About Me

What should I say? I hope by reading my blog you come to learn who I am. I always want Christ first in my life. I want to consistently show the fruit of the spirit in my life. I want others to be blessed by what I go through and learn from it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Foot or Crutch?

I'm slightly amazed at how long it's been since I last posted. I'm not terribly surprised that I had slacked off some, but to realize it's been three months (to the day) since I last posted, means I'm slacking off too much.

I've had a busy summer, since I've posted last, I've spoken at camp for two weeks, helped out with two different vacation Bible schools, and moved into my own apartment. It has been busy, but some things have recently gotten me asking if I'm staying comfortable in doing things that come easy to me.

Just this morning I watched the movie "Soul Surfer" and I loved it. This movie was actually so well done, it was hard to watch what with the amputation of my foot being less than a year ago. For those of you who don't know the story, it's about Bethany Hamilton, a young girl from Hawaii who had her left arm bitten off by a shark. This movie was based on a true story, and I don't know how much of the movie was actually true, but that doesn't really take away how inspiring it was and how I felt it pretty accurately, mirrored my own feelings dealing with the amputation of my right foot.

By the end of the movie, Bethany was back up and surfing, and while the movie showed some struggles that she had in getting back up on a surf board, I imagine it was probably a bit harder that the movie portrayed. One of the first questions Bethany asked was when she could get back to surfing, and while her confidence wavered for a bit she did get back up on a surf board and eventually...what, you think I'm going to tell you the ending? Go see the movie yourself!

But this got me thinking...am I using my prosthetic foot as a crutch? Has it become, in a way, convenient to have this foot? Does it give me the easy way out of doing things I don't want to do?

Another thing that happened to me happened about a month ago, I was speaking at camp on the book "Do Hard Things" by Brett and Alex Harris, a great book that I recommend. While I was there, I was sharing...let's face it, i was complaining to a friend about how it was hard to lose weight because I couldn't move around much. That's not true, I can move around just fine, I just need to remember to keep my stump in mind so I don't overdo it too much, and I need to wear my boot if I move too much.

I'm not missing the irony there...

As I'm speaking to a group of about thirty teenagers about doing hard things, I'm complaining about something that's hard. This friend challenged me to keep at it, that is is possible, and she then challenged me to then lose ten pounds in about a month, and I have, at last weigh in, I was at 9.8 pounds down from where I was at that time, and since my next weigh in day is this Saturday, I expect to have passed that ten pounds by then.

So here's my challenge to myself, and I'm putting it out there in cyberspace for all to see...I will lose 36 more pounds by Christmas. Christmas is just over four months away, and I hope to have lost more, but with just over 18 weeks to go, and with Weight Watchers telling me that .5-2 pounds is a good weight loss goal I'm going with the 2 pounds a week for 18 weeks = 36 pounds.

Will you help keep me focused? I know I'll have to be really good with Thanksgiving in there, but I hope to celebrate my birthday (Dec. 26) with some new, smaller clothes.

I'd love it if people joined me in this, not necessarily with losing 36 pounds, but pick a weight loss goal for Christmas and meet it.

God bless you

Monday, May 16, 2011

It Really Does Get Better

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   Luke 11:9, 10

I’ve been noticing a new commercial recently; it’s about the “It Gets Better” project. It’s a whole movement aimed at eliminating the bullying of an entire group of people; specifically it’s for the people who are being bullied for being gay, and is in response to the rash of suicides by homosexual young people because they were bullied. I applaud the thought behind this, bullying is awful and should be eliminated.

Before I go any further let me say, this entry is not about my stance on homosexuality. Those of you who know me, know where I stand, those of you who don’t, well I hope this makes it clear where I stand on any topic where it comes to people being bullied. My goal is to show God’s love to all…period.

I know what it feels like to be looked down upon, what it feels like to be the outcast, what it feels like to be an outcast simply because of something about you. I have been overweight as long as I can remember. I remember being picked on at school, out on the street, at the mall, and even at summer camp. Even now, I have to deal with the looks from people, the comments and questions from young kids who don’t know better, and often sitting alone in a public place because no one will sit next to you, it’s almost as though they think being overweight is something you can catch, like a cold. I have to see the stuff that Hollywood puts out, where it’s still ok to make fun of fat people. I’m pretty sure I’m the one demographic that Hollywood has no problem knocking down; an overweight, Christian man.

I don’t share this with you because I’m looking for pity, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I used to want people to pity me, because I was that desperate for positive reinforcement. I say this so you know that I know what it feels like to be put down, to be ridiculed, to be ostracized, to be marginalized, and ignored, to be bullied.

I want to share with you my answer; it wasn’t to simply gut it out and wait for an indefinite period of time.

We all have to find our identity in something, and I think we have already lost when we find our identity in the very characteristic that other people choose to harp on, either by being simply inconsiderate or downright mean and hurtful. I’ve already lost if I choose to identify myself simply as one who is overweight, or one who is attracted to women, an amputee or any human characteristic or trait. I choose to find my identity in Christ.

My life is far from perfect, my last year has been, at times, pretty terrible, but I don’t find my identity in any of that. I choose instead to find my identity in the One who died on the cross for me. Like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

I have a positive outlook on life, I choose to live a joyful life. And it isn’t because I just waited to get out of high school or because I just waited for a period in my life to end, it’s because I gave my life to Christ and I understand what my identity is in Him, not what the world thinks about me. And I better understand how Paul can say things like; “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) while he was being persecuted and in prison and constantly under the threat of death.

Look to Christ for your identity, I’d be happy to help you out with that journey. I’m sure there are any number of churches around where you are who would also love to help you out. I’m not saying it’ll all go away, people will still be stupid, uncaring and mean, but you won’t be looking to them to find your place in life, you’ll be looking to the only One who knows you inside and out and still loves and accepts you, unconditionally.

God bless you my friend.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

God Glorified

"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8

I know I've said it before, but I love my devotional. It's my Christian history devotional and it's awesome. Today I was reading about James Montgomery Boice, the former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Back on Good Friday, in the year 2000, Boice found out he had cancer, a very aggressive form of the disease, and that his prognosis wasn't good at all. I want to share with you a portion of his final sermon, preached on May 7, 2000...

"Should you pray for a miracle? Well, you're free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to perform miracles - and He certainly can - is also able to keep you from getting that problem in the first place...Above all, I would say pray for the glory of God."

Long before reading this entry, or really reading about Boice at all, that was my attitude about what was going on with my right foot. I know people were praying for healing, heck, I was one of them. but I also knew people were convinced that healing was going to happen, that I wouldn't lose my foot, that I wouldn't pray. More than healing, I wanted God to be glorified in my life, I hope I've made that clear as you've read this blog. More than any of my wants, I want God to be honored in my life. And when I fall short of that, I'm ok with wanting to want that God will be honored in my life, because God is great and He can work that into honoring Him.

I want to share with you the very last little bit of that sermon section...'If you think of god glorifying Himself in history and you say, "Where in all of history had God most glorified Himself?' the answer is that He did it at the cross of Jesus Christ, and it wasn't be delivering Jesus from the cross, though He could have...And yet that's where God is most glorified."

I love that message. At any point, Jesus could have come off that cross, but He didn't. He didn't because of His love for me and His love for you. I hope that you know that love. I hope that you know the sacrifice Jesus made for you and that you have made Him Lord of your life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Than Enough

"And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” Exodus 36:3b-5

More than enough, what a thought...I know the Israelites are often criticized for their wayward wanderings in the desert, and I am fully aware that this passage is just slightly after they had also melted a bunch of gold down to make a calf to worship, but what a thought.

How does the church today stack up? How do I stack up? Do I bring more than enough or just enough? I'm not just talking about money here, I've just recently brought my giving up to where I think is appropriate (Note: this is not a discussion on tithing, I may talk about that at some other point) but I know, as far as my life is concerned, I don't give more than enough. I struggle to set aside an hour a day to focus on prayer. And it's not because I'm super busy, it's because I get sucked into other things, like TV or Wii.

That's why this month, I decided to set aside an hour every day to make sure I'm focused on God, an hour to pray, read the Bible, maybe read something else that can help my focus to get where it should be. Does that mean that I get to forget about God the rest of the day? Absolutely not! But I want to make sure that I set aside a portion of my day to pray, that God gets my firstfruits, not the leftover dregs.

Join with me, let's make May a month to focus on prayer, to set our focus on where it should be. I don't know, call it "May Pray" or something like that. But whatever you want to call it, let's refocus on Him.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where Have I Been?

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Hello all you out there in cyberspace,

It's been quite a while since I've put anything up here, and I'd like to say it's because I was so busy that I didn't have time...but that's not the case. I wish I could keep remembering the verse I put up there, but I forget. I wish I would allow God to fulfill all my needs, but I don't, I look elsewhere. I'm trying to figure out how to say what I want to say...

Originally, I was going to write about how awesome it was that when the call went out to gather materials for the Israelites to build the tabernacle they had more than they needed and had to turn people away, but that's not what's really on my heart.

Years ago, when it came to dating, I started praying differently. Instead of praying that God would send "her" my way, I started praying for contentment. I started praying that I would be content whatever the situation, and that's what I want.

It's funny, I can see that pattern that every time I forget that God can supply all my needs, some dating website gets thirty bucks from me. That verse up there is in response to the gifts the Philippians sent to Paul, but I think it can apply to far more than just physical needs, far more than just financial needs, but how often do we forget that.

I've been able to see God meeting my financial needs, that's a great benefit of being a missionary, you get to see how God comes in to save the day. I've been able to see how God's healed my physically, if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out almost all of my other blog entries. But I keep forgetting that God's got my companionship needs taken care of as well.

It's kinda tough being 35 and single, with my last relationship being over a decade ago. Do I want "that special someone" to come into my life? Sure I do, but more than that, I want what God wants for me. I want to be content in God, and when that doesn't work, I'm OK with just wanting to want to be content in God.

I think that applies to far more than just relationships, but that's where it's hitting my life right now.

Lord, let me be content in you, and just you if that's what you call me to.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Just Want to be Faithful

"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'" Mark 12:28-30

"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8

I have been reading a new devotional this year, it's a devotional about church history. It's great. I'm not always super great with remembering dates and stuff like that and I never did really great at history in school, but I love the overall story of history. I love to find patterns in what people do and to seek out what made a particular person successful or what had the biggest impact on their life.

As I read through my Christian history devotional the one thing that sticks with me the most is that everyone in that book simply purposed in their heart to be faithful. I haven't read yet about someone who sat down one day and said, "I'm going to be the greatest preacher this world has ever seen!" And there are some big names in this book, names like Billy Graham, Kurt Warner, Keith Green and James Montgomery Boice. The theme that comes up again and again is that these people purposed in their heart to simply be faithful.

I think we have a choice, we can purpose in our heart to simply be faithful to God or we can choose to be faithful to ourselves. At some point, we need to stop and say, "God, I choose to be faithful to you. I simply choose to love You with all my heart, soul, mind and  strength." It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does have to be real

I chose a while ago that I will simply follow God and be faithful to Him and not myself, but I proclaim it today; I will simply be faithful to God. I don't care if that means I have to flip burgers or scrub floors for the rest of my life. I don't care if I have to lose my other foot. I choose to simply put my faith in God and accept His will for my life.

Will you join me? Let's see where it takes us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Awesome Young People

"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

I work with some pretty amazing people. It certainly takes a special kind of person to go out week after week with Coastlands Consultants but I am thinking specifically of the young people I get to go out with. Don't get me wrong, I love the whole team, but I have been particularly amazed by the barely 20-somethings I get to minister with.

I often get to see them display a maturity far past what I displayed at that point in my life and they are so committed to following Christ and His lead in what they do, I sometimes just think about how blessed I am to minister alongside them. These guys are the kind of people I wish I was at that age.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

He Chose Me

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
   he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
   out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
   and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
   a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
   and put their trust in him."
Psalm 40:1-3

I was reading this Psalm this morning and I thought that it was a very descriptive picture of what happens when we are saved. Whether we know it or not, and I know some people that might be offended by me saying this, we are stuck in a slimy, miry pit, before Christ saves us.In many ways, it's beautiful, what happens to us. I love to think about it because it shows a picture of a loving God, one who would descend into the miry pit to get us.

I follow the reformed way of thinking, to put it very simply, in the debate of predestination vs. free will, I side with predestination. I hate to say it that way because sometimes those of us on that side can get a bad rap, we are thought of as uncaring, unhappy and even sometimes morose. Those of you who know me, know that doesn't describe me even a little bit. I think that those Calvinists who are angry and unhappy just don't get it. It's not that we believe in an uncaring God, one who arbitrarily decides to punish some and make them go to Hell, it's that we all deserve Hell, and God has elected to save some of us. Personally, I find it slightly overwhelming when I think that God chose me.

I know some of you who read this don't agree with me, and you might take offense at what I've written and I'm sorry if I offended you, but this is what was on my heart today.

It's been a while since I ended an entry with song lyrics, but today I think I will, and you'll probably figure out why.

God bless you!

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You’ve taken me from the miry clay
You've set my feet upon the Rock, and now i know

I love you, I need you,
Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go
My Savior, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Future is Out of My Hands...

The following is an e-mail I wrote to a friend. Normally I would write an original blog entry, but this letter sums up what I was going to write again anyway. I'm not going to include my friend's name, I'll just say he's going through some pretty tough times right now...


I am, of course praying for you. I know there a lot of people that are praying for you.

I want to share a passage with you, that I'm sure you know, but it's a verse that gave me great hope when I was going through the decision about what to do with my foot.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:26-28

Specifically, it was verse 28 that brought me the comfort. I was, and you are, looking down a hallway that looks very dark, with not a lot of hope down there. But I had to be faithful; I had to trust that the Bible was true, was accurate, and applied to me. It's not easy, but this is really where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our faith, are we going to trust that God not just knows the future, but He knows the future because He plans the future, and it will work out for His glory.

This is not just the place where you faith becomes more important in your life, but it also gives you the opportunity to make your faith even more real to the people around you. We only have to look to Paul to see an example of this in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

We both have a dark cloud hovering over us, yours seems darker than mine with all that you are going through, and I don't know what's going to happen with my other foot yet. But what I do know is that God loves both of us, God wants what's best for us, and whatever happens, it will work for God's glory, so we should be rejoicing in that."

I hope this brings all of you comfort. This is something that I talked about several times this week as I was out with Coastlands. And that is a huge blessing in and of itself, I had a wonderful week with Coastlands, and I look forward to more weeks in the future.

Also, I get my car set up with hand controls this week so soon I'll be able to drive again!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Simply Trust

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
   but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
 They are brought to their knees and fall,
   but we rise up and stand firm." Psalm 20:7, 8

I think this verse speaks for itself, so no commentary from me.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seeking Meekness

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

"The surest way to assure the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" attributed to Edmund Burke

I look at the attitude of so many Christians today and I feel bad for them, because I feel they have gotten it wrong with their attitude on meekness. I know they mean well, and I know they don't want to hurt feelings, and I can appreciate that and I think they're trying to live like they think the Bible tells them to, and I think that is admirable...but I still think they've gotten it wrong. While it is admirable for someone to want to live out what the Bible says, it's extremely important to get that right, and I think that those Christian doormats out there are missing something.

Sure, the Bible says a few things about meek people...Psalm 37:11 "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity." and Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth." to name a few. Two verses that are very similar, but don't really speak to the character of someone who is meek. I think verses like Zephaniah 3:12 speak a bit more to what meekness is; "But I will leave within you the meek and humble. The remnant of Israel will trust in the name of the LORD."

There is a definite similarity between meekness and humility, but I think it is too easy to take them too far. The Bible speaks a lot to forgiveness and humility (and please note, it's not "humbleness" it's "humility") but nothing about being a doormat. If we look at our best example of living a Christ-like life, Jesus, he was by no means a doormat, he very gently made his point, at times like when the woman was caught in adultery, and at times was forceful about it, like when he went tipping over tables in the synagogue.

The key is to find the balance in between being walked all over and being a bull in a china shop. I can't say that I've found that balance, but I know there is one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Overcoming Trouble

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
   and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
   and my blessing on your descendants." Isaiah 44:3

I love verses like the above one, while it was originally a promise to Israel, I think it still holds true today. I think where a lot of people get into trouble is when they only look at verses like the one above and always expect their live to be easy. People tend to forget that while God promises us a victorious life, he never promised us an easy life. Look specifically to John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Looking at this verse, we can see that we are actually promised a hard life, but what we need to realize is that our reward won't be here on Earth. You can't live an easy life as a reward for a life you haven't lived yet.

Today's entry is brief, but contains an important lesson, life isn't easy, but we know it can be victorious. I've referenced Romans 8:28 before, but that's where I point to when I need to make sense of something I can't make sense of. All things work for the glory of God, not some things, not even most things, all things. 

This is where I need to keep looking to make sense of what's happened to me in the last year.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Either/Or? Nope, Both/And

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
   But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." James 2:14-18

First of all, for those of you who follow this blog, I'm sorry it's been so long since my last blog entry. I'd like to say it's because I've been so busy, but I really have no excuse. The only reason I haven't been blogging is because I've slacked off with my devotional time. There is certainly no good excuse to neglect the reading of God's word, in fact what I write about today might touch on this.

Anyway, on to the entry...

This past few months, more than any other period in recent history, I've been the recipient of the generosity of my fellow man. And as I was reading the above passage with my Bible study group last night, I got to thinking of how blessed I've been by people putting their faith into actions.

First of all, I know a lot of people might point at this verse and say exactly what the someone in the passage said; "this passage is obviously saying that it's the works that get you into Heaven, and if you want to believe that, that's fine for you, but I believe it's my faith and since I have that faith, I'm all set." And then you have the other side of the coin, where someone will say; "Look at all the stuff I've been doing, I'm involved in this ministry at church, I do this and that, I've done enough stuff that I'm definitely going to get into Heaven." The mistake that both of these people are making is that it's not an either/or situation, it's a both/and situation.

James is saying that you can't have true faith without it flowing out into your life. I have been blessed with wonderful friends who let their faith flow out into their life every day. I've been blessed with monthly supporters who have continued to support me even when I haven't been able to go out with Coastlands, and I have friends who, even though they can't financially support me, they pick me up and drive me places and make sure I can get to things. In both cases I can see how their faith is being lived out in their actions.

So my challenge to all of us today is to make sure our faith is being lived out in our actions. And I promise I'll be writing more often.

God bless you!