I Got Mad for the Orphans Today…OOPS

Today I got angry. I know this surprises everyone that I actually lose my cool every so often (haha) but today was especially interesting. I got angry about the orphanage that Yolanda and I oversee in Nepal. Sometimes, I can get negative about people that I think would and should support what we are doing but don’t want to get involved. I mean, they are ORPHANS for crying out loud!

The interesting thing was that I preached a message at a church a few weeks ago about not having to defend God, the Bible and what He wants to do on the earth. I said, “We don’t need to defend the Bible, we need the Bible to defend US!” (Plus, I knew that was from God because it was too good for me to come up with such a clever line) I had lots of passion and meant every word I said. I am not sure why, but I threw all that good teaching for EVERYONE ELSE out the window and got ticked for the sake of the orphans!!

I need to remember and listen to all that good teachin’ I am happy to give others and remember that our kids in Nepal are HIS kids and not our responsibility. We are just to do our part, present the vision and trust God for the support. We have already had others who are fully behind what we are doing and I know that God is going to bring even more people to us to take care of the kids.

Today, think about something you are worried about or gotten angry about because you thought you were defending the less fortunate or even God, for that matter. Remember that He has way more power than you, has been around a lot longer and has the ability to actually protect YOU and not the other way around.

Ok. Now I feel better getting that off my chest. Have a great weekend!

I am a Failure and it Feels GREAT!

This morning I woke up thinking about prayer that started last week for a little 5 week old baby named Lyneigh. She is a child of a girl and extended family that I helped pastor when I was a youth pastor many years ago. This baby had been placed in the hospital and was not given a chance to be able to breathe on her own because of brain complications that led to her needing to be on a ventilator.

Over the weekend I was checking up on her with her aunt and was told that the doctors informed the family that she would probably not be able to breathe on her own if they removed her from the oxygen. When I read the text, my heart sank and I suddenly lost faith. For whatever reason this news about Lyneigh defeated me. As soon as I read it, I was thinking about going to a funeral for a 5 week old baby, the mental and emotional stress on the mom and dad, and the general sadness that comes from losing a child so young. It was the weirdest thing in my mind. I was still praying for the situation but was making mental preparations for letting myself down by God not answering a prayer that I was praying for this little girl and her family.

But God had other plans. Lyneigh was eventually removed from the oxygen and is living! She and the family have a long road, but it is not to a graveside service but to helping their little girl live a full and healthy life.

Then the strangest thing happened. I suddenly felt like a FAILURE after this good news. I read a post on Facebook from a friend who was being transparent to the family about some of the same things I was thinking and it actually inspired me to write this post. All the years of seeing God move and do amazing things for people/families while I was dealing with my own eye issues and I was ready to throw in the towel. I INSTANTLY had a rush of thoughts like “Why did I doubt God’s power? Why did I give up so easily this time? Is it that I am not spending enough time with God to really know His heart? I laid hands on this little girl and prayed for her but did I really even believe the words I was speaking over her? Was I secretly thinking in my mind after seeing this baby hooked up to so many wires that this was not going to end well and I just needed to try and be there as much as I could?”

Then God told me a very simple yet mind-blowing statement that set me straight and, I think, helped me for the rest of my life with prayers I will pray for others. He simply said, “It’s not about you, it’s about me.” For years and years I thought that if I would just pray the right “spiritual incantation directed at the foul demon of whatever” that I could muster enough power to overtake the enemy. I am not saying that it is not good to pray prayers that get yourself or others motivated but just realize that the volume of your prayers do not increase the chance that God will hear what you are saying and pay MORE attention to you. This little baby and situation has changed me and how I will communicate with God. After God spoke this to me, I understood that my feelings of FAILURE were actually an example of God working miracles from me just by being obedient to pray.  I realized that when I am obedient to pray and just do my part to ask God for His power that I can trust and rely on the fact that He has got the whole situation in his hands. I will no longer just pray to “get something” but will focus on “giving to God” the situation at hand.

Maybe you are in the same boat with me but thoughts you had from a situation that actually DIDN’T have a happy ending like this one. Maybe you are questioning if you had enough faith and it just didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Well the same is true for you as the statement God spoke to me, ‘It’s not about you, it’s about God.” I can firmly say that we will all probably NEVER know why some are healed and others are not. This is not making an excuse to those feeling the pain and sting of death but just reminding all of us that the only real “control” we have in this life is where we put our trust and hope. I have never regretted ONE DAY of giving God control of my life but I still deal with the questions of why every so often. I don’t see it as a sign of weakness in my faith but actually a sign of strength in who God is to me and being able to sustain me in all situations if I will just let Him.

Some Old Books Contain Timeless Truths

Anyone who works from an office and has a lot of books will realize something very interesting when you have to move to a new area; you will find books in your collection that are out of date. I have acquired not only books myself through the years but also a full library from my mother-in-law when she died which had ones she got from a pastor friend when he died.

I have always had more books than shelf space through the years and moving into my new office was no different. It was time for me to go through my books and pair down the ones that I was probably not going to use or read anymore. When I was working full time in church as a pastor I would get books from people like George Barna or whoever the “stat” guy/girl was who was talking about why people do what they do in relation to the church and God. I found all kinds of “how to” books on doing things to get people into church but the dates were from 1998, 2003 and a couple from 2010. The thing I realized when I was holding those books is that they were out of date and, in general, irrelevant at this time in history.

Then I came across 2 Bibles that had dates signed in them from 1910 and 1907. Two books that were almost 100 years old and still had relevant truth, timelessness teachings and powerful words to change lives and alter destinies. A book that I try to implement in my life everyday to the point that I have a question that I am going to ask myself starting in 2015. It is the simple statement, “will what I do/say right now give Jesus a good name?”

The teachings of the Bible have shaped me and molded me into the person I am today and will stay with me until I am no longer on this earth. Men through the ages have been known for many things but I want to only be known for living the truths of the Bible out in my life. That is the legacy I want to leave on this earth and to know that I bettered the lives of those I came in contact with from a life-giving, life-changing and life-empowering book, known only as the Bible.

What if the world ends on 12.21.12?

Had to get your attention. 🙂 So I do not think the world will end on the 21st of this month but it does give us some interesting social interaction in America and around the world.  If I had not become a pastor so many years ago I would have been a sociologist.  I am fascinated with the interaction of people and people groups.  The internet is replete with “doomsday” projections and people moving to small towns in distant countries based on who knows what.  As a follower of Christ, it makes me think about my personal belief system that promises a return of Christ someday to earth in what is called the rapture.  I think the church has done a lot of straying from preaching the return of Christ in the place of “living right” messages.  I am not against helping people understand the importance of living right lives, but if I don’t help people focus on their eternal existence as much as their temporal activity on earth then I am doing them a huge disservice. If you are a believer in Christ and you knew the world would end (like people who think 12.21.12 is the end) then what would you be doing differently than you are now?  Would you be loving your family more? Telling more people about Jesus? Moving to some obscure country town to “wait it out”? I remember when I was really sick with my eye and was thinking about what the end of my life would look like.  I definitely acted different back then. Now that I am “out of the woods” with my health I don’t think some of the same things which is not necessarily a good thing.  Jesus says in Mark 13:35 to “keep watch because you do not know when the master of the house (Jesus) is going to return”. Do we really live each day in a place of expectation? The funny and weird thing is that a “doomsday prophecy” needs to be a personal inventory about how we are each living our lives and if they are focused on the right things and not the wrong ones like status, pride, looks, money and basically everything that Hollywood and the world’s marketing system tells us we need.  I know that my focus needs to be less on me and more on the world around me looking for answers to tough questions that need more than an emotional validation but true healing. So THANK YOU doomsday Mayan calendar.  You have helped me remember what is important in my life and give me a desire to act better in the world I live in.

Living a Facebook-less Life in December

If you are reading this blog then you really like me more than just to follow me on Facebook or Twitter.  That is because I have taken a break from social media in general for the rest of the month to quiet my life down.  I felt like I was investing too much of my emotional and physical energy observing the digital lives of my friends online. Now i am a social person anyways so social media for me was just an extension of my natural personality of enjoying the company of others.  But I noticed myself becoming addicted to Facebook and checking my “likes, comments and messages” on a non-normal frequency.  I feel like the break has been good for me in that I deleted the app off of my phone, logged out on all my computers so I would not click into it in a time of casual web surfing and generally unplugged.  It has only been 10 days, but it feels like I have been off of it for a longer time than that timeframe.  I never want my physical interaction with people to be superseded by my digital life online.  One thing I have reflected on while being away from Facebook and Twitter is knowing that I need to stay more disciplined in not trying to get into online disagreements when I know I am not going to convince someone of my point of view.  I want to focus on things that will help people consider where they are in life and to make changes, even if they are incremental, to begin to see good change in their lives.  If we would all see our importance to the world wide web, even if it’s small, we would act differently and probably look to make investments in the lives of others. All of this to say that I think its good for people to take breaks from social media so you don’t lose yourself and think about the investment or withdrawal you are making in the digital world.  This Christmas season, be thinking of ways to take breaks from things that are becoming habits and recalibrate your life before the end of the year.  Even when Jesus was on this earth it says in scripture that “He went away to a quiet place to pray.” Don’t wait to make a “new years resolution” to start changes in your life.  You can get a jump start on everyone else by making healthy choices now!

The health care plan and Gods possible future for Christians

I was talking with a guy on my airplane flight home about the health care plan that is being proposed for the US by President Obama. He said that he actually voted for Obama but had “voters regret” with some of the choices the president has made in recent days concerning the health care of America. We were talking about the “prioritization” of health needs that would be in the current version of the health bill which led me to share with him about my eye condition I had and that I would have probably lost my eye if I was “prioritized” under the national health care being proposed. I am a firm believer that there must be some sort of reform in healthcare because of the wicked medical bills my wife and I have endured for the past 5 years and the crushing blow of getting sick and especially the doctors not knowing what was causing my sickness. After I settled into my seat for the remainder of my flight I felt like I had a moment with God sharing something with me. Please hear me; I DO NOT want the current health care bill to pass, but what an amazing opportunity for the church of Christ and Christians to pray for people and their healing if something like the proposed plan would go through. I believe the Bible when it talks about future events that need to happen before Jesus comes again but I think we have a hard time believing it would be in our lifetime. Can you imagine it? The healthcare bill goes through, people are denied care from their doctors because of some government regulation in place so all they have is having a Bible believing person ready to pray for them and Expect them to be healed. Talk about amazing testimonies from all around America! They would be on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, local, national and even probably world news. I really feel like God put this thought in my mind because of an incease of trust I need to have with God and nothing else. As a Christian I need to do my part to let my voice be heard when I disagree with decisions my government chooses, but at the same time, I don’t want to stand in the way of God having a greater plan for us and this country than we could even imagine, dream or think. I only pray that God increases our faith to a point that if we as Christians are called on to lift those kinds of prayers that we will not let the United States of America down. That may just be the hour of thier greatest need. I am now not praying for the healthcare bill to fail, but for God to have his way in this country. Are you with me?