So today…is a good day…why??
Well 19 years ago today I saw a vision of loveliness come down an aisle. Yep today my girlfriend made the nutty decision to say “I Do” in front of a few folks…am I glad she did?? Good question…
News flash!! Marriage is tough! OK maybe not red hot news flash…but it is hard…once all the fluff and excitement of the wedding and honeymoon is over you wake up and go… “Hi…who are you again??” I know that sounds stupid…but if you are married hopefully you get my meaning..
Leading up to the ceremony we get all the advice we can take….and most we didn’t ask for in the first place about what it takes to have a good marriage…but afterwards…the two newlyweds and shown the door of the church and everyone seems to say…. “Well….see ya later…let’s us know when the kid is born…”
Then you go through the growing pains of figuring out the good parts and the bad parts of the person you couldn’t live without. And many times all those people who had advice for you going in…have not much help during the actual marriage…why?? Cause they are struggling in their own marriage…now I don’t say that to say that everyone is struggling…I say that as a reminder that marriage is tough…even for the Uncle & Aunt Know-it-all…
My bride and I’s marriage has been what I think has been a typical marriage…good times…great times..and rough times…we are that typical opposites attract couple…which we both have a love/hate feeling about…she is very good with money and organization…and I am real good at spending money and crashing well laid out plans…she has often referred to me as the bull in a china closet…it is a term I can’t deny…
Through all of the muck and double rainbows…the biggest thing in common we have is our love for God…who..without His intervening in a few things…would have made us one of those lovely stats about married and divorced…I know that sounds simple…but when the mucky parts of marriage get dark and closed in…we both turn to Him..even during my valley time of late…she has been moving along in her walk…waiting for me to get back on track…and when I am going good and she is off I keep faithful as well waiting for her…together we rely on Him to help us understand each other…sometimes we hear Him and things go well…and sometimes we only hear ourselves…which is when we get ourselves in trouble..
I realize more today that He planned all this and for our life together to be what it is and where we are…have I enjoyed all of His plan? Nope…mainly because I am starting to see how much my selfishness and pride has gotten in the way of being a better husband…A LOT!!! I have done things and said things that I wish I could have back…and I still have some days of being a complete jerk…but she has a huge amount of forgiveness for my faults…and for that I am big time thankful…
So after 19 years…am I glad that she came down that aisle and said “I Do”?? Still a valid question…with all the ups and downs…kids…dogs…houses…cars….looks of disappointment…looks of joy…there is no question in my mind….
WOW where did the time go???
I know it has been way too long….life has been getting in the way of my writing here. Not that I think you have been waiting since April for my next writing..I hope you haven’t…cause you might be skin and bones by now…probably more bones than skin…
Well…let’s see…scale check…280 lbs this morning…not bad…but I have hit the wall..I just don’t have the want to to keep going right now..still good weight loss but it should be way more than that…but I will keep at it…just not as motivated…seems to be a consistent thing in my life…I heard this week from the pulpit that I am an otter personality…one that starts a lot of things…but doesn’t usually finish them…uh..like uh…blogs…and weight loss…and Bible study…and oh…wait…there is a few blog topics in there…..so OK maybe I do have a few things I could write about.. HEHE
Anyway…I will say that the past few months have been interesting to say the least…I think the best way to phrase it is I have been in a bit of a valley..and I can’t say what it is that is leading me there…other than my quiet time has been inconsistent to almost nil…and that, if I can be honest with myself, is where the majority of the problem really lies…I know that if I spend the time to seek God He is there…the great thing is that He is there even when I don’t seek Him.
I tell you this not as a way to publicly humiliate myself about not being a good Christian…but I say it to give my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ a bit of hope..to be a day in day devoted turned on for Christ Christian is tough.
I know this may shock some of you who are not believers but…ready?? I still sin ( cue gasp)…and sin will still be a part of my life no matter how much I read from Scriptures or how much time I spend in prayer…what I think we can lose sight of as Christians is how we should react when we don’t want to be Christian…
Yep…I said it..
There are times lately when life and those around me have made life hell that I have fleeting moments of chucking the Christian walk and just give into those sinful natures…
Well as I got back into my quiet time again this morning I remembered the apostle Paul struggled with sin…and I am not that far out to think I am better than him…
Struggles come and go…what we do with the valleys in our life can be a great time to look back and say…yep I stunk at this Christian walk for a bit but God was there waiting for me…and when I turned my eyes back to Him and placed my trust in Him…then that valley seemed not as big as it did yesterday…
What about you?? What have you done to get yourself out of the valley? Leave a comment and let me know.
Also if I can be praying for you…let me know as well…time to get groovin’
Top of the morning to everyone…glad you made it through he weekend.
I do want to start this blog off on a bit of a sad point. A friend of mine today is rejoicing, but we his friends and family are grieving. My friend Brent died yesterday suddenly at the age of 40. Brent was a co-worker of mine in the sports freelance world and was a good, hard, and dedicated worker. His smile was infectious and he always had a positive thing to say. I know he is rejoicing today because he is in the arms of Christ. Thanks Brent for your friendship and I can’t wait till we see each other again…
Now to the title subject…I posted on Facebook and Twitter last night that I was going to work at memorizing the entire book of Philippians before Easter. I decided to do this in a spur of the moment thing after reading another blogger’s decision to do it after he read another fellow blogger’s challenge. I had a buddy ask me “on purpose?” and another friend ask “why?”. Why indeed?
I had to step back myself and ask why for me?
John Piper has some great statements why to memorize scripture. In fact his statements are a part of the book you build to help you through the next 16 weeks. Like I said those are great…but still why?
Honestly I have struggled with being in the word for a good part of my life with Christ. I have spent more time out of it than in it. However in the past few years I have spent a bit more time in it and have seen my understanding not only of my life, but more importantly my life as a servant of Christ. Do I still screw up and stumble in my walk? Every day! Am I surrounded by His Grace? Every day! How do I know that? By spending time in His word. So there is one reason for me is to spend more time in His word.
Another reason for me is that I feel like I have needed to take the step of Bible memorization. I have tried in the past and done OK…but not great. I feel like the only scripture I have memorized is John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” I know it is better than that but still I need to step it up. I always have admired the story of basketball player David Robinson. It has been said he spent a lot of time memorizing scripture so that when he signed an autograph he could add a verse address that came to his mind in hopes that the person could be inspired to read it. Don’t know if it is true but makes a good story and a good idea.
Today starts a new time at Christ Chapel where I not only work but where I have attended for the past 15 years. We started the 3rd year of reading through the scriptures. The first year we read the New Testament…last year the 1st half of the Old Testament..today we started the 2nd half. So wouldn’t you know it today while reading the day 1’s reading of Psalms 111 I found another reason.
Psalms 111:10 ESV “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”
Now this brings up a interesting point…fear of the LORD. Do you fear the LORD? My guess is most of you say…uh no. I totally understand. This time last year I said the same the thing. I didn’t think you still needed to be in fear of the LORD. But then I went through a depression and the way out of it was understanding that I feared man way more than I feared God. In fact I have spent my whole life with the fear of what others thought of me and how I was stacking up in comparison to others. I realized that the mask I had put on my whole life of not caring what others thought of me was cracked and falling apart, and what I really should focus on is fearing what God thought of me.
Of course when I did start focusing on this fear I also realized that no matter how I messed up, no matter what I have done in the past He still loves me. So the fear that I now have is not being on the path that He wants me on…and the only way to know where He wants me is from reading His word and understanding it.
So to sum up this rather lengthy post…of why? Because I know that in my study of His word and by memorizing His word I will come to understand more and more why He loves me, why His Son died for me, and how and where I can best serve Him. Hope that helps…
His praise endures forever!
Time to get groovin’
So what was I saying?? I know it has been a while…busy summer…sorry folks..plus just really didn’t have much to say..OK now that we got that out of the way…
So I attended the Echo Conference this past week…for those of you wondering..here is their definition. “A media and tech conference for creative church leaders.” Yep…go ahead think it…”oh all the techno folks have a conference…how sweet…” Yes it was fairly geek heavy but we are what we are and there isn’t much one can do about the gifts God has given you. Also you can’t do much when God wants you somewhere. I say that cause if you would have asked me on Tuesday morning if I was going I would have said no. I wanted to go but didn’t get my act together in time to pay the cheap price to go and just didn’t think I could justify the expense…but Tuesday afternoon I got a txt from a friend asking if I wanted to go cause there was an extra ticket available….uh…huh…yea I will take it…so glad I did…
I really didn’t know what to expect…I have been to a few conferences before..mostly trying to tell you how churches need to be on the cutting edge to be relevant…authentic…true to itself…all good buzz words…all words that drive me nuts. The church to me has always been and always will be about Jesus..it is that simple…not matter how churches try to dress it up it still needs to come back to Him. He is why the church exists. He is the message we have to get out there.
I got that re-enforced last week…I also remembered that is why I do my job…not for fame and fortune…Todd Wagner the Pastor at Watermark church reminded us that do the tech and media stuff in the church that “you will always be underpaid and undervalued…” He is right…but there are other ways we should get satisfaction from the work we do…we do what we do for the love of Christ not to make a lot of money..or to be praised..that last part…the praise part…by the way…I think is the biggest struggle we as creative folks have…we work really hard at something editing…lighting…writing…designing that graphic (7 hrs on a pillowcase)…and give it to the ministry that wanted it and they just go “ok…thanks..” That can be hard because we pour our whole being into something and then get an “ok…thanks…”
I got reminded last week that our Father does not look at our work and go “ok…thanks..” He loves everything we do..no matter how much time we take to do it…He can use what we do in any fashion He wants.
One session that hit me right between the eyes was with Blaine Hogan who works at Willow Creek…he challenged me to start taking time when putting something together…time with just me and God…time for me to work through things…he made a statement “Most Christian art seems like propaganda.” He is right…we try to get done what we can in the shortest time so we can get onto the next project…we need to take time to really think “how can what I am doing best reflect Christ.”
I know this post is kinda long…sorry…been working on this in my head for the weekend…still can’t get out what I want too but one final thing…we as Christians need to remember that just because we shine up the story of Christ…put chrome on it…light it with moving lights and add more smoke…the story is still the story…it hasn’t changed in 2000 years and it is not going to change…We need to get out there and think how can we share that story…how can we change the hearts of people cause as another speaker Matt Knisely said it best “The traditional way we have communicated from head to heart is not good anymore…we need to go to the heart then it will go to the head.” Well…time to get groovin’…
So…this Sunday is Father’s Day…this time of year is bittersweet for me. Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE being a dad…it is an overwhelming pleasure that God has blessed me with two great kids to raise…I just hope I am not planting them to deep. It is bittersweet cause my father is no longer around as he died in 1994. He was a HUGE influence in my life. He was always there to pick me up with a great story or joke. I was a strange kid as I never went through the phase of “my parents don’t know anything.” I knew the rough life my dad had been through and knew he was taking those lessons learned and giving his kids the best advice he could.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and wish he was still around. I see my kids growing up and think how much he would love watching their different personalities….most likely as much as he loved watched us kiddos growing up. Now I don’t have these overall Pollyanna thoughts on having a perfect dad and a perfect childhood…I know he made some mistakes as every parent did…I now think me having HBO in my room at the age of 10 was maybe not the best idea…plus there are other things he did that I am sure he would do differently…but wouldn’t we all. He did the best he could have with not much of a father figure to work with.
See my Granddad…let’s just say he liked the ladies…he was married 8 times…you could say 7 since he married one lady twice…but he did marry someone in between so….dad was shipped around from relative to relative for most of his childhood. His baby sister got adopted but not him so I wonder if he had this deep since of not being wanted. But it was out of this mixed-up childhood that he came out and became very successful in the broadcasting industry.
He wanted to be a play-by-play guy and had great dreams of being famous…but he realized quick that the former players (even in the 60’s) were getting all the good jobs…so he looked around Texas and decided he would move to the Midland/Odessa area. Why there??? Well he had just discovered the game of golf and realized he could play out there about 350 days a year cause of the weather…he did his best to accomplish that task too. In the “Petroplex” dad became a bit of an influence…he had a popular morning radio show, was on the TV as a sportscaster/weatherman, had a stint on the Odessa City Council and ran for Mayor..it was fun..but it was also hard as “Frank’s” kid to live up to the mystique…I knew I needed to be good and not upset the applecart…so I just decided to be a constant pleaser of him…if I could make him happy the my life was good..
What I am learning as I am now is I should have been turning to God my heavenly Father not my earthly father..my earthly father had a lot of faults..my heavenly Father has none. Course then we were not church going folk….remember that golf thing?? Yea…he was adamant about getting on the course before all the church going folk got there…so really I did not have the church upbringing…I sorta went to church in my high school days…but really nothing was sinking into my life…I was dating a great gal and she went church so I did too. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20’s that I decided to give into my heavenly Father’s call..in fact it was shortly after I did that my earthly father died…so God stepped in and showed Himself to me and I ran to His arms…but I still had that pleasing dad issues…even after his death.
I have since spent the last 16 years looking for a new earthly father type to fill that love/pleasing cup…and I have failed to find one…why?? I am understanding it is because I have been trying to put humans in a place that only God can fill..not my wife, my mom, my kids, my friends, my pastor, nor anyone can fill that cup…He is the only one…He is the only one to look to…and the great thing is He is there with me and His grace has taken the pleasing factor completely out of it…He loves me with all my faults and all my issues….
I have had to come to terms with not putting people on a pedestal…God is my rock…He is my Father….which has made this year’s Father’s Day a bit more sweeter…and a lot less bitter…
I love and miss you dad…
I love you Father God. I am so glad you are by my side and are a patient parent…help me be the best dad I can be…by turning my kid’s hearts more towards You than me….
Well….time to get groovin’
Ok I know this does represent two days in a row of blogs…look don’t get to thinking this will be a regular occurrence….I would hate to disappoint you on a continual basis. What got me going today is as I was sipping my morning coffee in Aledo and reading the local paper “The Community News”…I ran accross and article by a guest writer…and it really kinda irked me….
The writer E.R. Bills wrote an article basically hammering those who have accumulated wealth calling them stingy, greedy, and having an acute sense of self-entitlement….WOW. I was having coffee…but I think Mr. Bills might have been having a cup of bitterness. Not to say he is too far off..but I think he may know those who have had wealth handed to them and not acquired it and I think there can be a big difference.
Now I know that the state this country it has become the thing to rant about how our problems are because of greedy folks and that we should have done something to head off the issues at the pass. Of course we are looking for folks to blame…well guess what…it was the Democrats…it was the Republicans…it was the voters in general…it was the non voters…we all had a hand in it…because the public only wants things fixed after they are broken…but baby while things are going good…let’s enjoy the fun YYYEEEEHHAAA!!!
By the way Mr. Bills does take his shot at Christians as well..saying the only thing mainstream Christianity (whatever that means) has done right is in portraying Jesus as not very interested in material things. Giving away everything and helping everyone. Correct on that point. Jesus did give away things. He did help those in need. But He did not do those things to be a good guy or a helpful person. He gave away to show us that we need to be more reliant upon God. Once we do that…God will provide for us what we need and when we need it. Even though when you look at it we deserve nothing from Him.
What really struck me in his column was when he wrote about how the primitives in the Amazon are better at thinking about their fellow man than a wealthy person…they use only what they need. Well honestly it doesn’t take much to live in a wigwam culture…so…what is your point there?? Does Mr. Bills think if those folks weren’t given a chance to have more they would take it. They most likely would and then they would possibly act just like most people..know why?? SIN…yep I said it…sin. Sin is a nature in us since that taste of the apple. We are what we are…sinful folks who need the grace of the God. Grace is awesome when you realize the power that grace really is…WOW…oh but that is another blog….
Mr. Bills suggest we find a new way of commerce or else we will continue to be murderers…I think murderers is a bit harsh. Yes America has have done things in our past that we should not be proud of…but I bet Mr. Bills wishes he had some do overs too…I know I do! (maybe this post)
There will always be those who have and those who have not. Yes we should look for our fellow man, woman, and child no doubt and there are plenty of wealthy folks who do provide for them…they just don’t blast it from the rooftops. I get they feeling that Mr. Bills is really trying to say that we would all be better off in a wigwam. Well….you go first Mr. Bills…then I will think about it….but don’t count on it…
Time to get groovin’…..
Today I was thinking about direction. As some of you may know I have been invovled in the TV industry professionally since I was 13. I started running camera on the weekends at a TV station in Midland, TX called KMID. My dad had been the weekend weatherman for a few years and before that was the 6 pm sports anchor. So that is how I ended up running camera at such a young age.
I know it sounds strange that they would turn a high dollar piece of equipment over to a 13 year old but really the uh camera was barely that. They started me out running the slide camera which was an old, and I mean old, camera that would shoot the slides which were put over the anchor’s shoulders. This camera was held together with cables, seriously, two cables wrapped around from top to bottom. If the slide was crooked you could just pull one cable and the camera would lean one way or the other.
Anyway all that to say I learned right away that I was going to have to pay close attention to the director or I bring down the show. I mean it sounds small but if you had a slide of a fire over the shoulder but the story was about a carnival in town it could send the wrong message. Directing in TV is hard, I understand that now more than ever because that just what I do now. I direct the video portion of our servivces at Christ Chapel. Telling people where to go and where to be can be a bit nuts but I have a great bunch of volunteers who understand when I say “get me the women choir leftside” they follow.
Direction in TV is important but direction in life is way more important. Christ Chapel is spending the next two years reading through the Old Testament. It has been awesome at times and sawdust at times, but I am enjoying reading parts of the Word that I have never dove into and seeing what God wants me to learn. Today in my bibletime I was reading in Numbers chapter 2. This can be a bit dry since it is basically God directing the Israelites on where they will put up their tents and what order those tents shall be, and finally who is in charge of each tribe.
I came to verse 34 which states, “Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they set out, every one by his family according to his father’s household.” (NASV) Now I really like what the Message version says, “The People of Israel did everything the way God commanded Moses: They camped under their respective flags; they marched by tribe with their ancestral families.” This struck me cause they actually did it. The Israelites took God’s direction and did it. “Everything the way God commanded…” God gave the direction and they followed. I really wish I could be that obedient. God wants to direct my life but I get in the way thinking I have a better shot or a better way to get what I want and not what He wants. Then I screw up and there is the replay right there in front of me. The replay of God directing me, but my choosing to go another path.
If I understand how important submitting to a director is when I am working a TV show….then why can’t I understand how much more important it is to submit to the ultimate director. The good news that God give me Grace. Grace to screw up…swish pan…pop zoom in..put the wrong subject in my lens…Grace…He can gives us Grace to cover those replays that we wish we did not have in our lives. All we have to do after the replay is submit and listen for His direction….time to get groovin’