Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

to kosovo with love

you have captured my heart. you have shown me once again that there is a god who is real and is actively involved with his creation. your love for each other and your passion for the bride of jesus is overwhelming. please keep going, don't stop.

i had little idea of what to expect when i came to see you. i had never ventured this far southeast in europe so i was not sure what to find. i recall telling many of you, "i'm speechless because i am taking it in." i was impressed, and i cannot imagine living my life without returning to your wonderful hospitality.

every smile, every spoken "falemnderit" (thank you), and all of your passion to be worshippers unto jesus in a land that is overwhelmed by opposition, has left a mark in my heart.

stand strong, keep the faith, don't lose sight of the glorious inheritance after fighting this fight. you may be woken every morning to a voice of intimidation and oppression, but fear not for god will make a way where there seems to be no way. he calls you to be holy as he is holy; be assured that he will make a way for you to live this commandment. you may be persecuted for following jesus, you may be cut off from your family and friends but let me encourage you that god's love is great and can find a way even into the darkest places of anger.

continue seeking how you can grow in your pursuit of worship. continue challenging the church to follow the voice of the holy spirit for the sake of growth and maturity that will not prove to be hollow inside.

men, lead well. develop a passion, a desire, and a zealousness for a holy leadership. don't turn to the left or the right but stand strong on the word of god. teach the young men of your congregation to honor authority in their lives. teach young women that their value worth are found in their creator. show them this value by treating them as though they are fragile and precious jewels in your life.

women, find your beauty in the presence of your king jesus. demonstrate to the other women of your land that their is a higher value than what the world calls valuable. let your voices of praise be heard within your houses and churches.

i am praying for the bride of jesus in kosovo to be radiant and pure for that glorious day he calls her home.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

lessons learned

i had a little scare at the beginning of the month. every year the government requires what is called controle technique. it is the same thing as an inspection on the car.

the first time i went in to get it done it failed. the amount of pollution "dash" was putting into the air was well over the allowable limit. in addition to this there was a small fog light that was out. 

i had a few weeks to complete the necessary repairs before trouble came blowin through my way. i ended up taking it to a garage (mechanic) that specializes in volkswagens and i told him what the problem was. he looked at it; changed the fuel filter and put some chemicals in it to clean the tank. he told me, but didn't guarantee me, that it should pass this next time.

i was dreading the return to the temple of doom in halle, belgium. as i travelled out to the location of inspection i noticed my prayer language becoming fiercer. there is a young woman named faith from pennsylvania who is helping us with ministry needs here in belgium. she happened to be in the car with me for this re-check and i asked her to pray as she has never prayed before. on our way to the location i slowly come to a complete stop at a stop light only to hear a severe grinding in my brakes!

perfect! i need my car to fail this time because of the braking system. i was so paranoid and felt like the whole universe was against me (a little george costanza paranoia). i knew they were going to pull it around only to hear the grind and fail the car. 

well, the car past. they only checked the problems that registered of the last visit. 

but nowa bigger problem prevails...brakes. i only knew of one thing to do, google it, youtube it, find out how big of a problem i have on my hands. turns out brake pads were all i needed. they are not too expensive, around 40 euros, and changing them is easier than changing clothes. not that i am an expert but my buddy here in belgium helped me (thanks jon alderman).

lessons learned
1. don't freak out about things
2. someone else knows something about the problem
3. google it
4. don't just pay a garage to do the work

Saturday, October 12, 2013

rules about rules

i grew up with particular perspective. i didn't have older brothers and sisters, like my friends did. i didn't share in the experiences that my friends received having those older brothers and sisters. because of this i intentionally purposed in my life at a young age to give young kids that experience that i didn't have by being an older brother figure. this purpose developed into a desire to do more for kids in their development as people, which then turned into a desire to help families, which in turn formed the passion i now have for counseling. god is so good!

here are some things i found to be very wise which i intend (as best as i can) to instill in the raising of my boys in their teenage years.

i had help from 5 love languages for teens by dr. gary chapman.

1. rules should be as few as possible
too many rules have potential to be very overwhelming. there is a great chance a family with too many rules will have young people who don't remember what they are and thus breaking them quite a bit. having many rules means parents, you will be responsible for keeping up with all these rules. think about life, and think about how life is with too many rules, very very rigid. this is not an argument for not having rules, but instead, considering if you have too many that may actually be hindering growth in your young person.

ask yourself, "what are the really important issues," when forming rules. say "no" to those things that destroy and "yes" to those things that build.

2. rules should be as clear as possible
if the rules are ambiguous or unclear you will be guaranteed to have a confused young person. when the rule is clear young people will sure to be aware when they break the rule. i have been involved enough with young people to know that they like to argue. unclear rules will give them a "dog in the fight."

3. rules should be as fair as possible
this is difficult because, "what is fair?" cultures are different and even generations are redefining things so fast. none of us are perfect in our understanding of what is perfect. parents, don't give in when you are convinced the rule is for the well being and favoring growth of the young person. every time a sense of fairness is violated someone will be upset. parents should consider bending only if it seems the well being of the child will not be compromised. parents should also think how they engage in the conversation of "fair," with their child. don't cut off a discussion and enforce a rule without dealing with an anger issue of the young person. doing this will result in rejection and resentment of the authority position. hear young peoples concerns about fairness while making and forming the rules together.

i love kids
i love families
i love working towards fixing problems
i love healthy demonstrations of god's principles in an earth that has been fractured by sin.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

glimpse at omnipotence

i like to drive. when the family gets in the car and we are headed out somewhere, long distance or short it doesn't matter, i will without hesitation jump into the drivers seat. ok, i will admit that i do have a hard time sitting shotgun when liz is driving, but in my defense, it is not just her it is anyone driving. i just love having control of the wheel. even more than this i have grown to love driving a standard car again. i don't know how to explain it, i just feel like i have such control of the machine as i maneuver, with precision and safety, throughout the city.

i know only a few people who share the love for the drivers seat. i can recall in high school having friends older than i was and they would reach the driving age first. most of our hangouts would consist of them talking about how they were sick of driving my butt around. they would inform me that when i received my license that i was going to be driving a lot, you know, to make up for all the times they had to drive me around.

as a king, david had to regularly make decisions. especially decisions of great importance and priority for israel. david must have had many struggles with certain decisions knowing that they carried consequences. the great thing about our glimpse into the psalms is that we not only see david's practical struggles but also his spiritual struggles. we get a view into davids world which we understand, really, to be a great picture of god's sovereignty and omnipotence and less about a king who had great struggles.

i love the clarity of the shift in psalm 6 as we witness the ego of david slowly turn to the praise and admiration of a good god. in verse 6 david breaks and declares he is done and can't go on trying to figure this out. he releases a control over the circumstance and removes himself from the driver's seat. this identifies with me so well, as a man who enjoys to be in control and drive the machine.

in the emptiness of my despair god pours in with his omnipotence. a glimpse of god's omnipotence will give me a perspective of my circumstance for what it really is...

1. satan is a coward, a re-treating, and defeated enemy of righteousness

2. god's size easily overtakes the size of my problems which leaves no room for worry or anxiety

3. looking for god's goodness, consequently, strengthens discernment which prepares me for future decisions of challenging events