"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Monday, January 31, 2005

Being Icebound with a Neurotic Single Guy

If you are someone like me who registers on the Obsessive Compulsive Personality side of the meter then finding yourself basically snow and ice-bound for two days is not a pretty thing. Several inches of ice had fallen which for all intents and purposes shut down most of North Georgia. So, there I sat on Saturday morning absolutely delighted to have a couple days at home to catch up on DVD's which I had not watched, several books I had not read and spend some quality time with Murphy (who would much rather have had me gone for the day).

However, as I said earlier, somewhere between the third and fourth hours of "Harry Potter" movies, the OCP syndrome began to rear it's head. I had gone into the bathroom to get some scissors from the drawer when I noticed how messy the drawer was and how the long items (like scissors) were all jumbled up with the short items (like tweezers). How can I finish a movie with a drawer in that state? So, I spent a very happy few minutes getting the drawer back into shape using (of course) appropriately sized containers. Then, as I was finishing up, I opened one of the lower cabinets beneath the sinks and what to my horror?? The shampoo and soap samples which I had "borrowed" from motels were not lined up against the cabinet wall as they should be, but some had fallen over, some were turned with the labels not showing and they were actually all mixed up together, not separated by soap, shampoo and lotion. While I was down there, I managed to throw away a lot of other accumulated junk which had gone unnoticed over the past few years and finally had the cabinets and drawers in that bathroom in such a wonderful organized manner that I could finally go back to Harry. Well, after I cleaned and washed out my hairbrush and put a new brushtip on my electric toothbrush, which has the little color coded ring that gave me some difficulty in finding one to match the hand towels.

As soon as I sat down on the sofa with Murphy curled up beside me and I pressed the Resume Play button, my eyes were instantly drawn to a couple kitchen cabinet doors which were slightly open. How can anyone watch a movie with their cabinet doors open? So, as I got up to go close them, I just HAD to restack to the dishes according to size and pattern then move on to the magazine rack so that I could put the magazines in alphabetical order first, then date order within that grouping. We won't even go into the alphabetizing the spice and herb cabinet.

As I was bundling up the trash to take out to the garage from my morning (now afternoon) playtime, I caught sight of myself in the mirror and realized how badly I needed a haircut. With an icestorm raging outside, I doubted that my local barber would be there, and (heaven forbid) I should have to wait two days until they opened, so off I trudged back to the bathroom where "I know I can cut my own hair! After all, I have sat and watched them do it for many years!". Needless to say, I now know why I pay as much as I do for a haircut and realize the value of training and internships in that field.

So, finally after I had done all the above, plus rearranged most of the living room, sun room and hall closet, and did some touchup painting from my furniture shoving, I finally finished my Harry Potter marathon and moved on to the others in my "need to be watched" box.

Such was my weekend. For the life of me, I cannot come up with any deep spiritual or theological thoughts or implications to my rather OCP and ADHD lifestyle, except to just say that God loves us all.......He doesn't care what our syndromes or our neuroses are.......He just Loves us. And, I for one, am very thankful.

Be God's,

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Don't Worry! Be God's!

"Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." (I Peter 5:7 KJV)

A good friend of mine gave me a little desktop "Promises of God" so that each day I can flip a card and read a different promise that God has made to us, His children. Rather than keep it at home where things are pretty calm and serene, I decided to bring it to work where the little demons of frustration, anxiety, anger, political correctness and secularism run rampant. My thinking was that I probably needed to be reminded of God's promises more at work than at home. So far, 'tis true.

Today's promise is the verse above. As I have sat at my desk all day and see it staring at me, it is hard to not think upon the meaning. The reality of this promise has become clearer and more powerful as the day has gone on. What are your cares and worries? Job security? Not having nearly enough money for the bills? Your family? Recovering from a divorce, especially one that was very bitter? Having too little time in your day with too much to do? Feeling like you are drifting away from God? An illness of a friend, family or yourself? I'm too skinny, I'm too overweight, my hair is thinning, my hair is just not working, I'm getting older, I wish I were older, should I change jobs or stay where I am, why do some people not like me? And on, and on, and on it goes.

We have all these things that fly through our minds during the day and even keep us awake at night. We obssess and begin to lose the perspective that we need. The perspective is that we are God's children, created in His Image and He loved us enough to send His Son to die for us. Is there a greater Love? Nope, not according to the scriptures. God wants us to live an abundant life, but how can we do that when all we do is worry and fret over earthly things. He wants us to love Him, love our neighbors and love ourselves, but how can we do that when our day is taken up with other emotions than the Love of God? He wants us to spread His word to our friends, co-workers and those we come in contact with, but how can we do that when we aren't feeling His presence in our own lives?

Jesus made the promise to us - to "cast all of our cares [worries, concerns, gripes, frustrations, complaints, etc] on Him, because HE CARES FOR US." He is God in Christ. He is the Creator of the universe. He is Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. He is the biggest, strongest, mightiest, most powerful Being you could ever dream of existing. He can take care of you and your concerns and let you get about your job of spreading His Love to others. Think of the impact on your testimony as you tell how you God freed you from the worries of this world.

Does that mean you'll never worry about anything again. Well, if you take this verse and also the promise in Philippians 4:6 - "Don't worry about anything, instead, pray about everything" (NLT) as the truth, then the answer is no. You will never have need to worry. But, I tend to forget these promises and take the world on my own shoulders and try to fix all the problems singlehandedly. Then, finally, God will bring me to my knees and I'll turn things back to Him as I should have in the beginning. That's just the human beings that we are. But, just because we forget, God never does forget His promises to us. Read them, claim them, then Live them!

To close with a line from Annie Herring's song, "Mansion Builder",
"Why should I worry, why should I fret?
'Cause I've got a Mansion Builder who ain't through with me yet!"

Be God's,

Sunday, January 23, 2005

If You Are Real, God, Be Real To Me

A friend instant messaged me this afternoon. A young man away from home for the first time and is struggling with keeping his faith alive in a new environment with new people, new influences and away from the support of his church and Christian friends.

He is a strong Christian, but as we all know, that doesn't make us immune to the attacks of Satan. He preys on our loneliness, on our isolation from our Christian friends and before long, he is filling our heads and hearts with worries, with anxieties, with influences that we could normally resist. Before you know it, you aren't spending time in prayer and the study of God's Word. You aren't spending quiet time to keep you in tune with God. You feel defeated and like a failure to God and you don't feel like you can get back to where you were. That's the point to where my friend has come. He is broken and is reaching out to God. As best as possible on instant messenger, I tried to encourage him and to promise my prayers, support and availability to him 24/7. One thing I do know and kept trying to impress on my friend was that God was still there, all he needed to do was to cry out and grab hold to His almighty and powerful hand of Love.

My heart is full of God's Love for this guy. I've been where he is and know the struggles he faces. I wish I could fix the problems and return him to the close walk he had at one time. However, I know that it's a road that we all must travel alone with just ourselves and our God. My instinct is to get in the car and drive to where he is, buy him a cup of coffee and dessert and talk through the night. But, that wouldn't help anything for him long term. He's a young man just starting out in life and, like I said, this is a road that we all travel at different times and in different ways, but it is one that we have to do alone. I have all confidence that he will find his way back to God and win this spiritual battle because I know both him and God and that they are too close for Satan to ultimately win this one.

That doesn't keep me from hurting for my friend and praying for his struggles. As the tears run down my cheeks, I pray that God will hold him close and give him protection as he recovers from his battles and demons. All I ask is that any of you that are reading this to pray for my friend. No names are necessary because God knows who he is, but he needs a lot of prayer warriors lifting him up right now.

"My friend, I am praying for you tonight. I pray that you will face the demons that Satan is sending your way and denounce them in the name of Jesus. Make yourself get back into the Word, back into regular prayer, back into fellowship with Christians. Come home and refresh yourself with those of us who care for you. Through Christ I love you and encourage you to return to the joy of your salvation. Get back in touch with the gifts you know God has given you. Most importantly, just relax into God's arms and feel His Love holding and surrounding you and his protection. Take a deep breath and inhale the power and strength that only God can give you and as you exhale feel the struggles of the world leave your spirit. Take care my friend and be strong in the Lord."

Be God's,

Friday, January 21, 2005

Funyakking with God

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't rely in your own understanding of things. Don't try to be as wise as you think you should be and He will direct your way in life." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I recently spent a weekend on the river with a bunch of 11th graders from the church. Besides the river, we also camped out alongside the river on what we thought was high ground until the rains came along about 10:30 that night. I never realized so many people could sleep in a church van and a utility trailer.

I learned a lot of life lessons in those two days. One is that I really enjoyed camping. It had been a long time since I had actually camped in a tent in a sleeping bag on the ground (as opposed to my normal camping at a rented condo or Hampton Inn). I also enjoyed camp food...the smell of the fire, the wonderful aroma of grilling chicken and vegetables, the fellowship you find while making smores, etc. Of course, I quickly remembered why you don't put your tent with the doorway facing the fire....the wind is gonna eventually shift directions.

But, I was reminded of one of God's most important lessons while funyaking down the river. It wasn't a high skill level trek, but with all the recent rains, the river and rapids were a little faster than prior years. One of the primary goals when funyakking, kayaking, canoeing, rafting or tubing is to try and hit the rapids going forward because you can see your way clearer for paddling and you are also exposing less of your craft and your body to the rocks and the water rushing. Knowing this and doing this are two separate things, as I learned. My funyak partner and I tried our best to keep our craft straight and true, but no matter how hard we paddled, we would hit those rapids sideways and get drenched and almost tossed out. However, as we began to get our rhythms of paddling together and correctly, we were able to keep straight and flow through the turbulence with less turmoil.

Do you see where I'm going? Probably not, so here is what I learned or at least remembered. When we hit the storms and trials of life head on with our paddles in rhythm with God, then we can come through with less mess than when our lives are out of rhythm with Him. We still get wet and tossed, but with God as our partner, we will come through. When we try to do our own thing and leave God on the shore is when we are buffeted and drenched and thrown from our comfort places. Sometimes we survive, sometimes we don't. Sometimes we just have to ride home in a van full of wet soggy teenagers who smell like feet.

We all hit the rapids and waterfalls of life. It is inevitable. It may be a divorce, a death in the family, stress on the job, a job loss, and physical or emotional illnesses, whatever. Trust God even when you don't feel His presence in your life. He is always there waiting for you to trust Him with your rapids and waterfalls. Just don't forget to thank Him when you hit the smooth waters.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Serendipity in the Target Parking Lot

Serendipity - the good luck of making unexpected and fortunate discoveries. (Dictionary.com)

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you." (Philippians 1:3)
I ran into a friend at Target last night. Stopping by on the way home from work, it was dark, bitter cold and windy and I was trudging across the parking lot and heard someone call my name. Hesitantly, I turned around hoping it was some other Jimmy that was being called because all I wanted to do was get in my car and go to my nice warm house. When I turned toward the voice, I saw a friend of mine waving from the next aisle.

I was instantly glad to see him. Now, bear in mind that I see this guy every week at church and often during the week. He is a Christian brother, another single guy, and a friend. We stood there and talked for a few minutes to catch up on things at our respective jobs, share a couple laughs and talk about some church going-ons. It was an enjoyable few minutes and when we said our "see you later's", I left feeling better.

What is there about running into our Christian friends out in public? If you are like me, you get a warm feeling that only a Christian brother or sister can give. Your spirit recognizes a kindred spirit within them and that is the Spirit of God. You kinda want to shout out, "Hey! There's my brother (or sister) in Christ!"

Paul was thankful for his fellow believers at Philippi because they were supportive and encouraging to him. They sent him packages of needed items and took care of him. That's what we are to do for each other. Support, encourage, provide good things (I prefer jellybeans. Mike & Ikes or Necco wafers). Are we thankful for our friends? Do we express it to them either vocally or in other ways? Do we get a good feeling when we are around them? Do we thank God for bringing them into our lives?

Let me state publicly and for the record.....I am thankful for my friends. God has blessed me with Christian brothers and sisters that I in no way deserve. But, then.... He is God. He loves me even though I don't deserve it. He provides for me even though I am not worthy of his provision. That's GRACE, my friends. Now, wouldn't it be cool if I really had a friend named Grace?

Before you go to bed tonight, thank God for the friends He has brought into your life.

Be God's,

Monday, January 17, 2005

Why Not Me?

A twelve-year old boy sat in his room one Saturday night and couldn't concentrate on the television, a book or anything. All he kept asking was "Why not me, God? Why not me? I should have been in the car with them, but at the last minute the plans changed. If I had been in there would I have been killed? Would I be crippled? Would maybe my best friend not have died?"

Perhaps because of his infancy in Christ, the boy didn't hear God answer. All he felt was loneliness and that funny ache in his heart and stomach, then more loneliness. The funeral was held the next day and the boy watched as the other boy he had played with, confided with, argued with, but always considered his best friend was eulogized and watched as they lowered his casket into the ground. "I don't understand, God. Why is he dead? He was just twelve years old and I didn't think twelve year old kids could die. Why can't he come over to my house this week like he always does? Why was I not there and because of that, I am still alive and unhurt?"

The boy grew to be a man and at times would occasionally forget about his best friend from childhood, but when he did remember, the question was still there.....unanswered......"Why not me, God? Why not me?"

One day, totally unexpected, God answered the boy who was now a man. During a sermon one Sunday, the Pastor quoted a verse from Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity and to give you a future and a hope."

And then later, the boy heard the verse that would become the theme-verse for his life.
"Who knows but for such a time as this that you have been placed in this position?" (Esther 4:14)

The man realized that perhaps God wanted him to be here to serve Him by using a gift of music that had been given him, to serve Him with the BSU, NAMB and local churches in mission trips to Charleston, New York City, Washington DC, St Simons Island and other places by sharing the message of "God Loves You and So Do I". Or, to serve Him in trying to be a positive adult leader and friend to teenagers and younger adults looking for their own answers to their walk with God. Perhaps God wanted the man to stay so that he could learn how to minister through church recreation and sports so that many people would come to a church and know the Love of God through these avenues. He may have wanted him to be here for the strength and spiritual maturity he has gained from his friends.

The answer is still being answered for this boy who is now a man. How do I know? As I'm sure you've guessed by now, the boy, the man, is me. And the question is continually being answered by God as I try to stay receptive to His leading me in the paths that He wants. A change is coming in my life. I know this with all certainty because I have felt the leading before and I've written of that in an earlier post. A new avenue of ministry, perhaps? I don't know and I don't worry about it because the boy who cried out to God many years ago, now has the answer.

"You are are still here, my son, because I needed you here. Because you were here, other people have been blessed whether by your words or your actions and you may never have known about it. Just know that I have plans for you and will watch after you as you follow in the path I have for you. Above all, know that I love you and I love your friend who is now with me."

Let me encourage any of you reading this that God has you in His plan, whether you realize it or not. He loves you and he will use you in any place that you happen to be. Just stay faithful and strong and seek His way.

Be God's,

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Calm of a Saturday Night

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Psalms 37:7)
'"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10)

One thing that most single guys and I do not have in common is that I really enjoy having a quiet Saturday night at home. Not that I'm antisocial and I like to be with people and do things, but on Saturday nights, well, it's my time. Even though I know my lineage is Scottish/French and my faith of choice is Christianity, I find many good ideological and theological practices in Judaism. One of them is the firm commitment to observe Shabbat, the Sabbath, as a time strictly focused on study, worship of Jehovah and reflection. No shopping, no television, no work, no activities of a major secular nature. I think that my Saturday nights have become my Shabbat, even if it lasts for only a few hours.

The world today we all live in is a busy and hectic place. If we are married, there are schedules to keep of ourselves, our spouses, and our children. However, being single, those schedules are often more hectic because there is only one of you (especially if you are a single parent). You are the one responsible for groceries, laundry, yard work, housekeeping, etc. without the benefit of a spouse to assist. In the popular culture of today, I have decided that have far too many of the infamous "inner children" to contend with. It seems that one is always being left behind when the carpool leaves. One is still at soccer practice while I leave the wrong one at the mall and then try to remember where to pick them up.

As a musician at my church, Sundays are a work day for me. I'm there from 7:30 in the morning until after 12noon, playing for a worship service, teaching a Bible study class and playing for another service. Then a lunch break, having to be back by 4pm and leaving around 7pm. Usually, after that, a group of us go out to eat and kinda wind down with good friends. There is rarely time to experience God or to feel His presence on a regular basis because there are too many schedules and places to be all day to slow down.

That's why I protect my Saturday nights. It is my time for preparing physically and spiritually for Sunday. Making sure music is ready for the next day, finishing up the Bible study lesson for my class, focusing on what God needs for me to say and do trying to calm my spirit and soul to be receptive to His leading over it all. Plus, after a normal busy week, my body needs to physically rest to handle the pressures of the coming day and workweek.

In one of my favorite books from years past ("Mr. God, This is Anna"), the little girl Anna figures out that God didn't need to rest on the seventh day of creation. Why should He? He is God and does not get tired. Instead, on that seventh day, He created Rest for us. While not necessarily a theological or Biblical truth, I think it is a good concept. Humans need to rest in order to be ready to meet God. Humans need to rest in order to gain strength for the demands life puts on us during the week. I need to rest in order to hear God speak to me. On the weeks that I run at full tilt Monday through Saturday night late, I am in poor condition on Sunday mornings to experience God's gifts or His presence.

When is your day of rest? When is your time of Shabbat? When do you reserve time to calm your spirit, withdraw from the world outside and prepare to meet a personal God? I'm probably a failure at being a cool single guy in the world these days, but that is not my concern. My concern is being a success at being a single guy who 1) Loves God, 2) Lives a life pleasing to Him, and 3) shares this with those around him.

Goodnight Seth, wherever you are. I love ya like you were my own kid, but if you call me at 2am again to go to Taco Bell, I will be forced to pound you in the ground. Even if you are wasted, there are just some things I don't need to know (just kidding, you animal!)

Be God's,


Friday, January 14, 2005

The Excitement Never Ends

Ah, the joys of being a single guy in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country. Friday night...a church program, Saturday....laundry and grocery shopping, Saturday night.......karaoke. Stop the madness! More on all the above later...


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Perspective and Blessings

My heart is full, my mind is tired, my body is fatigued. It has been a very full and busy day starting with a rather horrid commute to work, another mind numbing training class on new software, a call from the vet to say that we need to increase the chemotherapy dosage for Murphy (my dog has a Pituitary gland tumor) for another 10 days, a meeting to try and mend a strained friendship and working relationship (which went well), and then to my second job at church for three music rehearsals. I left home at 7:00am and didn't get home until 10:00pm.

As I unwind from the day with a dog on my lap licking my elbow (bizarre), my mind reflects back on all the blessings I have and a sense of contentment and thankfulness comes over me.

I am thankful for the best family in the world. We all have our quirks and oddities, but we are close and have come through some major crises together with the help of God.

I am thankful for the best church in the world. A place where God's word is preached without apology or hesitation, a place where diversity in ethnic background, financial background and educational achievement are all welcomed and accepted, a church where the people genuinely care for each other and those around the community and world.

I am blessed by many of the teenage guys and girls who accept this old man as one of their own. I get jumped on, beat on and wrestled to the ground, but I am also hugged on, licked on (love licks), feel loved and am trusted to be honest with them and show them how much God and I love them. Thanks kids for all you mean to me, and most importantly, thank you parents for trusting me with your kids.

I love my Sunday School class....for their diversity, for their differing opinions, for their outspoken honesty, for their love for the Lord and desire to study the scriptures and apply them to their lives.

I am humbled by the number of friends I have. In all sincerity and honesty, I am not worthy nor deserving of them. But, still they stick around and my life is so much better for them.. I wish I could name them all here publicly, but they would torture me for who I would name first and the order that followed. Oh, I definitely know the order I would use, but that will never be known. So, just thanks for being my friends and for being my brothers and sisters in Christ.

However, I am aware of the perspective in all my blessings and am sobered by many things that are far beyond my little world of home, work, church and friends.

My heart hurts for the tragedy which occured in south Asia with the recent tsunamis. For the devastation of homes and loss of lives, I have no words with which to even pray. God, just be with those people and heal their land and homes.

It bothers me that I have young friends who are having to deal with cancer and other serious life-endangering diseases. I complain because of an ingrown toenail, or because a sore shoulder has sidelined me from playing golf or tennis. Yet, these people are struggling with their daily existence and keeping a strong faith in God. That is a witness and lesson for me.

My anger arises because I know that in probably five miles of my house, there are children going to bed hungry. There are women and children being physically and verbally abused, but are not to a point where they seek help. Yet, I am sitting in a nice comfortable house with a fire in the fireplace and a sleeping dog besides me. My worry is whether to eat a bowl of ice cream or not before I go to bed.

I support our President and the war in which we are currently involved. I am burdened because so many young men and women are away from home and families to try and make better the lives of other people at the risk of their own lives. I pray for their families here that God will hold them in His arms of Strength and Hope and bring their loved ones back safely.

And, I guess somewhat selfishly, it makes me sad to know my good little dog has cancer and is having to be treated with a chemotherapy pill. So far, the side effects have not been severe, but he has been my confidante and biggest fan for almost fourteen years now. He is my child, my friend and I want his senior years to be full of quality and love.

Well, folks, perhaps I shouldn't try to blog and share when I am so tired, but all these thoughts had been running around in my head and it has helped me to get them out. I would encourage anyone reading this to be aware of their blessings, for those things given to them by God for which they should be thankful. But, keep in mind the perspectives, too. The people and things who need our prayers and support, even if it means actually getting involved with their lives......hmmm, novel concept isn't it? Getting involved with people in need, I mean.

As for me, I'm heading to bed. I think for the first time in several nights, I shall sleep soundly.

Be God's,

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Journey of Living Single

"Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." (Genesis 28:15)

"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." (Philippians 4:11)

I tend to get the question a lot, "How come a nice guy like you is still single?" "How has some young lady managed to let you escape?" Of course, on the inside they are thinking, "Sheesh, what is the matter with him that nobody would marry him?" "He looks nice, but he must have some type of 'condition'! I wonder if he has a third eye underneath that hair?"

There was a time years ago that this would bother me and I would start to feel inferior, left out and like I had missed an important boat in the sea of life. However, as I've grown older both chronologically and spiritually, I have come to realize that being a single Christian has been a blessing that married people can never understand. When friends of mine were marrying and settling into that routine, I was able to spend more time with the student ministry at my church without having to worry about leaving my spouse alone too long. When these same friends were having children and raising them, I was able to spend time in mission endeavors with the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) all over the eastern side of the country without worrying about being gone from home for a week or two at a time. While my friends were having to maintain bedtime, homework, sports and cheerleading routines, I could stay on the phone with someone or have someone in my living room who just needed to talk to an adult about issues they were struggling with. And when these friends of mine would often call me with the news that they were separating and divorcing with the ensuing arrangements about children and finances, I was sorrowful, but thankful that I did not have to feel that kind of pain.

Do I want to marry someday? Sure. Do I enjoy the close relationship of a Christian lady who shares not only my faith and values, but my humor, happiness and sorrows? Sure. Have I met the "right one for me" yet? I don't think so, but sometimes I wonder if the one woman for me is living somewhere in Argentina and happened to miss the boat to the USA back in the 1970's. I've always just trusted God to use his divine sledgehammer to whack me into realization whenever she comes along.

My good buddy, Gabe, preached a sermon at church last night that was focused on encounters with God. In the story of Jacob leaving home in Genesis (verse above), Jacob made the self-discovery at Beth-el that God had been with him even when Jacob did not know it. Also, in the story of Moses at the burning bush, Gabe asked the question, "Had the bush been burning all along and Moses just never noticed it? Had the ground always been holy?". God promised Jacob that He would always be with him wherever he went and whatever he did. Not only that, God promised Jacob that He would never leave him until His purpose had been accomplished.

Now, how do I relate this to living a single life. Many people I know are consumed about the fact that they are not married, either by divorce, widowed, or never married. They feel alone, rejected and like they are not a complete person. They question why God has not given them a life mate when everyone else seems to have found theirs. They feel like they are not living a full life as God wants without a marriage and family to fulfill God's plan for their life. I would tend to disagree with this. To be honest, I would tend to disagree with this quite strongly.

Genesis 28:15 tells me (us) that God is and will be with us always. Just because we don't recognize His presence in our single life, doesn't mean He isn't there all along. God was using Jacob and Moses all along, even though they did not recognize His presence the whole time. Once they recognized this, God was able to use them in great and mighty ways to accomplish His work. As single adults, we need to realize that God is very present in our lives and wants to use our single lifestyle for His glory and for His work and quit feeling so left out of His plan. You are in His plan, so just ask Him how you are to be used? Helping newly divorced or widowed people. Being supportive of single parents. Joining together in accountability with others to remain pure and socially in touch with God. Being a part of just a fun group of people who don't have to worry as much about curfews, homework and truant officers.

The apostle Paul was "content in whatever circumstances he found himself". One of those circumstances was being a single Christian guy and look how God used him. I do pray that God will bless me with a wife and family (even if blended) someday and I hope that it happens. But, you know, if it doesn't happen, then I'll be perfectly okay. I know that God will continue to use me in a ministry unique to my own gifts and talents (bizarre as they may seem at times.) More importantly, however, I just want to be used by God as an example that you can live a fun, exciting, fruitful and Godly life as a single Christian guy.

Be God's,

Thursday, January 06, 2005

These are a Few of My Most Hated Things

Things that I hate:
Doing laundry
Getting garbage ready for Thursday pickup
Making Iced Tea (because I'll drink it all in a day and have to make more)
Fast Food drive thru speakers that say "broken- pull up to window"
Three way bulbs that have the middle light burnt out
Stepping on a frog in my socks (true story, but for another time)
Drivers with a Christian symbol on their cars who drive like Satan
A cramp in my pinky toe at 3:00 in the morning

Things that God hates:
Haughty eyes
A lying tongue
Hands that shed innocent blood
A heart that makes evil plans
Feet that run rapidly to perform evil
One who utters lies
One who spreads division among others.
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

Gee, kinda makes my list seem kinda petty and selfish. Hmmmm....

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Methinks that I will share some of scripture verses that I have underlined in my Bible through the years. They all have special meanings to me and have been used in times of joy, of praise, of sadness, of stress and of teaching. A few may have an added 'editorial comment'. Hopefully, these will shed a little light on my Walk with God.

"And who knows whether you have come to this place for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14)
- This verse always reminds me that God places us in positions for His purposes whether we recognize it or not. We should always be aware that "for such a time as this" God may be able to use us wherever we are.

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory.." (Psalm 115:1)
- We should always give the Glory to God for the work He does through and in us.

" 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' " (Jeremiah 29:11)

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (Isaiah 43:1b - 3)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
-Thanks, Gabe. I never knew this verse until you preached on it. I learned a lot.

"Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." (Romans 12:1)

"In all these things we are overwhelmingly conquerors through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37)
- This verse stays on my desk to remind me of the promise that God can conquer anything, even difficult and stoopid bosses (grin)!

"Don't worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God." (Philippians 4:6)

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

"The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the Word of the Lord endures forever." (1 Peter 1:24-25)

"Casting all your worries upon Him, because He cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)

"And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4)

WOW! Just going through my Bible, finding these verses (and many more) and remembering their impact on my life has given me a worship time right here in my living room. May God bless these words to your heart!

Be God's,

Monday, January 03, 2005

Will This Day Ever End?

"Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.........in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. " (Romans 12:3-4)

"As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' ......there should be no division in the body, but that it's parts should have equal concern for each other." (I Corinthians 12:19b-21, 24)

"Can't we all just get along?" (Rodney King)

Today I am ticked. Frustrated. Aggravated. Angry. Just plain mad. Do you hate it when people make decisions that affect you, but they don't consider you? Even when you have asked to be considered in the decision process? Do you hate it when you feel like a pawn between those in authority over you? Do you hate it when you don't feel free to do what you feel God is leading you to do because of human situations out of your control?

If you answered "Yes" to any of the above then you know how my day went. The day began fairly well, but rapidly progressed downhill as I seemed to lose more and more power over my own life.
Ya know... the whole "This just isn't fair" type thing. And, please don't remind me that Moses did not bring down the 11th commandment that said "Life Is Fair" or I might just run screaming into the night.

Yep, this is a poor pitiful me day. They come along very very rarely, but I've got a good one going now. Thank goodness it is almost over and tomorrow will be better. If God works like He usually does with me, my devotional topic tonight will surely be one to knock me over the head and get my attitude back in line. I will certainly be claiming His promise in Isaiah 43:2-3a to always be with us in the most difficult of times.

"Father, calm my spirit, heart, head (and stomach) during this time of stress. I know without a doubt that You are in control and that You only want the best for me, but it's hard to see that when things are so wild. Please use this time to help me grow stronger in my faith and trust in You and to not depend as much on the attitudes and words of mankind. You know the path in which You have called me and the place I am to be. Lead me in Your direction, open the doors as the time becomes right and give me the patience to wait upon You."

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Take courage, all....Be Strong in the Lord!

Be God's,

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Are You a 'Fraidy Cat Christian?

"For God has not given us a spirit of FEAR, but of POWER and LOVE and DISCIPLINE." (2 Timothy 1:7)

As Christians, we have access to a power that our minds cannot quite comprehend. We are promised the power to heal the sick, cure the lame and cause the blind to see, the ability to move a mountain only by having faith and quite a few more. How often are we called to do these? If you are like me, it is not very often. Usually, all God wants us to do is to use any gifts or abilities He gave us for His Kingdom. It may be leading a Bible Study group, being a prayer warrior or sending encouraging cards, using your gift of music, etc. You know what your abilities are and also should be aware of the accountability you have for using them. So, "why are we Christians so afraid to use these gifts", he asks rhetorically. If we are good at talking to people, why do we shiver when asked to visit someone who is interested in our church? If we are skilled at leadership, why do we run when asked to serve as the chair of a committee?

Case in point.........I am a musician. It is a gift and talent from God and I have tried to acknowledge that since I was a young boy. Currently, I have the privilege of serving as a church musician at the best church in God's Kingdom (no bias, just fact). It is a fellowship of loving, caring, encouraging, Bible-believing, mission and ministry minded believers. I had been asked several weeks ago to begin playing for one of the newly restructured worship services at church. No sweat, I play all the time. No biggie, I'm really quite good at it. No problem-o, I like the style of worship in this service. However......da da dummm......Satan paid a visit a day or so ago and somehow got into my head and began to wreak havoc. I actually became very anxious and fearful about playing. What was I afraid would happen? That I would make a mistake? Nah, I can do that with great skill and expertise. Was I worried that the Pastor would stand up and throw a hymnal at me? I doubt it, he is a Godly man and has always been supportive and encouraging to me. Was I concerned that my worst dreams would come true and I would forget to wear pants to the service? Well, knowing the state of my mind somedays, that could possibly happen, however, I seriously doubt it. So, what was the big deal?

I took my eyes off God and began to look at my humanity. As a human, I can only play notes that are written on a page. However, as God's musician, I can hopefully take those same notes and serve as an accompaniment to worship. I am not a solo artist, nor do I want to be one. My only desire is to be an accompanist to those who lead worship and help to create an atmosphere where God can be felt.

The verse above struck me this morning out of the blue. God didn't create fear (or timidity) in me. Or you. Or anyone. He gave us Power and Love and Discipline. Once I re-focused myself on God's purpose in my life, then the anxiety and fear flowed out of me like water. I felt the calmness and assurance of God's Spirit that I've come to depend on for so many years. Did I make mistakes? Yep, but God was still there (and probably chuckling). Did the Pastor throw a book at me? Nope, he led us in a meaningful time of communion and worship. Did I have my pants on? Yep, I was safe this time.

When Satan pays you a visit and gives you a spirit of fear and worry about things, I would encourage you to recognize it and claim the promise made in 2 Timothy 1:7. God wants us to go about His work with boldness and power. Being brave enough to give a smile to the grocery clerk can share the essence of God. Being strong enough to see a need in your church or your community and helping to meet that need can show the Love of God in action.

Go with God, folks. His Love is more powerful than anything you may come against.

Be God's,