Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wanna Help Out?

So most of my friends and readers know what has been going on, but I want to step back and take a brief historical look.  We had a house in Arizona, and we were going to sell it and use the equity to pay off the debt I got in school.  The bubble popped, we short sold.  Moved to Iowa and to make a long story short, we are close to getting the debt settled but the recent job change has moved us from the black to the red.  I am working, but making a lot less, and we are stretched thin.  The Bible said that believers supplied for others who had need, but how do I expect anyone to know we have need if we never say anything about having need?

I am going to put this on Facebook so you can all see and read it, I know not all of my friends see my timeline and not all of my friends who see my timeline read my blog, but I want to throw it out there, just to say if you want to help, you can and I want to make it simple and use some tools, here is a paypal link.

If you feel called to help, that would be appreciated, if you don't, then no worries.  We know God will provide, I just want to do what I feel like I should do, be humble and share my need.  Thanks everyone.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Trust, or lack thereof.

Do you trust someone?  Maybe a better question is, do you trust anyone?  We say "of course, I trust my best friend" or "I trust my spouse" and those who are more spiritual like to say "I trust God".  In reality, however, we often don't trust anyone, including God or spouse, our pastor or ourselves.  Trust is a hard thing these days because let's be honest.  We are pretty selfish and self-centered for the most part.  When someone does something that isn't for our immediate benefit, or if they do something that isn't the way we think it should be done, something lets us down we struggle to trust them.

This becomes a problem because trust is an integral part of faith.  How do we live out our trust in God in an every day basis?  Do we trust Him with our families or our children?  If we do, we would live our lives based on the Biblical principles and not the latest books or studies.  Do we trust Him with our money?  If we did, we would trust the Biblical Principles for money and not the latest advice or trends. If we trusted God with our marriage, we would do what He said to do in our marriages.

It's ironic how we call something trust, but in reality we are doing what we think is right.  In reality, we are trusting ourselves and our ideas, sense of work, ethics, etc.  Even in ministry, as we seek to follow God, we do so even in ways that make sense to us.  When is the last time we were willing to just trust and follow what the Bible teaches, even when it doesn't make sense or seems counter-intuitive.  Maybe we need to re-learn to trust.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Carrying the Weight

Do you feel the weight of the current situation in this country?  I wasn't feeling things too bad until July of this year, when I became a statistic.  Oh, it's not so bad, at least I had some good company, with close to 10% of the population being unemployed.  We have some wonderful friends who gave me a job working in their pizza place, and I was blessed for a few weeks to be able to get some income while I found a full time job with benefits and all that stuff.  I would have rather just stayed at the pizza place, but that's not the issue.

Now, here I am with a Master's degree, can't find a place to rent and can't buy a house with the bank loans.  I have a job with kids who just fell out of high school, and I feel the weight of the economic situation.  It's not fun, and like me, many of you have it bad.  More month than money, more debt that income, and more stress than fun.  It's not a good place to be, yet I know there is hope.

Remember the poem footprints?  I saw one the other day about the line in the sand is when Jesus was dragging me.  That is true.  I have been carried, pushed, pulls and drug because I haven't had the strength and motivation to stand.  Right now I am writing a book, planning 4 or 5 more, starting a non-profit, looking to plant a house church network, trying to coach and beginning to plan a outdoor based novelty company, to make things like wooden and log furniture, laps, pens, desk sets.  I am not sure I'll have time to finish any of them, and I am going at this like a blind man in a boxing match, but I'm going for it.

I don't know what the next 4 years are gonna look like, who will be the President, what the economic outlook will be, if I'll have a better job or if I will finish my books (let alone get published).  I just know who holds tomorrow, so let's make a deal.  You pray for me, I'll pray for you and we will stick together.  Oh, and if you have a house I can borrow. . . oh nevermind.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


There is a clinical diagnosis of depression with many, many people struggle with.  The feeling down, the feeling blue, even feeling hopeless.  Many of us struggle with depression, occasionally feeling down, the feelings of blah.  It stinks, it can be chronic and follow you around like a cloud.  If you struggle with depression, I pray that you find a way out and find joy again in your life.

There is another feeling that is similar to depression, and sometimes in life it finds us.  We lose a job, we love a loved one, we hit a wall, the end of options.  We run out of money, out of time, out of luck.  An overwhelming feeling of darkness, an ache that goes down into your soul.  A pain that shuts down all other emotions, the feelings of despair.

Elijah had despair, he said it was better for him to die, hiding from a queen, fearing for his life, feeling left alone.  He was at the end of his rope.  He was in the depth of despair.  David found himself in despair, his son wanted his throne, his son ends losing his life, and this is not the first time David was in danger.  David knew despair, and the book of Psalms is filled with the cries from his heart.  Job felt despair, sitting in a pile of ashes, scraping his sores with pieces of broken pottery.  These men have all found that place where darkness surrounds them and their soul is weighed down by the weight of fear and pain.  They were in the midst of despair.

Perhaps you have felt or are feeling the crushing weight of despair.  Perhaps you have lost something, or you have too much of something you don't want.  Maybe your depression has built into more depression, crushing you under it's weight until it squeezes all of the hope from your soul.  Maybe illness or loss or absence together has crushed your spirit and you feel like all you can do is stare at the wall.  Do you feel like you can't get any traction?  Do you have goals and dreams and desires, but you can't seem to make anything in your life work?  Do you feel like you want to sit in ashes in burlap, alone with nothing being said, just the sound of your tears falling to the ground?  Do you connect, can you relate?

The pain has a purpose, and I know that seems hard.  As I write these words, I am battling some despair myself, but I know the pain has a purpose.  Despair causes us to look upwards, to wish and to hope.  Despair can cause us to pray and to seek and to knock.  Despair makes us vulnerable and God moves in our lives the most when we are the most hurt, if we will let Him.  God will come in and bring hope and faith to our despair and pain, but only if we will allow Him.  Too often we tell God to get lost, and He is a gentleman and He will be absent if we tell Him to be absent.  Sometimes our selfishness, our need to feel good or feel better will chase away the only cure.  We blame God for our despair instead of looking for the purpose of our despair.

Struggle is never welcome, and no one wants to be in the grips of crippling depression.  No one wants to feel despair, or to lose hope.  No one wants to hurt, but we hurt.  Despair will give us an opportunity to find a deeper relationship with our creator.  Being in right relationship with God, being close with God, having intimacy with God is much more that having worldly happiness.  We can pursue happiness, but we will always be back to despair.  It is fleeting, the only real purpose and joy comes from knowing God.  Learn to love God through the joy and despair.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why The SBC

Living in the Northern Mid-West, there isn't a large number of Southern Baptists, which is a shame if you ask me. Part of the issue is the reputation that often the SBC carries. It is often viewed as a group that is crazy or hateful or extreme, or if nothing else, a southern ministries that doesn't belong here in Iowa.

I have also found that even Southern Baptists in Iowa are ashamed of being Southern Baptist. There is often a sense of apology for who we are. It's time to begin to change that perception. We as Southern Baptists should be sharing who we are, how we love and the ministry we do. After all, the cooperative program, Disaster Relief and a commitment to Biblical truth, these things should be used to set people free. We should be committed to Jesus Christ, focused on the gospel and the ministry of reconciliation. In doing so, we should never be ashamed that we do these things as Southern Baptists.