Tuesday, November 14, 2006
On Friday I was travelling from Salt Lake City to St Louis via Chicago and as usual, turned my phone on as soon as the plane touched the ground in Chicago. There were a bunch of messages - nothing unusual except there were about 5 from my friend Tim and knowing that he was in Honduras, these were the first messages that I read. By the time that I finished the messages, I realized that there was an urgent situation with 5 little boys that needed a home and perhaps, Casa de Esperanza would be able to help. I called Tim and that led to calls to Jennifer - who is currently in Ohio for a mission conference - and Karen in Santa Ana. We all agreed that we would pray for God to guide our way and show us what he would have us do. We had just taken on 5 more kids about 10 days ago and the quick addition of 5 more would be unexpected to say the least. By the end of the weekend, I think that all of us had concluded that if these children needed a home, then we were the ones called to take care of them. Then on Monday morning and Karen was preparing to go into Tegucigalpa to meet the boys, she received a call from the lawyer that they had already been placed in another home. So, there ya' go! Here we all thought that God's answer was going to be that we were the ones to take care of these kids and - well, we were surprised with the direct answer that we received. Our God is good...all the time.
I am blessed to be associated with people like Karen & Jennifer that are so willing to listen to God's answer - even if it would mean that life would be turned upside down by following Him.
Can you imagine going from 5 kids in October to 15 two weekd later. All of them under 7 years old!
The answer is to trust God. It's that simple.
The answer in Honduras and so many other third world countries for the children is YOU & ME. If we know that there are children in need and we don't do anything about it, then we are showing the extent of our love or lack of it. There is a Proverb that says "If you hear the cries of the poor and do nothing, then one day you too will cry out and not be heard!"
Just because you can't actually hear the children crying themselves to sleep every night at Casitas Kennedy - they are and because we know that, we cannot ignore them. I can't.
Friday, October 27, 2006
The bottom line is this - the reason that my dad & I like to play golf together is because it gives us time to be alone and just enjoy being together. We kid each other, we pull for each other, we talk, and we just have a good time. That's it - 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted time with my dad. That's what golf with my dad is.
I wonder if there will be golf courses in heaven - I suspect so.
Won't it be grand to play a 4-some with my dad, my Heavenly Father, & my son's - (I guess a 5-some will be okay in heaven. After all, I'll be playing with the "club president") Will it be okay to play on Sunday mornings in heaven? I'll bet that there will be a long wait to play in God's group. The good news is - even if it's once every 1000 years, we'll still have an eternity to play together. I wonder if you get to take mulligans in heaven? Do you think you will really need a "do over"? I wonder if there will be any sand traps & hazards on the course? I'll be pretty surprised if there are any weeds on the course. I wonder if there will be a dress code on the course - I doubt it. Won't need a glove because it would be impossible to get a blister.
Well, till I get to heaven, I'll just enjoy all the times that my dad & I get to be together on the course.
Love ya dad,
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Why do I really believe in Jesus? What makes me sure that he is real? How can I know that he is the living son of God?
You ask tough questions that make me search my own faith. Here are my top 10 reasons for believing - not in order of importance -
1. I believe because I choose to believe. When I was a kid, I believed in a lot of things like Santa, the Tooth Fairy, & monsters in my closet. Through the years, I could pretty much prove almost all of my childhood beliefs were just that - all except the one that Jesus was the son of God.
2. I believe because he answers my prayers - not all of them the way that I'd like but, in ways that are best for me.
3. I believe because - if he were a fraud, his ministry would have sunk over the years and it hasn't. People are still willing to give it all up to follow him.
4. I believe because following Jesus isn't forced upon me - it is my choice yet, he chose me. No other world religion is postured this way. Islam forces conversion and will kill those that reject it.
5. I believe because no other "God" has come to earth to live as a man and was willing to sacrifice his own life to save me.
6. I believe because of the example of the apostles. After Jesus rose, they weere willing to die before they would deny the resurrection.
7. I believe because without Jesus, there wouldn't be any hope.
8. I believe because the tomb was really empty.
9. I believe because my need for a God in my life has searched and found that he is real and that there is no true joy or happiness in this life if he is not in the center of it.
10.I believe because I want to be in heaven with people like you and so many others that my relationship with Jesus has filled my life with.
Please allow God to nurture your heart. You don't need to be an expert on Jesus to seek his will for your life - all you gotta do is just ask him to come to you and to take you in his loving arms. He will.
Te quero mucho,
How would you answer this question if one of your friends asked you the same question?
Monday, September 11, 2006
How do you know when a thought is God putting something on your heart or if it just your own hearts wishes? Is it God’s call when it is all you can think about? When God puts something on your heart, does it come all at once or does it come in gradually? How do you know?
Nehemiah was going around with a long face and the king asked him what was wrong. He told the king and was sent off to answer the call and to go to work at what God had put on his heart. Pretty cool story – read it if you haven’t.
Lately I’ve been struggling with what I see and feel as my own wall that needs to be built. Yesterday morning I was able to attend the North Richland Hills Church in Fort Worth and my mind was swarming with thoughts of “what does God want from me?” I prayed for God to help clear things up and then the sermon started – the topic “What is your purpose in life!”
It hit me between the eyes. The needs are clear, I already understand what is on my heart, I just don’t yet know how to get there.
Te quero mucho,
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Good question but, we always knew the answer.....or did we?
Lately I've been bothered by all the trivia that people let get in the way of what is really important. Like hearing people cry out for help. It's almost like this tree question except it is people's lives that we're talking about or really not talking about. It is so easy to get caught up on our own little meaningless trivia so we can ignore the cries of the world around us.
Solomon said it best - "If a man ignores the cries of the poor, he too will cry out and be ignored."
Yet, here we sit in 2006 with the desire to argue about the trivia of worship style or one tradition or another when the world around us is starving, naked, hurting, and waiting for some good news. Good news that we already have and have been "COMMANDED" by the very words of Jesus to GO INTO ALL THE WORLD and MAKE DISCIPLES........
Satan is so good at what he does that he can con people into believing that "Fighting for the cause" means forgetting about good news and working toward narrowing the kingdom by excluding anyone that they have a disagreement with.
I hope I am never a part of anything like that and if I am, I hope my friends will slap me into place.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
I have been in a couple of places lately where the lesson was all about making a list and checking it twice to make sure that we are doing all the stuff that God wants us to do. Now anyone that knows me knows that I am all about seeking out what God would have us do and getting about doing just that. The point is that I’m hearing people that seem to believe that the doing is the point of believing – that doing will make you believe more and will somehow get you a better seat at the table.
What really bugs me about all this is – well a couple of things –
1) All the lists of doing things and getting them done wouldn’t ever be enough to pay for the cost of my salvation. I know it’s hard to swallow but, Jesus died so I wouldn’t have to.
2) Grace is a gift from God and my God isn’t an “Indian Giver”. A lot of the talk I’m hearing is about falling in and out of grace. Man! My bible says that when God gave me grace, he made me his adopted son. From experience as a dad, once my son was my son, he was my son forever. I belong to Jesus! The parable about the prodigal son does tell me that I can turn my back on my father and reject him. It also tells me that when I walk away, he is always going to be there waiting for me to come home. The lesson from the son that stayed home also tells me that I certainly don’t have to be a perfect child to remain a son. Thank you Lord for that.
3) Doing the stuff that my friends want on a list is a natural result of loving God. Just like a happy child, they want to do things to please their parents. They have a heart for serving because their hearts are connected by love. When you love the Lord your God with all your heart, your very character and nature change and all you can think about is making your father happy. You don’t need lists or even need to be told what to do – you just ask the Father to show you what he would have you do and you go about doing it.
4) I think we have a hard time with grace because we are struggling with PRIDE. Yep, we never had to take “charity” before and not gonna’ start now. Even if that charity is the only way we can get what we want so badly to work for – if we think we are earning it by working harder, we are only fooling ourselves into believing that our own Heavenly Father’s gift isn’t good enough to just take and be thankful for.
5) Grace is free.
6) Grace comes from a Father’s love.
Well, more than a couple of points but, that is the way my brain works.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
In Honduras, a friend from the church in Los Pinos asked me to build a house for an old lady that lived on the mountain and was either confined to a wheelchair or bed. I never saw her out of her bed but, I did see a picture of her in a wheelchair. All that doesn’t matter, what does matter is how we don’t always see opportunities to serve in ways that we think we should. Let me explain –
After the group finished construction of the house for the old lady, I went into her old place to see how she was doing and how she liked her new house. I’d never in 6 years and 150 houses met anyone that was unhappy after they just had a new house handed to them - Built by TORCH & Courtesy of the God of this Universe. There is always a first for everything and this woman taught me a lesson about faith – even though it made me agitated at first and very uncomfortable. As I walked into the rook where this little woman lived, the smell was pretty foul. If you have been on the mountain of Los Pinos, you know that there aren’t many bathrooms and since this woman was confined to the bed, she used her room and the smell of that was there. Anyway, once I got past the smell, I asked her about the house and she began to talk. She talked and talked and the more that she talked, the more she asked for. She wanted food – specific kinds of food like chicken & fish & fresh fruit & potatoes & lots of other foods. She wanted a new bed and a new mattress and other things too. I’m not great at Spanish but, I well understood that she had in the period of about 5 minutes of nonstop talk – listed everything that she could think of to make her life more comfortable. At first thought, I was a little disappointed that this little lady was not all that happy with the new house and had the nerve to ask for more. Later in the day, I thought and thought about this list and realized that this woman was expressing her faith by telling me her needs. After all, if she had prayed about a new house and God delivered it through my group, then isn’t it an expression of faith to tell God’s servant her other needs? Of course it is. She must have known the words that James – the brother of Jesus gave us when he said how faithless it would be to deny this woman her needs if we had the resources to provide for her. She had the faith to ask and to expect God to deliver through us.
I just gotta build on the faith that everybody that God sends to me with needs won’t always be happy and pleasant. I likely wouldn’t be the happiest camper in the world either if I were in her shoes – except she didn’t have any shoes. She did get her new bed, and as much of the food list as I could find.
Our God is good... all the time!
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Well, Nicole is in Honduras for the summer doing what she loves and that means most of the time she is working out at Casa de Esperanza - a children's home and on her days off, she is working with one of the TORCH teams or occupying her time with all the kids that are around Santa Ana. I love Nicole - she is my daughter but, she is my buddy too. We are way too much alike - probably to her detriment. I love Nicole's heart and her passion for others.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Honduras for a weekend and Nicole & I had a chance to work together for about 4 straight days. It was great. On the Sunday night, I was taking some people back to the mission house and needed to stop at the Texaco for a cell phone card & I sent Nicole into the store to buy it. She was taking forever to accomplish this simple task and I of course was making comments about just how slow she was in doing this simple thing.
When she cam out of the store, she had an extra sack and she walked over to two little boys that were hanging outside of the store - opened the sack and handed each of them a hamburger. The boys were all smiles and I was a proud pappa.
Nicole taught me that I need to open my eyes to the needs that are right here in front of me. She taught me that if there is a need, then it is my responsibility as a child of God to do everything possible to resolve that need. Just like James - the brother of Jesus said, you have NO FAITH if you see a hungry person and tell them to go and be fed. Nicole taught me that it's okay to take a little extra time to do the work that God planned for us to do - even before the beginning of time.
Monday, June 19, 2006
I don’t know if anyone has ever described me as “a holy man”. The connotation of that description is (or was in the past) – at least form my limited POV – someone that is very calm, Biblically learned, wise, and maybe a little self righteous.
Well, I’ve been wrong before and I was wrong about what a holy man really is. I don’t have all the answers but, I do know this – God has called all of us who claim him as our Father to be holy.
He also called on all of us to follow in the steps of Jesus – who by the way was certainly a holy man (and not the least bit self righteous). The Jesus I read of wasn’t afraid to get dirty, he was in and amongst the people, he ate meals in the homes of the “sinners”, he wasn’t afraid to touch the untouchable, he never talked down to people, he found out why people were hurting and he helped them, he taught by the way he lived, when his friends were hurt – he cried with them. This man was the absolute Holy Man and he is so completely different than what I’ve let my mind wonder off and define differently.
I think we have changed the way we think about holy because many times we would rather spend time in studying “holiness” than becoming holy. Becoming holy would mean that we would need to leave the comfort of our air-conditioned pew and actually serve others (like Jesus). Becoming a “holy man” means that we are willing to take up the cross and follow Jesus up the hill. Becoming a “holy man” would mean less talking about it and more doing it. Becoming a “holy man” would mean loving the unlovable of this world. Becoming a “holy man” would mean completely changing my character and nature – yet knowing that we would still have the imperfections of man – but covered up by the grace of the savior.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Well, leaving those thoughts to Jeff Foxworthy, I was on a plane the other day and started thinking about the wisdom of the Proverbs. Simple one liners that have stood the test of time and have just as much "life meaning" today as they did when they were written over 3,000 years ago. Talk about wisdom, where else can you go to read relavent thoughts that mean just as much today as they did - even 100, 200, or 500 years ago?
I wouldn't pretend that my own wisdom would qualify me to write any timeless proverbs but, while I was on the plane, I started writting down some thoughts that fit with the TITLE of this blog - You Might Have A Problem If.......
Here are a few of those .........(I'll be back on the plane again tomorrow so, I'm sure that I will think of more. You too can use the comment section to add your own)
You Might Have A Problem If.....
- you persue happiness through the persuit of money. It is likely that you'll lose sight of the original goal of happiness.
- you confuse "I want" and "I need". To find out what you really need, ask someone that has absolutely nothing what their needs are.
- you define happiness by what you have or your occupation.
- you have "needs" that really aren't "necessary".
- you depend on anyone but God for your happiness.
Okay, one more that doesn't fit with the title but, I really like it -
- Nobody on their way to becoming wealthy believes that "more" won't make them happy until the secret reveals itself to them with a slap in the face.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Oops, I lost track of my story –
Seems our young wealthy guy heard about a man that had answers to some of his questions. Especially the question about security.... long term security. You know that is a question that lots of people with money seem to be asking all the time. “Do I have long term security?” “Where will I be in the ‘future?’”. I see television commercials all the time telling me that I need to secure my future.... That was the question on the mind of this wealthy young man the day he met this advisor........ an advisor that could answer definitively about the security of the future of this young man.
When they finally met – this young man and the advisor, there wasn’t any hesitation from the young man in his questioning. He quickly outlined his current strategy and the advisor just as quickly provided the answer. Then the conversation ended abruptly and the wealthy young man – with his head bowed and his proud shoulders slumped, walked away from the advisor. The advisor had given him the absolute answer to a secure future but, the instant that the young man heard the answer, he knew that the risk was too great and he was too far along in another investment strategy. I mean, how could this advisor have expected him to take all this risk? This advisor was asking him to stop what he was doing and give up everything he had always believed in – and then, this advisor – who probably doesn’t even have an investment portfolio – was asking him to just follow him. What a crazy idea! Give up financial security, comfort, all of these God given blessings that he had earned to follow someone that wants complete change........crazy!
Is this what my reaction would be if I met the same advisor? Of course I’ve met him and he is the one that gave us this parable so that we too would be warned about how to secure our future. He gave us this parable so that we would understand what “investment strategy” is necessary and what he expects from those of us that claim him as our savior, our ultimate advisor. It is so sad that we confuse wealth with the true blessings that our God promised, and that we have bought off on the idea that we are “God’s special people” just because we happened to have been born in the world’s richest nation. It is sad that we can read the parable about the rich young man and not be hit between the eyes that the message is for all of us too! What have we given up to become a follower? Did we ever change? Sell our stuff and give the proceeds to the poor? Does my life reflect what I claim to be
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Last Sunday in church, we were reading from Matthew 14 about Peter stepping out of the boat. The words that Jesus spoke when Peter began to sink are the ones that best reflect - to me anyway - how our brains hear the words we read in a completely different way than they were meant.
Jesus said," You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
How do you hear these words of Jesus?
- Was he scolding Peter?
- Were they the sympathetic and understanding words of a savior?
- Were they light hearted and said with a smile and with a hand held out for a friend in need?
I don't really know but my best speculation is that they weren't said in a scolding way. This was the SAVIOR and his friend was in the water - sinking. I doubt that our savior would scold his friend in a desperate moment!
Before these thoughts, I'd always "heard" the words that Jesus said to his friend as much more harsh and scolding than my savior would have ever done.
Think about it!
Friday, May 19, 2006
I am convinced that most of us that call ourselves believers would be strained to defend our own faith with someone if they happened to question us about why we believe or even the exact details of what we truly believe. I don’t want to fall in that group. Right now I could tell you why I believe, what I believe, how I came to become a believer, but, I am not sure if I have a ready defense of the truths that I know are really true.
To a non-believer asking questions, “The bible says so” isn’t a good enough answer. We need to use the evidence that is all around us to be able to defend what we already know to be. I’m only about 1/2 way through this text and have already learned more about the creation and the evidence of God’s fingerprints that surround us than I knew existed. I’ve learned ways to defend my faith when I run into folks that believe that truth is “relative” or that there are “many paths to heaven”.
The copy of the book that I am reading belongs to my wife and she already told me that I am to absolutely not loan it to anyone. That is how important it is to her.
Well, I think that this is the first time I’ve recommended a book in by blog but, I’ve gotta say that this is truly worth the read.
By the way, when you think about this title, it really takes incredible faith to be an atheist. Here are just a few of the things that you’d need to believe –
You would need to believe that something can come from nothing. Yep, you would believe that long long ago before time, the universe exploded from nothing and time began.
You would be forced into believing that life came to be from non-living things.
You would need to have faith that intelligence came from non-intelligence.
Order came from disorder.
The list could go on and on but, - just get a copy of the book and we can share the thoughts.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Things haven’t changed very much in 2000+ years have they? We are so territorial in almost everything we do that sometimes it creeps into our service and our ministry. In business we don’t want anyone near our little territory because we are afraid that they are going to get a piece of something that we believe is rightfully ours. We worked for it, developed the business, and will fight anyone that tries to “horn in” on it. We are so competitive that we bring that same attitude to work with us when we go to serve our God. I have noticed it in my own work in Central America and have tried to purge the thoughts of thinking that somehow the work that TORCH or even my own team does is somehow better or more important than that of others that are only there because they too have heard the call to go and serve the Lord by serving the least of these brothers.
What a shame that we would ever be discouraging to others that want to serve just because we were there first. How disgusting must it be to our Lord that we would make a competition of service to him or that we would think ourselves as better because we were first in the area or think our way is “better”. If what we are doing is working it is because our God has decided that it would work. If our harvest is great it is because God decided it was going to be great.
I hope that I haven’t let my ego and pride get in the way of learning what God had planned to teach me - in Honduras or in anything that he planned for me to do. Wouldn’t it have been a shame if the Apostle described above had been so full of himself that the lesson that Jesus simple words spoke – went over his head? I hope that these words never ring hollow in my own ears.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
With my friends -Mike & Janet - getting ready to GO to Honduras and with three of my good friends already there, the subject of going has been top of mind lately. Looking at the words of Jesus in Matthew - some of his last words spoken on this earth - he said Go and said it so clearly that we call it "The Great commission". I would guess that when we read those words today, we generally see them as the great option and not a commission otherwise, we wouldn't ever question what God would have us to do. I know that these words of Jesus charge us with spreading the gospel around the world and it isn't practical for everyone to go into the world...unless you consider your own neighborhood the world. The simple fact is that there are about 6,000,000,000 people in this world and more than 1/2 of them have never heard the name Jesus...NEVER.
Here we sit with news that saves, news that is the best that anyone can ever have. We have news that is better than the winning Lotto numbers and giving them away won't take away from our own jackpot - it will only increase it. We have news that can keep the dead from dying and give hope to the hopeless. We have this news, a savior that told us to go, be his witness, be bold in our testimony, to plant the seeds and allow Him to let them grow.
What are we doing about it?
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Anyway – back to Daisy.
Daisy is always smiling – ALWAYS!
Her heart is so big that she gets her feelings hurt if she isn’t allowed to help out. It’s really hard to describe just how much of a servant Daisy is because I’ve never quite run across anyone quite like her.
Daisy has adopted Karen & Jennifer – my friends that manage Casa de Esperanza – as her family. She has matter of factly told both of them that other than her sons, they are the only family that she has. She loves them and does what she thinks is watching out for them. On nights when Karen & Jen are in Tegucigalpa, Daisy patiently waits near the gate for her “family” to come home.
In 48 hours that I’ve been back in the states, I’ve come to see that Daisy is to Karen & Jennifer what we should be to the family of God.
Daisy’s willingness to do anything for her “family” – with a smile of satisfaction is an attitude that would serve all of us (me) well.
Daisy’s love for her family makes her want to watch out for them is how we should all be – especially when one of our family goes away. We should be like Daisy and celebrate their return.
Daisy’s heart is big – so big that it shows up in her smile and her hugs. I think that she gives hugs so that she will get hugs. Nothing wrong with that.... we all need more of both! (giving and getting)
Sunday, March 19, 2006
This comment seems to be a real true-ism with my friends - Mike & Janet Paden. The Paden's are those that I mentioned a while back that are tired of "playing church" and are planning to spend retirement in the mission field. They have decided to sell the house, quit the job and move to a third world country to serve Jesus. Well, they put their house on the market last week and today it sold. I guess that the answer is pretty clear that our God wants them in the mission field.
In April, Mike & Janet will be moving from Shilo, IL to Santa Ana, Honduras. That is a pretty big change - one that is best described as by the words of the writer of Acts - BOLD!
BOLD Faith is what I want. Mike & Janet are an inspiration to me. They will join others of my friends with faith BOLD enough to listen to the call to GO. The call that Jesus made in the great commission to GO & make disciples. My friends Joe Merillot, Karen Vaughan, & Jennifer Wright are already living in Santa Ana and are just doing what Jesus told us all to do. Many others are demonstrating BOLD Faith by providing the support to keep these misintries going. Praying every day and writting checks - even when the evil one is tempting us to spend the money on ourselves.
Mike & I are blessed to be able to travel to Honduras this weekend. We will be working with our friends in Santa Ana and making plans for Mike & Janet to join those already there.
When the Paden's arrive, they plan to work with Noel Aragon - the minister of the church in Santa Ana, they will assist Karen & Jen in the work at Casa de Esperanza, they will support the clinic and the teans that come to work there, they will discover new ministries that need their hands as tools, & they will serve Jesus.
Yep, my friends are BOLDLY Going - Pray for them and for Joe, Karen, & Jennifer.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I really am missing you. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years now. Time has flown, but, it has stood still at times too.
Sometimes I wonder what I would have done differently if I would have known that night of March 11th would be the last time I would see you this side of heaven. I have thanked my God often that the last words both of us said were simply “I love you”.
Ryan I still do love you. Knowing you are in heaven is good for my heart but, it will never make waiting to see you again easier. The games we played when you were a little boy – giving each other big bear hugs never stopped and I am so glad that you were never embarrassed to give me one of your trademark big hugs. I miss your hugs.
You would be so proud of your little brother and sister. They are doing great. Nathan is a great daddy and your little niece – my grand baby is so beautiful. I’m sure that you will be legendary in the stories that Nathan tells little Camille about you. Nate really misses you too. He has hurt more than any of us can possible know.
Nicole has grown into such a beautiful young woman. She has a boyfriend and he probably needs a dose of some of the torture that you would have offered – but, in the end you would like him. He treats Nicole like he should and he is a good man. Nate has stepped into your shoes as the big brother protector of your little sis. You would be amazed at how they have grown so much closer.
We’ll all be in Mississippi this weekend. It just seemed like the place we needed to be – with the friends that came to offer comfort on the day that we lost you.
I love you and I miss you.
I SURE MISS YOU - by Gearal Crabb
If life could only bring again, the days I took for granted when
To hear your voice was just a call away
Oh what I'd give for just some time, to say the things that slipped my mind
There's so much now I'd really like to say
But I can never go back when we did the things we did back then
I'll store those precious memories in my mind
I'll take what you've instilled in me;
I'll try to be all I can be
And walk the path that you have left behind
I sure miss you; life will never be the same with you not here
Each passing day has brought much pain
But with God's grace my strength remains
I sure miss you, but heaven's sweeter with you there
The little things that seemed so small are now gold in a memory vault
I cherish every one I have of you
Now I can see and recognize the part you played to shape my life
I often see you in the things I do
In God's design and master plan He saw the hurting hearts of man
As we would say goodbye to those so dear
So with our family and friends we'll be together once again
We'll view all heaven's splendor hand in hand
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
The truth is, obscenity is all around us and we don’t see it because we have become so used to it that we just dismiss it as the world around us. Our senses don’t work as well as they should because we have abused them for so long that we aren’t able to see what is right in front of our eyes.
Last night I saw and participated in an obscenity and don’t even know whether to feel privileged, disgusted, lucky, or what. Please don’t think that I’ve gone crazy – I just went to a basketball game. The Memphis Grizzly’s are the local pro team and I’ve been to several games but last night was a little different because I was invited to go with some friends and sit in the sideline seats. It was pretty cool – we were almost right on the court and had an unbelievable view of the game. The thing that got me thinking about the obscenity of it was when I looked at the ticket and saw that it was a $150! I was with a group of 4 so that meant that we’d just sat in seats that cost $600 – for one game that was about 2 hours long. A season in the NBA has 40 home games plus about 5 pre-season and an average of 6 post season games making these seats cost over $30,000 in a year. Add in food and extras and you notch it up to close to $40,000 for 4 seats for basketball.
On my drive home from the arena, I decided that I’d participated in something obscene.
How could anyone ever justify that sort of expense when there are so very many hungry people in the world around us? Then I thought about how we justify a lot of other obscenities in our lives – the ones that we’ve become accustomed to like; most movies, many television shows, the language we “tolerate”, etc. Once we develop calluses, once we develop blind spots, we can ignore the obscenities and even act like they are just normal life.
I’m guessing that the folks that spend $40,000 on basketball tickets can easily justify the expense because it is really such a small percentage of their income that it doesn’t interfere at all with the good things that they do. I am not even intentionally trying to throw stones at people that buy these seats, I’m just looking at the $40 grand as the equivalent of 40 houses, or ½ of a new children’s home, tons of food, and lots of lost opportunities. I wonder if it was God’s plan for the money to be spent that way when he put his master plan in place? I wonder how often I’ve been obscene in the way I’ve spent money that God planned for something else?
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
I think that I've never thought about these words as a charge to go out and feed people is that I am surrounded by people that are never really hungry. Working in Central America has really opened my eyes to the fact that there really aren't any truly hungry people in the USA. We don't have a population of people that go to bed hungry and wake up the same way. People that spend their lives looking for something to eat. We don't have mothers that are desperate to find food for their baby. We don't have families that decide that they will stop feeding the younger two or three kids so that the rest of the family can have a little more. We aren't in a country that has a generation of malnourished kids that are stunted in their growth and their mental devolepment.
I started thinking about this last week on an airplane while reading the USA Today. I was reading an article where the author said "I've never gone to bed hungry". That statement made me stop reading and start thinking about the power of the words. I HAVE NEVER GONE TO BED HUNGRY... Added to that, until my work in Honduras, I had never personally known anyone that had ever truly gone to bed hungry. Someone that had nothing in the house to eat and not much of any chance that there would be anything there the next day. True hunger is something that I have never known. Yes, I can take you to it, show it to you and introduce you to people that are living right smack in the middle of it - but, I've never "been there, done that".
FEED MY LAMBS, TAKE CARE OF MY SHEEP, FEED MY SHEEP!
Yes, these words that Jesus spoke to Peter - and to me are easily read more than one way. One day I will be able to ask Jesus how he meant them. In the mean time, I am reading them both ways and believe that helping to take care of the physical feeding will open the door to spiritual feeding.
Sunday, February 05, 2006
My friends told me that they are at a time in their lives that they could keep on working for the next 15 years so they could have a bigger nest egg at their retirement or - they could follow the pull that is in their heart to GO! They have chosen to GO and I am awed that they have asked me to help them and that I get to be a part of this plan.
My friends told me that they are tired of playing games, working to support their stuff, tired of making excuses for not following the great comission, tires of playing church. They said that they just want to be servants, that they want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
I made a promise that I will help and will be there for them.
They are hoping to sell the house, cars, and other belongings so that they can move to a third world nation and work daily - taking the gospel to people that really need and want to hear it.
Pray for my friends.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Everything was pretty normal till I got to my car and realized that my new toothbrush was laying in the bottom of the basket and hadn’t been scanned.
I had made it through SECURITY – through the watchful eyes of the WalMart Greeter / Receipt Checker / Basket Watcher Person with merchandise that had not been paid for.
I was very close to becoming a THIEF! (and I hate thieves)
Amazing thoughts went through my head – the wrong side of my brain was yelling “go ahead and take it, nobody’s gonna know” and “you spend a fortune in this store – ‘bout time you go a little bonus”.......
Well, the good side beat out the dark side and I went inside to pay the $2.50 for my new toothbrush.
I just wonder why it is that we continue to ever be tempted by even the simple things, the things that we actually hate?
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Here is the final product. I'll put some pictures of the inside here soon - but, this is one beautiful building - isn't it!
Getting from the shrub covered ground to this - from August to now has been an adventure, a challenge, a frustration, a joy, a pain, and has involved every emotion that I have. I know that I am not alone in this - I'm not the only one that has laid awake at night wondering if all of this was really God's plan or just one that I tried to blame on Him.
All along I have been confident that this is 100% his plan, there have just been time when seeds of doubt tried to creep into my head. In hindsite, the periods of doubt were almost always when I was not spending enough time in prayer - neglecting the reason for this home. In the end, God showed me that his promise of taking care of things is really a promise.
Everytime that I am reminded of the faithfulness of my God, I remember the words to a song written by the Crabb Family - a Southern Gospel group from Kentucky. This song is called "Through The Fire" and the words go like this -
so many times i've questioned certain circumstances
things i could not understand
many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
then my frustration gets so out of hand
its then i am reminded i've never been forsaken
i've never had to stand the test alone
as i look at all the victories the spirit rises up in me
and its through the fire my weakness is made strong
he never promised that the cross would not get heavy
and the hill would not be hard to climb
he never offered our victories without fighting
but he said help would always come in time
just remember when your standing in the valley of decision
and the adversary says give in
just hold on, our lord will show up
and he will take you through the fire again
This was a song that really helped Terri & I to get trough some really dark days. When I bought the CD I hadn't even heard of the Crabb Family - I just liked the cover of the CD.....
One thing is certain - God continually shows us that his plan for us isn't generally the easy way out. Isn't that great - if he just poured everything out without expecting us to work then we would be a bunch of spoiled faithless children - Working hard - no doubt is God's plan for us to learn, to build our faith, and to grow stronger in him.
Thank you Father for the lessons you teach me. Thank you for your faithfulness and the lessons of patience that you teach me by doing things on your time - in your plan - and not mine. Please bless the children that you have in your plan for Casa de Esperanza.