. let us not be able to contain it and let it be so intoxicating to where we choose to jump in and be soaked by your presence.
oh lord break me
oh lord break me
oh lord break me
oh lord break me
oh lord break me
oh lord break me
heavy stuff even for me now at this point. i can't really remember what it was i was going thru or was praying about but none the less i know god was doing something.

Monday, March 1, 2010

wrath 2

i think we limit our understanding of god and his awesome power when we cloak him with the anthropomorphic language we commonly use for him. we get this from seeing responses of others and even in the church these attributes are all to often not different from the pagan societies we are quick to slander. the tendency is to look at human attributes and because man is the closest creation to god's likeness we accredit what man accomplishes in his emotions to the likeness of god. this is a problem. because we are a fallen race and although an image of our creator a broken and fractured icon at best.
but when scripture speaks of god anthropomorphically, it does not imply that the limitations and imperfections which belong to the personal characteristics of us sinful creatures belong also to the corresponding qualities in our holy creator; rather, it takes for granted that they do not
so this explains that god's responses and actions are not the same motives and findings you might find in many of the actions amongst the created man. it's not foolish, immoral, impulsive retribution as you would find amongst your peers. it is always a right and a necessary response or reaction to moral evil, thus god's anger is only present when righteously warranted. i pose this question as j. i. packer states, would a god who took as much pleasure in evil as he did in good be a good god? god's wrath is always judicial and therefore a righteous judge administering justice. which is what we ferociously pray for?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

wrath 1

i have always wanted to be able to explain the wrath of god in ways that made sense to unbelievers and believers alike. in the times we live, when one speaks of god, it has been my experience that there is so much reaction that is quite different from the next. you have many camps of beliefs in a god just not the one i am referring to. there are some who really could care less because their view of god is that he does not exist...or at least i think they want to believe he does not exist but truly in their heart they know he does. there are some who believe in god and hold to the gospel according to oprah. this is the thought that all roads lead to your heavenly creator and no one path is more righteous than the next. there are some who believe in god but when it comes to issues that are familiar with the fallen state of humanity they could not believe a god who would have an adverse affect to sin. in other words, they choose to not see god as a "hater," but rather a lover of all things even the very immorality they so choose to indulge. then there are some who are quite and completely different than what we hear about in the mainstream media and they are the fundamentalists who build compounds, foster many children through many wives and are unwavering believers in god's eventual wrath that is meant to annihilate the existence of man...except for them of course. but for me, i believe it is real, i believe there is and will be judgement, i believe also that god's incarnation made atonement and even though the debt cannot be cleared, it has been paid for. so what should be said for the wrath of god?

"to an age which has unashamedly sold itself to the gods of greed, pride, sex and self-will, the church mumbles on about god's kindness but says virtually nothing about his judgement."

i know the church has been destined to be many things in the communities in which they are represented. that being said, it is funny to find many changing their very identity to reflect that of the community. if leadership desires monetary status planting a church in a financially respected district seems practical. likewise, a desire for a thriving spanish speaking community will not prove to be advantageous if it seeks to establish the congregation in anchorage alaska. this convinces me that despite my desire for the church to be one what i view as one comes in another form. i have no desire to be apart of a brazilian church. so i will trust the leaders of the brazilian congregations will hear from god for their church and what they do at this particular juncture does not concern me. but even though the image of the church changes on the outside, (whether that is viewed as righteous or not is not what i find important here in this post) i do believe that the teaching of the all powerful god in the inside remains constant for the entire body of christ. that means from the conception in acts 2 til now, the principles of god and all his attributes DO NOT CHANGE for his bride.

i guess the two characteristics or the attributes i would like to discuss are god's anger, wrath, and fury and that of his love and tenderness. some might say the two are not mutually exclusive. i would whole heartedly agree. but as it is what i have seen of the church, i find that it is not equally represented, therefore giving me the suggestion that they ARE in fact different. so when the already confused individual who has endured tribulation his whole life is presented with god as an option, the imagery of the choice is chocolate or brussels sprouts. who in their right mind would choose brussels sprouts? however you read the bible to understand who god is you might find it interesting that a study of the concordance will show that there are more references to god's wrath and anger than there are to his love and tenderness. "the bible labors the point that just as god is good to those who trust him, so he is terrible to those who do not."

Friday, February 12, 2010

dumb animals

the art of hospitality may seem simplistic. sadly, however, it is not. the common mistake so many handily make is not on the extension side but rather on the receiving side. as a recipient of gracious hospitality on this wonderful island of guadeloupe i have observed not that the ambassadors of the church are extremely humble, gracious, and unselfish. trust me they are all of those qualities. but rather what steps i must take to further strengthen the relationship. it would be just like an american from the united states to expect this type of hospitality. and maybe there are some who feel they do not deserve such gracious service. maybe yet still there are some who believe they are in no way going to allow someone to carry their bags for them, open car doors, provide all the meals, and drive them wherever they want when ever they want. hospitality is culturally bound. in the united states, men may open the door for women...maybe. there is a degree of respect in the united states for difference in gender which provokes one to be hospitable and serve others. even still in europe, the cultures are very similar but i have noticed in observance of a guests arrival and the proper procedures upon dinner, or eating of any meal, is to wait and stand upon arrival of said guest. maybe you don't do these things, or if your european and they seem unfamiliar, it is not because it doesn't happen it is because your understanding of hospitality is limited to your experience and external teaching. i am not different in this educational process. i too don't follow all of the cultural norms and etiquette as close or as much as i should towards my fellow man. so the challenge i am presented with in this country is very real.

previously in trips of invitation, or being a guest of honor, the way i am treated is very very very wonderful. i could say about every place i have been, "this is the most hospitable country i have ever traveled!" i am forced, upon conversation with my common friends, to reveal how i was received and treated and i truly and honestly could not say that is was different than other times i have traveled. i do not want to say it was better there, or it was better in this place, or that. gods design of hospitality was not mean to be a one sided avenue. there is a response that must be given. in what form i am not sure of but in my most recent experience i believe it requires my attention to how my comment or response to hospitality will change the dynamic of the relationship. i know an example is needed here.

those that are hosting me in this church speak french...i do not, yet. what i have noticed is that if i mention i like something, or mention i would like to go to a location we might notice an immediate detour for that location. this is the urgency and desire of service that these people have on their hearts. is it gifting, or is it trained? i mention a good wine that i favored and the very next day i would find it gift wrapped for me to take home. one evening volcanic ash covered the ground quite similar to the snow fall i had missed in texas. as we approached the building to the church for the service you could anticipate an individual with an umbrella ready to usher us in without one spot of ash on our person.

it spoke to me. it yelled at me. it upper cut me in the face. the moment i thought this service was not real and would give way to true human character of self seeking i was awestruck with another exhibition of humility. the most endearing lesson i have ever learned. these people followed there orders given without question, or if they questioned they petitioned it to god...and not the pastor. look at yourself. look at your service. i am well aware of faults of my leaders and i am well aware of what i would like things to look like or how i think they should run. to have a shepherd who you follow without question is not to deny your ability, on the contrary, you will not be anybody significant without a shepherd to guide you. to question your leader reveals a great deal of distrust and insecurity in your own heart in the god you claim to serve. we all have an issue with submission. and i mean we all do. i know leaders mislead, take advantage, misguide, and give horrible counsel quite regularly. especially in this wonderfully blessed nation we live in we find that what we value as freedom actually gives credentials for a great deal of misguided leadership an opportunity to flourish and further create a hard heart amongst other selfish people. this creates dissension inside the church which has root in every congregation and feeds the philosophy of independence. it's message resounds from every corner. if you want to be anybody you must do it on your own. this is not the kingdom i so hope to be apart. we all like sheep have gone astray. and if i have learned anything about sheep in my study i have learned that sheep are dumb animals who need guiding.

the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want.
he makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside quiet waters.
he restores my soul;
he guides me in the path of righteousness
for his name's sake

Sunday, January 24, 2010

faith challenged by my 2 year old

moments with dutch are becoming better and better. every now and then he will exert this charge of energy that he has never exhibited before. i am amazed at some of the things he is capable of doing on his own. he is really good at identifying all kinds of trucks, from trash trucks to tankers. his vocabulary is expanding rapidly and it is becoming so much easier to communicate with him. i wish they came out of the womb able to communicate effectively. i mean, at least at a 2 year old level that would be just as good and i would be satisfied. i do think it is a strategy or a plan designed by the great developer of mankind that babies are incapable of conveying what it is they want. it requires the parents to invest not just hands, money, or time, but ears, eyes, and patience, which are among the most underrated attributes amongst parents in their rearing of children. i am certainly not the cream of the crop. i owe most, if not all, to my wonderful wife. liz has invested much and selflessly given all the while maintaining control over her frustration at a child who will not just shut up and go to sleep already (note: that is my description of what is going on and NOT endorsed by liz).

i secretly have my vested interest in my children. there are certain things i will not hold back in revealing to them. this conviction is a direct response of the understanding of the continual fallen state if the hebrews. reading the older testament i see the failure in the parents to teach and instruct their young in the ways of the lord. this will not be the case amongst my family. the most common argument against this approach to parenting is understood in the modern culture and it is commonly expressed or manifested in the form of idolatry. the parent in this model allows the child to develop their own understanding of the world which is formed from their selfishness. the god-given responsibility of the parent is to steward the child in a direction which brings out convictions upon the child that are current with the original state of the created order. yes, this original state of the created order will be impossible to attain this side of the grave, however, the god of this design has not changed despite his creation's choices. the pursuit of the god of this created order has a very strict definition. bottom line, i am not god, you are not god, so to allow a sinful and selfish soul to pursue a worldview and or life however they see fit is NOT an approach that will, in the end, prove to be beneficial for that child.

that said i have an amazing and challenging experience to share with you. i had recently purchased some jeans from urban outfitters which i did not originally try on. i got home only to realize i have thunder thighs and would not feel comfortable with everyone able to see all of my business. as much as i am proud of my god who created me, i don't believe it is a good witness for me. you can do it all you want, it doesn't bother me for you to wear jeans that are fastened to your flesh. for me it proves to be too uncomfortable. i then made the decision that i needed to return them to the store, or just exchange them for a bigger pair around the waist. tonight, was the perfect night. i would get off work around 7, run home grab the jeans, and go to dallas. at work i thought to myself that it would be cool to bring dutch along. i mean, we are not going to be out late and we would be home in time for his bedtime. i had texted liz to have him ready for me to just swing by and pick him up. the moment i got home from work and opened the door his greeting words were, "go dallas with daddy." liz told me he had been saying it all night after she told him i wanted to go with him. ahhhhhh, it melted my heart. we ventured out to dallas and upon arrival at mockingbird station i knew we would have to park in the parking garage. we parked and got out and made our way onto the elevator. now, dutch always wants liz or i to carry him when we get on moving things like this. i had no problem with holding him, there were about 10 strangers in the elevator with us so this was understood that i wanted him close. so we are in the elevator and of course everyone is absolutely quiet, when all of a sudden dutch opens his mouth and says rather loudly, "praise jesus!" my eyes got a little big as i knew arabic people, which we had with us in the elevator, are not commonly believers in yeshua, at least not in the praising him sense. at this moment i felt my faith challenged by my 2 year old son. i then felt a sense of pride rise up in me as i looked at him and said amen. i walked away not really thinking anything of it. i am sitting here now, however, thinking about how proud he made me at that moment.

if you are like me then you really do want your level of faith to be greatly surpassed by your offspring. i think inside of me the greatest comfort of my existence will be to see my son walking in such a way where he is completely oblivious to the desensitizing of the flesh and that his faith is not sobered by our idolatrous culture. i want him constantly living with the hope of the gospel on the forefront of his mind while portraying a life of grace to every individual he encounters. wow, what a moment, i hope it is not the last i know with this little giant man of god.