Monday, April 28, 2008

Harley Purchase

So my wife allowed me to purchase my first Harley on Saturday, April 26, 2008. I will be picking it up later this week after all the paperwork is done and such.

It is a 2008 Sportster 883 Custom, with only 8 miles on it! Not only is it the first Harley we have ever bought, it is also the first "new" vehicle we have ever bought. So I will be doing the engine break-in routine the first couple of weeks to get it running good and right and be driving it to work.

It truly was God's hand that made it happen as well - if you would like to know the story, just email me or ask me and I will share it.

Until then....may God bless you and keep you safe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

True Lies = Satan's Dominion

It is not often I ever admit I am wrong. Not very often at all. Ask anyone who knows me very well (e.g. my wife, my children etc), and they will tell you I very rarely ever admit that I am wrong.

Well I have been wrong. 15 years ago I prayed a prayer at a friends house. It went like this:

Friend's Mom: "Do you want to pray with us?"
Me: "Sure."
Friend's Mom: "Okay repeat after me...."

She went on to pray a prayer of salvation, and afterwards asked me - "Do you know what you just did?" My reply, "Um...err...I think so....I guess."

They hugged me and said I had just gotten saved. To me, then I was saved. I had a home in heaven accordingly to the prayer I just repeated. I then went out that night and got drunk. And many nights of drunken and drug induced stupor followed in the 6-7 years afterwards.

My wife, whom I married years later, shared the Gospel, and I could tell her, Yeah, I prayed a prayer for salvation once, at this place, with these people. She believed I was saved - I believed I was saved.

The problems started happening after we started going to church. I was uncomfortable, uneasy and didn't want to be there. Sure I blamed it on the fact that it was a conservative church, and many of those who attended seemed, at least to me, fake. They seemed to appear "perfect" while they always said they were not. Three people, Bill, Dale and Dave stick out in my mind as being real, being examples of a struggling Christian that is making the right choices most of the time, and always accepting that people step on toes, people fail and people fall flat on their faces.

Well the problem was not the church or the members, it was me. I despised going to church, being told that how I felt was wrong, that what I wanted was wrong, that what I wanted to do was wrong and that smoking and drinking were wrong. I despised everything about life.....and soon people started paying a price for this. People I love and care about.

I moved, started a new job, found a new church and things were okay for a few months - I had found the answer, or so I thought. Truth was, it was merely a few months until I was smoking again and doing wrong things, cursing at my wife and children and treating them very poorly. Fighting, struggling against all that I knew was right. I fought it and fought it. Soon, I found myself doubting my salvation, and not for the first time. But I remembered many stories being related to me of people struggling with their salvation - so I was "normal" right? Wrong.

Finally, after enough lying to myself and to others, my wife found out that I had secretly started smoking again and her only question to me was, Why? Not why did I smoke - she understands the addiction, she understands my addictive nature - but why did I lie to her and hide it again? Why did I do this to her again?

At that point I had no answer for her. None. I was at work - she had called me to tell me she had found out where the $6.08 I kept claiming to not be spending was going. I was going to leave work early - go for a "smoke cruise", a short drive wherein I would smoke many cigarettes and contemplate life. Contemplate life.............

At that point a sudden and intense fear came over my entire being - and very huge and very real fear. I completely felt that if I left for that drive - I may never see my wife and children again. Not as in never again on this earth, but never again at all in eternity. I really started questioning my motives in life. My ability to do completely wrong, and barely have a surface feeling of remorse for most things. I upheld the court based laws - but I knew I was not upholding the way of the Lord. I knew. And in that instant the fear didn't come to me to show me that I was going to die, no the fear came to me to show me that if I didn't make a choice I would die unto the Lord - I would not be on the list in Heaven and my name would be forgotten - I would be turned away forever.

So on September 14, 2007 at 2:01 pm, I finally realized that I was a sinner, condemned to eternity in Hell and that I deserved nothing but death and destruction. I realized that the prayer I had prayed 15 years ago was an empty repetition, and I had no clue what I was doing, why I was doing it or anything else. I remember not feeling much different after the fact 15 years ago, and I never lived my life different after the fact. I remember struggling with everything, and I would tell my wife that the whole time I was drinking, doing drugs and all kinds of other bad things that I knew there was something better - in a way that she took it that I knew the life I lived was wrong and that I knew I had to come back to God.

No, I was searching for answers. Searching for the keys. Searching for something I didn't have and seen others that had it and was envious and jealous of them. I didn't know what it was until the past few months. I had fought this for so long - but it only really started coming into focus because of the group of people that we have in our church now. A very graceful group, that is full of love, compassion and Christ's light. I seen what they did, how the carried themselves. I watched their lives sometimes with envy, sometimes with longing.

The past two weeks have found me seeing more salvation messages than I have seen in nearly two years. This past weekend, we had a tribute to the public service personnel that perished on 9/11. That message had the strongest salvation message I have heard yet at our new church - and I managed to hold on to my chair even tighter than ever before. But I knew. I knew in my heart of hearts, in my soul, with everything that I had - I needed to kneel before God, accept and confess that I was a sinner, that I was wrong, and that I never really truly asked Jesus Christ to be my personal savior. And, as I said, last Friday I made that choice.

The healing has only just started - but I feel that I can accomplish anything at this point.

If you have never truly asked Jesus to be your savior, I implore that you do so. It is easier than anything I have done, yet I fought it and made it the hardest thing I thought I would ever do. The bible says now is the accepted time. I am glad I did it before it was too late and I no longer had the chance to choose Christ.

Monday, August 13, 2007


A quiet spot is required.

Open ears are required.

An open mind is required.

An open heart is required.

In our normal everyday lives, we listen to the radio, to the television, to the person in line at the store, to the weather forecast, to the person calling us names as they cut us off in traffic.

We listen to our children, what they want, what is hurting them, and what they find most bothersome that day.

Sometimes we listen to our parents (as we get older, we seem to value their hidden wisdom much more), sometimes listen to the youth leader or pastor.

Very rarely though, do we listen to God. Rarely I say because we always "hear" God and we always "see" God. We see Him in the world around, we see Him working in lives around us and we see Him when he works in our lives.

We hear Him when he asks us to do something, when He tells us to stop doing something, when He desires us to serve Him.

Yet though we hear Him, we do not listen. Listening would require that we fully acknowledge Him, His wishes, His plan, His desires, His likes and dislikes of our current state of living. Ultimately it would require that we most likely need to change something about ourselves, do something more for Him or stop doing something for Him. It could be more drastic, such as moving away, becoming a missionary half-way around the world or standing in front of 30 people teaching and leading a Sunday School class, or a small group.

Listening to God requires (as stated earlier):

A quiet place: We must block out all the maelstrom of life (see, 2nd definition) and find a quiet place in which we can focus on God and God alone. We can listen to Him in this small quiet and find out truly what He desires for us to be, to do, to not do and most of all, how He desires to use us for His glory.

Open ears: We must open our spiritual ears to listen to God. This means being willing to hear the voice in the small quiet that we have attained. You must hear the voice, before you can listen to the voice.

Open mind: We must have our mind open, for it is the tool of Satan to plant thoughts of fear, thoughts of doubt, and thoughts that are misleading in general. Satan seeks to devour us, even if we are a saved Christian, he will stop at nothing to destroy our walk with God, destroy our testimony to Christ and see us fail to be that which the Lord desires us to be. Satan wishes to destroy our testimony so that others will fall by the wayside. Having an open mind is paramount to being able to listen to God. We must block out the wiles of the devil and place God alone in our thoughts to be able to listen fully with understanding and willingness to be led by the Lord.

Open heart: We must understand that God will ask us to do things that are not easy, are not fun and are not glorious to ourselves. However, with the open heart that is required to truly listen to God, we can understand that it is for Him and His will that we are listening, and thus we can have grace, strength and wisdom to accomplish all things through Christ. We can understand that His calling is so far above any other that there is truly no comparison and that His blessings will far outweigh the temporary pleasures of the Earth.

With all four of these items present, we can truly listen to God, His will for our lives, and we can do so understanding that it is not about our needs, our desires and wants, but about His kingdom, His glory and His desires and wants for our lives. We can understand what He requires of us, and we can accomplish it with the necessary grace, strength, wisdom, compassion, understanding and peace knowing that He is standing there with us, guiding us and keeping us from falling on our face, if we are truly listening to His guidance.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Go Crazy

As I sit here waiting for the latest version of PHP to compile on my web server, I have been sorting through some thoughts that I have been having the past few weeks/months.

I came up with a little saying a while back, and for some reason it seems that it could be taken as rude, curt or just wrong - the saying is:

"It's not that we carry out our daily lives in oblivion, but that we have grown to be the calloused point of societal ignorance."
Societal Ignorance.

Societal according to
noting or pertaining to large social groups, or to their activities, customs, etc.
Ignorance according to
the state or fact of being ignorant; lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc.
We do not live in oblivion. We all know many things about the world we live in, the societies it holds and the people that make up those societies. Especially in the United States. The point of this snippet of English language is this:

It is not that we are blind to the world around us, but that we idiots when it comes to people, their relationships with each other and their relationships to God. Calloused point of Societal Ignorance. We just don't find out where people truly are in their daily walk with God - we make one of two assumptions far too often - they are either saved or unsaved.

How many times do we stop and find out the Why? Why are they not saved? What is their road block to eternal salvation? What can we do to share the love of Christ with them?

If they are saved do we ever ask the Why? Why do they not serve in the church? Is there a bad experience from serving and it not working out right? Do they have a lack of self confidence in their service to the Lord?

Paul wrote in the New Testament, letters to churches that were meant to either steer the leaders and thus the church back on the right track, or to build up confidence in what the church and the leaders were doing.

The point of this? GO CRAZY.

Huh? Why is it we can memorize 5 years worth of players and their stats for our favorite {insert your sport name here} team. Why is it we can remember 3 languages (whether it be societal languages, programming languages, or something like Braille)? Why is it that we can learn and remember how to tear-down a car engine, rebuild it better and make it perform beyond the original manufacturer's spec? Because therein lies a passion for that particular part of life. A passion that generates within us a capacity to do great things with our mind, our bodies and sometimes our souls.

It is this same passion (though much more intense and very much more properly focused) that Christ took with himself to the Cross on Calvary. This passion that led him to be praying so fervently that he literally sweat blood. The same passion that He raised Lazarus with is the same passion He promises to raise the believer with. This passion made for us, a pathway to commune with our Father in Heaven - whenever we need, wherever we need. The passion with which he did the will of the Father - even though he did not want to (Matthew 26:39 - And he went a littler farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.). This is the Passion of The Christ. To do as the Father willed, not as he himself willed - to set the example of obedience, to set the example of sacrifice, to set the example of love.

Why is it we have a hard time reading (or gasp - studying) the Bible, when we seem to have plenty of time to learn all the characters of our favorite novel, their traits, characteristics, their needs, wants and desires? Yet, we have a hard time understanding, finding and learning God's traits, characteristics and His needs, wants and desires for our lives and service unto Him?

Because the enemy is strong, beguiling and most of all out to destroy us, preferably before we come to the point of salvation in Christ Jesus. Yet, even after we are saved, Satan continues to hammer us to the point of desperation - to the point that we fall on our face - many times hard, fast and what we would call "without warning". However, Christ always gives us a warning - always gives us a consequence and always gives us a way around the beguiles of the devil. This choice, commonly called free will, is ours alone to make - and oh how many times we fall on our faces, make the wrong choice, the choice that goes against the Will of the Father.

Go Crazy. What do I mean by go crazy? What if we took and gave to our service to the Lord 50% of what we give to our other passions in life? What kind of great things could we do with our lives for God? It would be unprecedented. If we took our passion for God to a higher level, what could we accomplish? We could accomplish any task that God set before us, but only because our passion was with God, for God and through God. We must have the passion for service to God, and he will, through us, work amazingly - things that we may not even be able to fathom could come down from the Lord Himself.

You see, it is not because of our abilities, our gifts or our tools that we accomplish anything, but because of the passion with which we carryout the duties that God gives to us, that He accomplishes His work through us using the gifts, abilities and tools he has prepared within us for His use. This passion that carries truth, light and the Will of God is that passion that drove Paul to become the warrior for Christ that bestowed upon us the majority of the New Testament. The same passion that took him from hating Christians to becoming a light in the dark prison hole where himself and Silas sang hymns and praises unto God in the worst of the worst. Do we have that passion? Do we have what it takes to go crazy for Christ?