Back in Town

May 12, 2010

Jessica and I have returned from showing off our daughter McKenna to our family and friends back home in Michigan.  And of course, they loved her!  How could they not?

This trip was by far the best time Jessica and I have had while in Michigan.  The relentless pressure from our parents and grandparents for our return to West Michigan made us feel loved; however, can’t say just yet that moving back is God’s plan for us.

The reality is–with the arrival of McKenna–the desire to move back home has increased (our family is taking full advantage of our temporarily weak mind setting).

I understand that we experience one life, and one life only on this side of Heaven, and family is beyond important to Jessica and me.  As much as I want to settle down and buy a house and spend the rest of my life comfortably positioned in West Michigan, I can’t help but think that there is so much more to this life.

Christianity in many ways has lost its edge.  There is no adventure, no excitement, no fun.  Is that a result from the comfortable lifestyle that many Christians want?  Buy a house, work hard, don’t complain–much anyways? 

I can’t stand by and watch my life fade away little by little while God is looking on–shaking His head thinking “if only you knew the greatness I desire for you.”  I believe God wants to do something amazing and He is looking for this generation to step up and conduct a movement of God that has never been experienced.

Excellence in All Things

April 30, 2010

I desire to be the best.  Plain and simple.  The greatest, the man, the most awesome, the most awesome greatest person that ever existed.

Man, glad I got that off my chest.

My wife made a little comment to me yesterday that smacked me in the face (I hate it when Jesus uses her to show me things that are right in front of my face, I would rather Him use a complete stranger).

She said, “You know, you are always saying ‘do your best, be the best, out work everyone else, ask Jesus for something amazing'”  The list could go on.  Then she told me that I expect the absolute best out of myself with everything except in class.  I am perfectly fine with a B.  That is pretty much my goal. 

Not an A, but a B.

I asked myself why this was.  I came up with–it is not worth the extra time and effort to receive that A.  That’s it.  Not that I couldn’t do it, but I just don’t want to put forth the effort.

What part of your life are you settling for a B because you just don’t want to produce the effort necessary to get that A?

Love Vs Obedience

April 29, 2010

Great time with Jesus this morning.  Have you ever had those moments where you sensed His presence?

It was nothing planned or constructed–I had some extra time sitting in my car, and opened up my Bible to John 13.  I read John 13 and nothing really struck me or stood out.

Then I got to John 14.  Jesus started speaking.  The verses that stood out were: John 14:15, John 14:21, & John 14:23.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  — John 14:15

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”  — John 14:21

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.  My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”  — John 14:23

You can see from the repetitive nature (all within 8 verses) of this idea of love and obedience that Jesus found the relationship between the two very important.  I think many times we become infatuated with one or the other…we focus on Jesus is only love or Jesus demands obedience.

I think the scripture is clear that the two have a significantly close relationship and I don’t think you can have one without the other.

The question I was asking in my journal this morning is…is it my love for Jesus that generates obedience or is it my obedience that produces love?

Baby Christian

April 28, 2010

Life is completely different with a newborn.  Holy crap! is about all I can say to adequately describe how I feel.

One very cool thing about having a brand new little baby girl is the amount of praise given out in my home.  Everything she does is amazing, and never sisyphean.  Every time McKenna lifts her head up, hoots and hollers go off!  Every time she burps, I yell “that’s my girl!”  Every time she passes some gas, I praise her by telling her she takes after her mom (hahaha–I’m in trouble for this one :))

So now I am asking the question “is this how God feels about brand new Christians?”

Is God cheering every little thing a new believer does?  Each good decision?  Each attempt to pray?  Each time they go to church?  If they read the Bible 2 times in a month, is God yelling at the top of His lungs, “THAT’S MY BOY!” 

An even bigger question…”Does God ever stop cheering for His kids?”  Even now, after growing substantially in my faith I can sometimes feel God cheering.

Greatest feeling in the world–when we fall down, pick ourselves back up and God is right there with a “THAT’S MY BOY!”

Sisyphean–after a king in Greek Mythology who was cursed to push huge bolder to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll back down and had to repeat this forever…so you can prolly guess what it means, endlessly fruitless.

Thomas Edison by the age of nine had read The Penny Encyclopedia, Sears’s History of the World, Hume’s History of England, and Gibbon’s Rome.

Crazy, I know.  But Thomas Edison, while reading these books would not pass a word that he didn’t know without figuring out what the word meant.  I know from college textbooks that if you don’t know a word, you just skip over it (or is that just me?).

In an attempt to catch up to Thomas Edison, I plan on matching his effort and determination by…implementing a new word in each blog post from here on out.

I know what you’re thinking…that I am so smart for thinking of this idea.  Well let me stop you there, because this is actually my brilliant wife’s idea.

Either way, I thought it would be a great way for me to broaden my vocabulary.  This way I can seem smarter to the people I natter with and to the people who read this blog–all 4 of’em–my mom doesn’t even read…  😦  Don’t worry, I’m in counseling about it  🙂

Natterto talk socially without exchanging too much information (according to freedictionary.com)

Not a spiritual posting today…good thing, that last one took a lot out of me.

Today I got a hair cut at Great Clips (6.99 special).  I walked in and was greeted quickly…sat down in the spinney chair and this older black woman began cutting my hair.  Now I know that doesn’t seem all that revolutionary but it was to me.

This lady was a master of the art of conversation–a dying art that kids are not learning.

Now, to brag about myself for a second, I think of myself as a pretty darn good conversationalist.  I make it a point to ask lots of questions and keep the dialogue off me (most people love talking about themselves).  “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is a great read and as far as I am concerned, should be required reading in high schools…but I digress.

The conversation as I was getting my hair cut flowed nicely, there were no awkward moments of silence, and she seemed to have a real interest in who I was as a person.  I didn’t realize how many chances at great conversation we are missing out on.  I walked away from a simple hair cut feeling better about myself and ready for the day.

All because a lady knew how to conduct herself in a conversation.

Needless to say, I will be back at Great Clips…even after their prices go back up to $11.

I listened to an old school Southern Baptist preacher this morning and he made the comment that we must die with Christ each morning.

If you know me at all, you know that I have a low tolerance for old school preaching by preachers who can’t seem to get a grip for what’s going on in the world–which is exactly what this guy was.

I do believe, however, that God can and will use all types of people to speak into your life as He sees fit.  Today, God saw fit that this dude would speak to me a truth of God that I really never fully understood.  1 Cor 15:30-31 says,

“And why should we ourselves risk our lives hour by hour? For I swear, dear brothers and sisters, that I face death daily. This is as certain as my pride in what Christ Jesus our Lord has done in you.”

For whatever reason, this verse stuck out and captured my heart like never before…I desired to die with Christ.  I thought to myself, “self…I am a Christian, I accepted Jesus, I died with Him already, so what are these feelings?”

The last little word of the second sentence…daily.  I can say that I do not die with Christ daily.  I usually die with Christ on Sundays (obviously) and some Wednesdays (because that’s when we have our worship service for students). 

As I get closer to Jesus and as I take steps in ministry I am finding that more is expected of me spiritually (and rightly so).

Two years ago, God would have never convicted me of this…while today I am eager to listen to Him and do whatever He desires of me. 

Beginning now I am dying with Christ each and every day.