Monday, December 28, 2009

Wii

We have had a blessed Christmas time.  The kids got what they wanted (a Wii), we got some time off from work, and my parents came to visit Christmas day.  All in all, we had a great time.  Ate way too much, but had a great time anyway. 

With all that fun, I am ready to return to somewhat of a normal life.  School starts in a couple of weeks for everyone, work starts back tomorrow, and my parents leave for AL tomorrow.  Our boring average life is really a blessing in alot of ways.  And I for one am ready to get back to it. 

So here is to a great Christmas, glad to have seen you come, but even more glad to see you go.  Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finally!

Finally. Over. Holiday here. Rest. Ah!

I made it.  Our Christmas work is over and now it is time to get some much needed rest.  Looking forward to seeing my parents Christmas Day! And can't wait to see the kids faces that morning.  It should be one to remember.

Anyway, here's to you and yours during this time of year.  May God bless you and yours abundantly.

Grace and Peace

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Weary and Tired

I have to be honest with you all.  I need a huge break from the stresses of life.  I really wish I could just hide away for a while.  Not that anything bad is happening or has happened, but I am just weary.  Weary from work, school, etc....

Why do I get so weary?  I'm not sure really, I just go through these phases where I feel weak and don't really care about anything.  Deep inside I do care, but mentally and outwardly I just don't feel like exerting the effort it takes to care on a daily basis.  I know what your thinking, "Your going into the ministry, you shouldn't have those thoughts!"  I hate to break it to you, but this is reality.  Why do you think ministers fail on a regular basis?  Why are so many falling to immorality, to drugs, to alcohol and to other sinful activities?  Because they are weary too!  Thats no excuse I know, but we all get weary- regardless of occupation or calling, age, race, creed....you get the point.  These men of faith are no different than you and I except in one way: they feel they have no recourse in venting the feelings of weariness that are bringing them down.  Remember the next time your having "roast preacher" for Sunday lunch that he may be more weary than you are.  Cut him some slack.  He needs it.  And so do we all.

As for me, (I can't believe I am saying this) I am ready for Spring. 

Who said that? 

Yeah, it was me.  Mister I love winter and colder weather.  Honestly, it isn't the weather I'm sick of this time.  It is not having anything constructive to do at work.  That makes my weary feelings more intense.  I wish I could have the weather of now, but the work of July.  But, alas it is not to be.  For now, I will have to settle for being weary and just trudge through until things get better in my mind.  Maybe the holidays and the four day weekend coming up will help that weary feeling.  I hope so anyway.  Until then, Grace and Peace.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Trees?

I had a question posed to me the other day that I simply must ask you all.  Why do I allow the pagan symbols of the Christmas Tree and wreaths to be in my home? 

My question to you is this: do you feel pagan when you hang a wreath or do you feel convicted by the Holy Spirit when you decorate the tree in your house? I would love to hear what you have to say about the matter.  It is bothering me, not in a conviction sort of way, but am I participating in something evil and don't even know it?  Or is this just another attempt by Satan to side track me?

Let me know.

Finally Done!

I finally finished my first semester at Seminary!  I turned in my last take home final this afternoon and thereby ended Fall 09.  I don't know as of yet what my grades are going to be, but I'm leaning toward an A and a B with two pass classes thrown in for good measure.  8 hours down.  82 to go! 

Bring on 2010!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh my achin' brakes!

Well, it finally happened.  My brakes gave up the ghost this morning.  I was on my way to get some orange juice and a diet coke for breakfast at the nearby gas station.  I took my camera with me so I could get some snow pics of the park before it melted off.  As I was turning into the parking lot, I pressed the pedal to stop in the parking space and thats when it went all the way to the floor.  Thankfully, I was going slow and there is a sidewalk there to act as a bumper, or I would have taken out the Parks and Rec office.  Oh and to top it off the frozen snow/ice accumulation on my driver side window caused my window motor to break and now my window flops in the breeze.  Great- a two for one special! 

So, now the truck is in the shop (aprox. 700 worth of brake repairs) and I have a lovely redneck window on the driver's side.  Merry Christmas to me!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lights, and Santa, and Burr....Oh my!

At my job, we decorate a large park for the Christmas Holidays. Next week is the Grand Lighting and we are promoting it in the local papers. And of course that includes a photo op for our on-the-job Santa. "Santa" came to work today and had doctored up his beard and hair (and face) for the photo shoot. It was a little scary, I have to admit. We jokingly called him Santa Corpse. He really looked like the Ghost of Santas Past. Check him out and judge for yourself.







Thursday, December 3, 2009

And Then There Was White!

Well, I came home from work yesterday to have lunch. While I was eating, I decided to get my laptop out and check my email. So I grab the laptop set it on the table and fire it up. And then it happened....nothing. The computer came on, but only blank white screen. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! NO! Say it ain't so! So as any good computer guy will tell you, I rebooted to see if it was just a glitch or something. Press the button and again WHITE! Please tell me this is not happening?! I tried this process 4 times to no avail. Just plain old white and nothing else. WHITE. Well, I finish my lunch and run back to work, all the while seriously concerned over my laptop.

That evening, I got on my wife's computer and started a chat with an HP representative. For the next hour and a half, he proceeds to walk me through dismantling different parts of the laptop to isolate the problem. Turns out that the LCD screen died. Not really sure how that happened exactly but it is dead. So now I am waiting for a little box to arrive at the house to send my now deceased laptop to HP for repairs. And of course, they will have to wipe the harddrive clean because the computer is also acting strange (ontop of the screen being shot).

So after church, we scurry over to Wal-Mart to get a 8GB flash drive so I can transfer files from my laptop to the old computer. So I have to hook up the external monitor, startup in safe mode, and download my files to the flash drive. Then disconnect the monitor, reconnect to the cpu of the old computer, and transfer the files using the flash drive. WHEW! I'm tired just re-living it. Anyway, all the files I want to save are safe on this computer now (hopefully).

Hopefully by Christmas my laptop will be returned to me. And hopefully good as new. There are only two good things about the timing of the meltdown: (1)It is still under warranty (2)I finished all my papers before Thanksgiving and I only have 1 week of school left this semester. All in all it could have been WAY worse. Thanks God He at least let it happen now and not earlier or later.

Well, enough of the moaning and groaning. Grace and Peace

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Presentations

Last night was our group presentation in Interpersonal Skills. We had to do a presentation on the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have to say I think it went well: at least well enough to pass the assignment! We did our 12-15 minute presentation, but it turned out with discussion and all to be nearly one hour long! But enough about that, thankfully it is over!

I had a few questions today about Mary Magdalene. Who was she? What did she do? Was she the same woman who poured the perfume on Jesus's feet? What did I know about her? Well, honestly I didn't know much at all about this woman of the Bible. So tonight, I plan to research Ms. Mary and see what she is all about. Be looking soon for more information about it. I'd love to hear your take on it and what you know.

More to come. Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Muppets!

For all you muppets fans out there. Check out this funny video remake of "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Thankful III

35. Pay Days
36. Old Friends
37. Clean Garages
38. Time with my kids
39. Days off
40. Tom and Jerry
41. Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting
42. Scholarship Money!
43. My mother-in-law's Sweet Potatoe Casserole
44. My health
45. more to come.....

I'd love to hear what's on your list, so drop me a line.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful Part II

I just have to give a great big praise and thanks for what just happened! I just received an email confirming that I have been blessed with scholarship money to be used for next semester!!!! YEAH! Prais the Lord! Thank you Father for these generous benefactors and your provision for me and my family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Just another thing to be thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful!

When counselors face a bitter or angry individual, sometimes they suggest that the person do a little exercise. It goes something like this: whenever you think of something your thankful for, write it down. Later, go back and review it to keep your thankful attitude fresh and negativity down. So in honor of this week of thanks, I am going to do my version here:

1. My wife
2. My kids
3. My mom and dad
4. My Bible
5. Banana Pudding
6. Basketball
7. MSU
8. Gummie Bears
9. My laptop
10. Alaska
11. My bed
12. Hot Showers
13. Cool Weather
14. The Mountains
15. Hearing my children laugh
16. Cokes
17. Caramel Cake
18. Brushing my teeth
19. Forgiveness
20. Christ's Sacrifice
21. Flying
22. August 9
23. July 1995
24. December 2000
25. April 2005
26. Freedom from Sin
27. My Truck
28. Pizza
29. Sweet Tea
30. Porch Swings
31. USA
32. Music
33. Star Wars 1-6
34. Sleep
35. TO BE CONTINUED.....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What is friendship with the World?

I would love to hear what your definition of friendship with the world is?

James 4 is our topic scripture. Let me know what you think?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

At Your Feet

We finally got our new Casting Crowns last night. We pre-ordered it at Lifeway. It is a really great CD. My favorite is #5 At Your Feet. It speaks of being in His presence at His Feet. I have days where being in His presence is not even close to my thoughts or desires, but then there are those days where seeing Him is all I want.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I want to experience that feeling of being consumed with Him daily. Not during those difficult times only, but every day. When things are good or bad, I want to have my eyes fixed on Him. I wish I understood why I struggle with this area of my walk. I love Him, I really do, however, my desires and actions rarely align. How can I get to the point where this world holds nothing for me? How can I walk in the purpose He has for me?

I have a Bible program on my computer called E-Sword, and on it I have a daily devotion from C.H. Spurgeon. It fits our current discussion, and it says:
“O that I knew where I might find him!”
- Job 23:3
In Job’s uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father’s face. His first prayer is not “O that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!” nor even “O that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!” but the first and uppermost cry is, “O that I knew where I might find HIM, who is my God! that I might come even to his seat!” God’s children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. “He that hath made his refuge God,” might serve as the title of a true believer. A hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave, would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true heir of heaven, he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the bosom of the God who frowned upon him. Job’s desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation. The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, “O that I knew where I might find my God!” Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth’s hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings, we rejoice in him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God’s presence with us. Only let us enjoy his smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for his dear sake.

This is so very true. Why do we wait for those trials to really turn to Him for help and strength? I am grateful that He has been there when I needed to turn back to Him, but how much more grateful for all He has provided I would be if I just took a few more moments each day at His feet!? That last line really gets me:
Only let us enjoy his smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for his dear sake.

Friends, lets spend more time in His Word, praying, meditating, fasting, and seeking His Face. Let us come before His throne of grace and bow at His Feet, because I just have a feeling that He will be there waiting to impart great strength, wisdom, and power. Only let us come and bow at His Feet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do you really want to know?

Last night in class, we discussed whether or not we really want to know God and be in His presence. And of course, we aall said that we do. But just as our professor asked us last night: do you really?

I was definately challenged last night. I was faced with a tough question. Now don't think I'm being anti-Christ or anti-God, but I'm not sure I want to "know" God?
I have to be honest the thought of knowing God is great, but I struggle with the strength and determination to do what it takes to know Him and stay in His presence. None of the things required to seek and know Him are difficult, but when it comes down to putting my faith into actions, well that gets hard.

Far too often I want God plus ____________. (fill in the blank). I am a fearful person when faced with humbly coming to Him for help. I am proud in that regard. And as it says, God opposes the proud. Maybe that is why so many of us (me included) are weak and feeble in our walk?! He is opposing us. He just wants us to rely on Him and allow Him to do what we cannot. We simply need God. Not God and _________. We just need to tell Him we are afraid and ask for help. He says all through scripture that He is willing and able to help us. We simply have to rest in Him. That's when true "knowing" God occurs.

It is in these "knowing" times that we experience His grace, mercy, and power to overcome. We understand what it means to live by the Spirit. We are filled with the power from His Word, and we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah. But still I fear. But still I hold back. But...and on and on I go.

I'm certainly hope that I am not the only one to feel this way. And maybe by writing it down here, others will be encouraged to press on. If you struggle, you are not alone. Just let me know, maybe we can figure out how to walk better together.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Veterans Day Stuff!



Shelli Jones Baker painted this work in honor of our country's Christian heritage. I copied this from another site and patched them together for you to see. If you like it check out the artist's other works Here! I'm sure she would appreciate it!

You can also see the original work in Eureka Springs, Arkasas at the Sacred Arts Center. This is where they re-enact the passion week of Christ. Check it out sometime!

Thank you!

This is a tribute to our Veterans. Thanks for your time and sacrifice. Especially to my father (Army) and my father-in-law (Army-Vietnam). Thanks and God Bless you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buzz Said the Bee!

When our oldest was smaller, I used to read him this little book called "Buzz Said the Bee!" Great little book for kids. But that is not what I meant by today's title. While at work today, I was stung twice on the head by an unknown assailant. I'm not sure if it was a bee or wasp or hornet, but I am definately sure it was painful! The side of my head puffed a little, but I mostly just had stabbing pains shooting through my head. That was about ten this morning, but my head still feels like I just had the bee stuck in my head.

Now, I've been stung lots of times before, but this is the first time I have ever been stung more than once at one time. I am just glad that there is Benadryl and ibuprofen.

But enough about my head. Last night was class night. I had my second test in Interpersonal Relationship Skills for Ministers. I did much better this time. I think I may have pulled off an A this time, but time will tell. I also turned in my biography for W.A. Criswell. What a job that turned out to be! I spent most of Saturday working on it (Thanks Nana and Pop). This semester has been really great for me. Low stress for the most part, which is what I needed since I am just getting back into school again. I would highly recommend this IRSM book for any ministers or soon-to-be-ministers. It has alot of really good information about how to handle certain situations in and out of the church. It has good stuff to know, especially designed to help you keep from doing something dumb in sensitive situations.

On a more serious note, please pray for one of my fellow students. We will call him "A". "A" has serious kidney problems and is in need of a transplant. He is a great guy who really loves the Lord. Pray that "A" will be restored and that he would get his transplant soon.

Until next time, remember Philippians 4:13!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Miss It!



This week has been SUPER long! And today seemed as though it were twice as long as normal days. The stresses of work, the beauty of the current weather, fatigue, and general fall restlessness are making each day drag by slowly. And as I sit here, tired, sore, sleepy, I am reminded of a beach not too far from here. A beach that was and is so peaceful. Beautiful and clean. Serenity at it's finest! Oh how I wish I were there! watching my children play in the surf. Watching the sun rise and set into the deep dark blue of the ocean. Feeling the carefree brush of the ocean breeze. I miss it.

Now I'm more of a mountain-kind-of-guy, but this year we went to the beach. And it was a great time. And I miss it. I only wish that everyday life were like that weekend. No cares, no worries, no bosses, no deadlines, nothing but relaxation. It makes me eager for "home". I can only imagine what it will be like to sit my the River of Life forever. To be in the presence of my Sovereign Lord every moment. I can only imagine what painless joy and freedom will be like. I miss it.

Yeah, I know: your not there yet, so you can't miss it. Yes I can! Right now as I type, my two children are playing with a neighbor who thinks it is cool to play in the storm drain. Panic and fear are the emotions at this point. What if my kid falls in and gets hurt? What is he thinking about anyway, storm drains can't be fun? I won't have to worry about that in Heaven. Let me go even further, I have a splitting headache right now and I have had it for about four hours. Won't have those in Heaven either. Bills, money woes, health concerns, work issues, family pains, tragedies, loss: any of these and countless other horrible and painful events won't be in Heaven. Not even close! So do you see how I can miss something that I haven't see or experienced yet. Anticipation alone makes me miss it. I can't wait to see Jesus face to face. Embrace my Lord and fall at His feet and just worship! No order of worship, no hymns, no sermon, no angry church lady, no budget concerns, no deacons, no contemporary or old-school worship styles-just Jesus, me and true heartfelt thanksgiving to the One who died for me!

Believe me, I miss it. I am so ready to experience Him in His fullness. I am so ready to have Him say to me, "Well done, enter in forevermore." I am so ready for freedom and peace. I miss it I tell you. I just miss it. I hope you do to. Do you want to go with me? Do you want to miss it? Or will you miss it? Please friends, don't miss it. Miss it now, long for it. Seek Him, serve Him, miss Him. Don't wait until you truly do miss it and can't do anything about it.

Do you know Him? Have you made it your purpose in life to serve Jesus? That's the only way you will know what I mean when I say, "I miss it." Please don't miss out on the joy of Heaven!

I miss the beach. I miss home(Heaven). Do you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's not about me or my boss!

I am currently working in a secular job while attending Seminary part-time. I have to be honest with you, I totally dislike my job, and I even loathe it at times. I mean I am SOOOO blessed to have a job in this economy, but I struggle with it daily.

I have a co-worker who is great. He is a Messianic Jew and very devoted. Strong in his beliefs and we get along great. But the other guys can sometimes be difficult. They are not bad people, just not on the same page as me and my friend. My boss on the other hand is totally difficult. He just doesn't get our beliefs, and even worse he thinks everything is about him. I only wish I could get through to him that it isn't about him. As Rick Warren said in The Purpose Driven Life, it is all about HIM!

How true. It is all about Him. But the sad part of life here on earth is that most people never get that. We all at some point in life think the world revolves around us and our problems. But even then, it is still all about Him. I still get in that selfish state way too often. Thankfully, His grace is still able to cleanse me and redirect me in the path of righteousness. We could all be on that path and stay on it better if we only followed the Lord's commands. Love the Lord your God with all you have and love others as yourself (Mark 12:29-31).

Why is that so hard to do? The loving God part is easy. But the loving others as yourself part is a task unlike any other. God makes it so easy to love Him by the offering of His Son on the cross. People not so much. God give us so much to be thankful for, people rarely do. God gives, people take. God loves, people hate. God lifts up, people bring down. God is forgiving, people hold grudges.

I think you get the idea. But Jesus clearly stated in that passage what He wants us to do. Where is the disconnect then between doing the first half and ignoring the second half of that commandment? Willingness to do what is best, even if it doesn't benefit us at all. That is the problem as far as I see it. We have lost the desire to help others without hope of recompense or gain. Even in the Church.

Wake up people! He only asks a few simple things of us. Lets get back to our first love and warm-up to doing His will, lest He say to us "depart from me for I know you not". Wake up! To me and you and all who call on His name!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why the Bad Attitude?

For several weeks now I have struggled with a bad attitude. And I am not really sure why. I can point to several factors that are contributing to my attitude, but the source eludes me.

My work for starters is a constant assault on my ability to stay positive. The amount of pressure, work, and difficult co-workers make the pay I receive seem WAY TOO SMALL! Too little appreciate for too much work. Too little respect for respectable work. Too little of really good things to make this a job I long to do.

Another problem area for me is my future. What does God want of me? Where does He want me? When? How? I am so clueless right now as to the direction He is leading me. Sure, I'd love to say I have it all figured out. I mean I'm in Seminary, so surely I have a double portion of understanding and wisdom from the Lord. NOT! I would love to say I have the whole thing under control and I am just around the corner from fullfilling all He has for me to do. NOT! I barely know my name some days, let alone how to figure out the next move.

Don't misunderstand me, I know He has called me to a task: to spread His Word about His Son, Jesus. But what that looks like specifically for me, I just don't know yet. That's not to say I don't have ideas of what I'd like, but is it His plan? That is what I struggle with in this whole uncertain journey. Is it His plan, His call, His leading or just another foolish attempt on my part to better how I feel about myself?

Some days, I know unswervingly that He is calling out to me. I reflect on the words in Jeremiah 1:4-10. I know from this passage His plans are real and true. But then there are those days, I doubt. Why? Is this part of the test? Am I passing or am I failing miserably? Time will ultimately tell. I only hope that I don't miss the mark somewhere along the way.

But enough of the grumbling, pray for my walk. Pray that I see the path and stick to it. Pray that His will will be seen and done. To His Glory both now and forevermore! Amen!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Let There Be Posts!

Well here I am. Ready to begin my blogging experience. While I am surely no Shakespeare, Steinbeck, or even Dr. Suess, I will do my best to relate the emotions, struggles, and victories that I experience as a Seminary Student. A special note of thanks goes out to my wife and two children for their support in this blogging effort and in pursuing what God has for me. Thanks for your time and love in this endeavor.

Now on to the Blog title....I know you must be wondering what is the deal with "Making Things Grow"? Well it is two-fold. First, it relates to what I do for a living (for now). I am a parks supervisor and turfgrass manager. So making things grow is pretty much what I do. And secondly, it refers to my life verse, 1 Corinthians 3:7- "So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." It is my desire that whether I am growing grass or growing His church, that He alone will get the glory. I know and believe that this verse is true. I am nothing, but God through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, is the one who can and will "make things grow". I only have to plant or water or whatever else the Lord asks me to do.

Don't get me wrong, more often than not, I despise what I am doing for a living. In fact, most of the time I do, but I also believe that He has a better life awaiting me here and in Heaven. All He is asking me to do is plant or water. Nothing more. Nothing less. I can't make them grow. He can. Planting and watering are in fact dirty menial jobs. And unless you are at a high-profile nursery, ballfield, or golf course, you are rarely recognized for this work. And similarly in the ministry, planting and watering are thankless jobs. Menial, dirty, tiresome. But He asks us to do it. Not because He is lazy and doesn't want to do the work, but He wants us to be co-workers(co-laborers) with Him. Ultimately bringing Him and His Son glory and honor, reaping the harvest of souls for His Kingdom.

Let me end by saying this: I make things look better, greener, healthier, faster ball rolls, improve wear tolerance, and the list goes on and on. I can teach the Word of Truth, I can lead prayers, I can disciple people, etc....But, I can't make any of these things happen with out Him leading the way. He truly is the only one who "Makes Things Grow", whether it be plants, animals, or people.

So join me in this grand task. If He is calling you to plant, do it! If He is calling you to water, do it! And then stand back and watch what He harvests. To Him be the Glory both now and forever! Amen!