Okay, it’s almost 3 pm here in the “A” and we are officially inside the 24-hour countdown. Tonight Anita and I will take our beautiful little girls and leave them in the very capable and loving care of our Aunt and Mom-in-law. We are horribly unprepared.
By that I mean that we’ve been considerably distracted mentally and emotionally over the last week. God is showing us some great things and challenging us in ways we’ve never faced. Along with that we’ve been attacked by “Lucy.” (that’s my nickname for Lucifer. I’ll be referring to him as she because I don’t like him…her…shim) She always seems to know just how to get to us and it’s usually wrapped around money in some way shape or form.
I’m trying to tie up some things in the office before I’m out of here. As soon as we get back (Sept. 2) I step back into work during camp week. Timing is everything…is that location. Maybe both. Then again, I find myself thinking a lot about both of those these days.
This marks Anita’s first trip outside the good ole USA. My second. Watch out England and Kenya. You’ve got a wild Irishman on his way to your shores! Seriously though…PLEASE PRAY FOR US! Until then…we love you all and can’t wait to share what happens.
I’ve been in Ecclesiastes for a while. Yes I’m aware there are only twelve chapters. Anita and I started reading it together and God hasn’t let me get out. Today I read chapter five again and two things jumped off the page.
I’ve always had a problem speaking too much. It’s a gift and a curse in the same breath. The first half of the chapter charges the reader to be silent in awe of God. I’m processing a lot internally and my temptation is to talk to many different people and process out loud. I realize now that God is telling me to turn to Him and Him alone. I plan on writing a lot while I’m in Africa but I decided that I won’t post anything while we’re gone regardless of access to the internet. This is a time for reflection and petition. See you on the other side.
The rest of the chapter speaks about money and wealth. Andy Stanley once said, “Coincidence is God’s way of being anonymous.” I wrote that one down. Over the last month we have had to lean in on God and His provision. Along with trusting Him with all our Africa finances (which He has provided in marvelous fashion through our family and friends. Thank you God and thank you guys!) we have had several situations requiring additional money to be found. You know the regular stuff. Cars, bills and unforeseen expenses. God tells us the “the sleep of the laborer is sweet…and the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep.”
We all have our own filters of what rich and poor is. I’m sure mine is about to be drastically changed but I do have enough perspective to see that God has blessed us beyond measure. Thank you God for my abundance of health, love, family, friends, and service. I would be a rich man if I were able to labor for you the rest of my days.
May my sleep be sweet and my words be few!
I’m trying out a new element to my blog today. Welcome to the Wednesday Rant:
I feel as though I need to give a disclaimer after some recent feedback from some of my other thoughts and opinions on this blog. I am giving an opinion (MY OPINION) on a generality and I realize that there are a good deal of exceptions to the generality.
I was driving home Monday and saw a billboard that I haven’t been able to shake. Anita and I were driving back to the “A” (that’s what it’s called now…not the ATL. Please make note of this in your “Gangsta” to English handbooks) from Charlotte. In that great expanse of the Bible Belt there is an amazing variety of denominations and congregations representing methods of ministry from Ancient to the Edge of the Emergent and Postmodern movements.
The billboard was for a middle of the road, proven effective device of ministry known as Upward sports. I think this particular one was for basketball. My issue isn’t with Upward itself but what the billboard said and what I’ve heard in many areas beyond sports or church. “Everyone is a winner!” Yes, I’m a heartless cynic in some areas. This is one of them.
As an expert in losing and a person who has heard that phrase repeatedly over the years I can say with full confidence that it brings no comfort or satisfaction. The truth is that a person learns more through losing than being coddled or protected from feeling that all to familiar feeling of inability. I gained a great deal of self-confidence from winning but I learned more from losing.
My daughters will have to learn some other way since they have an obvious superiority to other children in both intellectual ability and athletic prowess. They will compete in all kinds of different areas of life and when they win we will celebrate. When they lose we will feel it and learn from it. There is nothing wrong with losing. There are all kinds of things wrong with not being able to deal with losing. I actually believe a more truthful and more frequent happenstance is summarized with the phrase “Everyone is a loser.” Thoughts?
A whole lot going on in my mind these days. Had some incredible meetings in the last week, we leave for Africa on Friday and Vertical Reality is getting closer by the day. I can’t find the words right now to explain what’s going on in my heart. A feeling like I’ve never experienced and I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing.
To state it simply…my soul has been stirred. Pray for Anita and me as we prepare for our trip and for our girls as we leave. Say an extra pray for me and that God would give clarity and wisdom in abundance.
Anita and I are in a small group because small group is church. Last night our group went to a Braves game. Unfortunately we happen to schedule our small group outing on a game in which the reigning Cy Young winner Brandon Webb was in town pitching against our beloved Bravos. Along with that, Mr. Webb is on a (now after last night’s game) forty-two consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak. Ladies, that means nobody he’s pitching against has been able to score a run. The Braves lost but we had a great time with our group. About four innings in Steve and I had the idea to split our group of eight people sitting in one row into two rows of four. Guys and girls. As you can imagine, that produced a more enjoyable environment for everyone involved.
The one other redeeming factor of the evening was the Friday night fireworks show. We stayed for about a half hour or so after the game and watched a pretty well done show. I discovered something while I watched. A fireworks show is the perfect blend for men and women. The girls are watching the beauty of the designs and colors while the guys are happy because stuff is exploding. I haven’t yet figured out how this applies to my relationship with my wife but I’m excited to try and figure it out.
I just read a great article by Dan Kimball here that asks a great question about Jesus and the church. That article has birthed this blog entry.
Here’s why Jesus couldn’t work at church.
* He took part in or was around the drinking of alcohol.
* His best friends weren’t the church people.
* He wasn’t a legalist. He was a rule breaker.
* There were lots of rumors about him.
* He was single. (Sorry, no Scripture on this one. Just a subscription of belief.)
* He wasn’t afraid to call out the guy in charge of the money.
* He cared more about His family than His job.
Makes for some interesting dialogue in your head don’t it? Wait…am I the only one that does that? Anyway, we’re all at a level of accountability. Let’s make sure accountability doesn’t become a spirit of self-projected conviction on others. Wow, that phrase sounded smart.
I can now say officially that I contain zero creativity. I’m a hack. Thanks Tyler for opening my eyes to my shame. If you haven’t seen this video and you either love Coke or have a need for some sort of creativity in your area of employment then click here.
AAAAAAAHHHHHHH THREE-YEAR OLDS!!! I can only pray that I’m doing the right thing as a parent. I realize that I’m due. I wasn’t a bad kid (as I remember it) but I was very outgoing and energetic (I think that’s what they called it before ADD…that’s right, I’m older than ADD). Put it this way…I was tied to my desk with twine in second grade. Yep, five years younger and my family would be rich. As it was, that was simply called discipline back then and I can’t say I disagree with it.
Savannah Grace can be the most amazing, impressive, intelligent, sweet little girl in the entire world. Then there are nights like tonight. For the last two hours Anita and I have been tag teaming the task of getting SG in bed and asleep. We prayed, sat, lay down, warned, spanked (yes…spanked) and isolated her. We even spent the last thirty minutes categorically taking items from her room.
I’ve come to believe that like marriage, no one really knows what he or she is doing as a parent beforehand. We feel like we’re being consistent patient parents but sometimes it’s just a lot of stress. If there are some of you out there that feel like they were completely prepared and informed pleas kindly close your mouth and let me live in my ignorant bliss.
Either way my appreciation for God’s love and patience finds new depth every time SG gives us a fit. As much as she may push the envelope and purposely make a poor decision, I’m sure I’ve got her by a landslide with my Heavenly Father. I’m banking on the whole “as far as East is from the West” thing.
Connections are funny things. You never realize how much you depend on them until they’re not there. For instance, a friend of mine was my connection for golf. There is a great course near my house that is private and not real cheap. My buddy would always get us on the course for cart fee only. That’s a difference of say $50 per person. As you can imagine, this connection was phenomenal for me.
I found myself planning a golf day with another friend and went to call in my connection to find out that he no longer works at the golf course. As a guy who loves to play and doesn’t play a whole lot, this came as tragic news. You see I’d been spoiled. The deal I got at this course was the cheapest I have ever played golf for anywhere. Which means in order to play at the same cost I’m going to have to find a course with much lower conditions and standards.
But the whole idea of a “connection” reveals a great deal of selfishness in me. The truth is that my immediate reaction was based on how this situation affected me. If I truly cared about this friend I would have been concerned or at the very least curious about the reasons behind his change of employment.
We all have different friendship levels. We don’t think twice about it. It’s completely natural and accepted to care more about one person than another. Unfortunately this isn’t the Scriptural example. In fact the only place I’ve seen Jesus speak of two ways to treat people is when he says, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” I’m not saying you can’t have friends and then “best” friends. I am saying that I’ve been convicted on how I am showing Christ’s love and concern to all the people in my life.
1. a relationship between two or more people who are friends
2. the mutual feelings of trust and affection and the behavior that typify relationships between friends
3. a relationship between individuals, organizations, or countries that is characterized by mutual assistance, approval, and support
Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
How about you?
I swear I’m such a freaking pansy. After doing one of the most “guy” things in the world all morning (working in the yard) I came in to take a break from the heat. All the girls went down for naps and I decide to relax on the couch and watch whatever the networks fill Saturday on television with until college football season starts again.
Father of the Bride 2 is on TBS and I am biting my cheeks constantly to keep myself from crying like a baby. These movies should be illegal. Now I realize that my heart has been on my sleeve all my life causing me to be hyper sensitive to the subject matter in these movies but DANG!
I know my parents have always known this but when God made me, He made me incomplete to be finished when I became a husband and father. Of course there are philosophical discussions to be had about that statement but you’ll never convince me of anything otherwise. (Take that “Lady in Waiting”) Something inside me thinks I’m George Banks while I watch those movies.
I’m so grateful God gave me my dream. I know this sounds sappy. I may not live in a big house or drive fancy cars but I’m living the dream life. Anita and I always try to remember how blessed we are to have two very healthy little girls. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. The single look at the engaged; the engaged look at the married; the married look at the married with children; the married with children look at the grandparents; the grandparents look at the young. You know, the grass is always greener. Well today my grass is the greenest. It may need some water but it’s gorgeous.
(No, water isn’t a metaphor, just the grass…but the grass really does need some water. A little rain…please.)