• QUOTE FOR TODAY

    "God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation…Therefore let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose."
    -- John Piper

  • Mercy House

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  • James 2:14-17

    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.

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The Meaning of Marriage

I’m digging in to a new book called “The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God.”

I have to say that after 3 chapters I am really finding this to be a refreshing approach to the subject of marriage and the fact that it has been created by God.  I especially like the fact that it’s not bunch of self-help, problem solving mumbo jumbo, but rather a Biblical approach to a subject that is in need of the right perspective.

More to follow, but I encourage you to check out some of the reviews and take a look at the author’s website as well

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Jumping In

Kristen at We Are That Family wrote this post titled Someone is Waiting for you to Jump In yesterday.  Would you take a minute, head over to her blog and read the post?  After that would you begin praying about where God might want you to jump?  Here’s a little excerpt to challenge you:

And the truth? Standing at cliff’s edge, we wanted to say no. We asked if there was another way. We researched and begged. We cried it is too big, we can’t, we are afraid, we don’t know how.  We don’t want to love mercy.

We didn’t throw caution to the wind. We didn’t just jump into the chasm of the unknown.

We jumped into the very hands of God.

Why? Why do the uncomfortable? Why go beyond the comfort zone and risk so much? Every one of us has a unique purpose for our lives and our blogs. It’s a risk finding that purpose. It leaves you exposed and open to criticism and fear and failure.

  Would you also pray about helping them with Mercy House?

Decisions, Decisions — What is God’s Will

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to change careers.  I was sitting in an office 10 hours per day, five days a week moving papers from one side of my desk to the other.  I would talk on the phone and type on my computer. I gave out advice on this file or that problem.  Occasionally, I would watch the guys down the street building the new fast food place.  I was amazed at how the building went together. Secretly I wished I was down there with my tool belt, building something.  As an outlet, I spent much of my free time in the middle of one home improvement disaster project after another. 

 

Then, one day the call came.  A construction job!  If I took the job, I would be able to work with my brother-in-law.  Not only are we family, but we are friends.  We had often talked about working together in some capacity, so this really seemed like something I was supposed to pursue.   My brother-in-law was going to be installing playgrounds.  You know– those really big, colorful, kid-filled things you see near schools and in parks?  Anyway, I was really intrigued by this idea.  I’m not one to rush into a decision, so Sharon and I talked a lot. We prayed.  I prayed.  We asked for advice from lots of family and friends.  In the end we (I) decided we were supposed to go.  (This will be important later)

 

This job meant moving to Michigan about 150 miles from our home at the time.  We had only bought the home about a year before, and I spent much of that year bringing it back to life.  The move meant leaving all of my wife’s family and many of our friends.  At this point, 150 miles may as well have been 1500 miles.  We put the house on the market and I told Ron I was coming.  Oh boy was I excited.  

 

The house sold in a matter of a few weeks.  The buyers were willing to finalize the purchase early and let us pay rent to stay in the house until Sharon could finish the school year and move to Michigan.  I gathered a few things and drove off to start my new job.  I came home on weekends, or Sharon drove up with our son so that we could find a new house.  We found a house in short order.  We could afford the house on one income and set about purchasing the house and moving all of our stuff. 

 

Being apart from Sharon and Jake for 10 weeks was hard, but I really felt it would be worth it in the end.  The job was fun.  The work was rewarding.  We were buying a house.  Sharon got to be a stay-at-home mom, which we really wanted.  Everything was good. 

 

When we first talked about the job, we knew that most of our work would be local enough that we would be home every night.  Travel would be limited.  Then, it changed.  The economy in Michigan started to decline.  The work was still there, but it was getting further and further away.  As the summer progressed, we were gone a lot.  Sometimes we were gone for the whole week.  We were tired. We were eating lousy food and working lots of hours so we could get home.  Communication at home was strained, mostly because it took time so much time to reconnect each time I got back from a trip. 

 

We were thankful for the work, but it was taking a toll on us.  In effect, my plan was unraveling.  We didn’t talk about it much, but it was unraveling.  We finished the season and headed into the winter.  I was glad to be home, but there was still tension.  The people we worked for had some serious character issues.  I hated traveling.  Sharon missed her family.  We pressed on.  I took much of the winter bringing the house back to life.  When we moved in, it needed a lot of work, so in addition to being gone, we lived in a house without a kitchen for 6 months.  Much of the rest of the house was undergoing projects as I could get to them. 

 

As spring approached it became apparent that much of our work would be on the other side of the state; too far to be home each night.  It appeared we would have travel two to three weeks per month.  I was done.  I knew I couldn’t be gone that much.  I would miss much of Jake’s growing up, and baby #2 was due in June.  So, now what?

 

Part II coming soon.

Some conversations shouldn’t be done via text message

The other day I exchanged a series of text messages with my wife.  Communicating with one’s spouse via text message is neither efficient nor personal, but sometimes it is necessary.   When we do actually talk on the phone, it seems to take at least 20 minutes to wrap up whatever we need to say.  Don’t get me wrong, I like talking to my wife.  But, if we had to actually talk every time something needed to be communicated (like: get milk on way home), we might talk for hours on end.  This would result in my boss firing me, which would mean I couldn’t pay the cell phone bill or buy the aforementioned milk.  But, I digress.

Somehow we ventured into a text-conversation that was far better suited to a face to face encounter.  Keep in mind that it is difficult to express emotion or light-heartedness or humor in a text message.  That series of  dots (……..) or  the 😉 just doesn’t cut it. 

Here’s how the conversation ended:  I suggested that my beautiful wife should start her workout at 4AM instead of 5AM so that when I leave a 6AM, I don’t find her atop her bike sweating profusely, stinking up the utility room.  I further suggested that if my lovely bride could be all showered and dressed and put together before I leave for my long day at the office I would have much more favorable image of her that would stay with me through the day.  This would result in more compliments from me to her, thereby building her esteem and keeping her ‘love-tank’ full.   I probably carried it too far when I mentioned that having my breakfast ready would be nice, too. 

When she didn’t reply for a long time I knew I was in trouble.    When the reply finally came it read like this:

“that’s reassuringL 

Remember, how I said earlier that you can’t really express emotion in a text message?   I was wrong.  Whoa was I wrong.  I got every drop of emotional sentiment in that reply.  My feeble, sheepish attempts to redeem myself looked like this:

Just Kidding

You know I’m not serious

Yeah, those didn’t work.  Oh, we’re fine now…..after the beating, and the flowers, and daily massages until Christmas, and the new car, and the vacation home, I finally understand what I need to do:  Cancel the text message option on my cell phone plan.

In all seriousness, during this whole event (some most of which was embellished for creative effect—I mean I can’t afford a vacation home) I did come to realize that I was taking my wife for granted. 

I have an amazing woman who married me nearly 12 years ago. 

  • She is a as beautiful today as the day I married her. 
  • Her relationship with God grows daily (even though she’ll tell you she feels kind of stagnant, spiritually speaking).
  • She has sacrificed much to stay home with our children with the hope that they become decent, responsible adults some day (hopefully they get good jobs because I am going to need some financial support after all this).
  • She works out daily. In part because she wants to feel good about herself, but in part to make sure she looks good for me. 
  • She manages our household on a shoestring budget, and knows the price of any given food or clothing item, at any given store, on any given day. 
  • People look at her and wish they could be like her in many ways. Yet, humbly, she doesn’t understand why they wish. 
  • She loves me for reasons I have yet to figure out.

 There’s a lot more on the list, but I will end with this:  Certain responsibilities necessitate that I get to church before her each Sunday.  Every time I see her come into the building an hour or so later, I remember the first time I saw her some 13 ½ years ago.  I can’t help but smile and get that little feeling in my stomach.  I don’t think I’ve told her that lately. 

In the end, I was reminded (again) that I need to tell her all of these things more.  Face to face. 

I was also reminded that I need to pray for her (and us) more.  I hope this little tale may cause you to start your own list about your spouse.  At least I hope you take an honest look at where you are at in your relationship and how you communicate with your spouse. 

God Bless 

The Principle vs. The Principal…or…Let me be the parent!

Today I have to meet with the Principal at my son’s school.   

I know what you are thinking:  “What did your son do that requires you to meet with the Principal?”    The answer is nothing.  My son is doing very well in the second grade.  I couldn’t be happier with his progress.   

The issue comes in that his mother and I found out that his school has been showing movies during recess.  It seems that the cold weather and a construction project have prevented the kids from going outside to “blow off the stink” as mom used to say.     Don’t get me wrong, I love movies.  I’m selective in what I bring home, but I sometimes like a movie to relax or escape from the daily stuff.  Anyway, the movie they are currently showing is rated PG….you know, PG for Parental Guidance?   We never received a notice that the movie was going to be shown.  We were never informed that movies were and option during recess.  We never received a permission slip authorizing Jacob to watch any movie.   

Understand, that I am a Christ-follower first, and a husband and father second.  It is important to note that those two are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, they are as co-dependent as it gets.  God has entrusted me with the job of raising my family to be righteous and holy before him.  When it comes to the influence that the “world” is going to exert on my family, my role is to make sure that little eyes are not seeing what they should not see and little ears are not hearing what they should not hear.  (This principle applies equally to “grown-up” ears, as well)  For I believe that when little ears are hearing, and little eyes are seeing what they shouldn’t, little mouths may begin to speak thing they shouldn’t and we embark down a very slippery slope.   

So, I am now tasked with talking to “Mr. Principal” about a principle.  I need to carefully communicate that he cannot usurp my authority as a father by showing movies that he should not see.  He cannot expose my son to curriculum that is inappropriate or inconsistent with my values.  If they want to show a movie (which is fine), I would like to know, in advance, what movie they are going to show.  I would like to have an opportunity to discretely “opt him out” of seeing a movie if I object to any of the content in that movie. 

The bottom line is that I want to prevent him from seeing material that would potentially cause him to grow up too fast, or develop character traits that are inconsistent with God’s plan for him.  For all of his talents, my son doesn’t have the skills necessary to police his own viewing.  God has given that responsibility to me.  The “world” doesn’t have his best interest in mind.  I do, and God does.