Monday, December 07, 2009

I've moved

After almost 2 years with Blogger I have decided to move to Wordpress. Please follow the address above to find it. Thanks to Blogger for the past 2 years. Again, the new blog may be found at

-- Post From My iPhone

The Writing on the Wall

This is a story that happened to me yesterday and that aches my heart. This is a story of regret, confusion, and a certain level of anger. This is a story of how a hunt for a tiny Christmas tree turned into a search for God in a dying world. This is a story of Satan jumping into a car and hitching a ride.

My family and I went to our local Christmas tree farm(Tara Place) this past weekend and bought our Christmas tree for this year. It was a fun experience and the farm we visited goes all out to guarantee that you leave feeling ready for Christmas. Despite that fact though, I still wanted to find a small tree to place on the front porch of our home and to cover with lights. It's just something I thought would be neat. Not wanting to pay for said tree though, I decided just to drive around and see if I could find one out in the woods or off the road somewhere.

I tried to sneak away but I had been out with the boys playing that Sunday afternoon. Naturally, when they saw me getting into my vehicle, saw in hand, their curiosity peaked and I soon had two helpers loaded and ready to go with me. As we drove we talked and laughed and the boys were both big eyed and vocal in helping their dad look for that perfect little tree.

Soon enough, I spotted a group of young pine trees off in a field. I knew that one of these would be perfect and they were in a spot that I knew they were growing wild. All that was left to do now was to turn around and cut it down. How I wish I would have never turned around.

As we looked for a place to turn around, the best place was an area up the road where a gas station used to be. As we reached the road, the boys were both talking about how they had never been to this place before so they were both eagerly investigating the scenery. Then I saw it. As I pulled forward, spray painted on a wall were the words that I wasn't prepared to see. Written in large black spray painted letters was a message to one of our local law enforcement officers. This message which started with an "F" and ended with "you" prefaced the name of the officer. Not knowing what to do, I didn't mention it and just tried to speedily drive past.

Then the question came. My 8 year old son, who still thinks that words like stupid, butt, and hate are "bad" words but who reads so very, very well, asks me, his father, "Dad, why does that wall say F___ you?" There was no stuttering, stammering, or blunting of the word. He read it and said it boldly just as I have heard him read words like mother, tree, zoo, or elephant. This fact told me that he did not know he was saying anything bad but that he was simply reading what had been placed in front of him.

Stunned, I was not sure how to answer his question. The first thought that went through my mind was to answer him that some people in this world were trash and that they take pleasure out of defacing and devaluing people's property and that they don't care how their actions affect others. However, my thoughts were quickly changed to answer my son with a Christian response; one that does not counter evil with evil but that rather expresses the reasoning behind why their mother and I so often remind them that the world needs strong Christian young men and why we are trying to train them to be such. Therefore, I answered him, "because there are people in this world who do not know the love of Christ and who do not allow Christ to be the center of every action they take in life." I explained to my sons, sooner than I would have wanted, that this word was a very bad word and one that a Christian should refrain from using because it is very hurtful and powerful. Both of them verbalized understanding but I know now that this word has been firmly planted within their heads and I am very saddened by this. They not only know now how to read it, but how to use it and the power which it holds.

So what is the Christian father to do now? It's not really reasonable or possible to lay down a new family law that says no more taking the kids anywhere in the world. Nor would it be prudent to force the kids to wear blindfolds from now on when we go in the car. I don't think we could afford to replace all the windows in our car with glass that one cannot see out of. So, what to do then?

For whatever reason, my mind goes to the book of Ezra where we find Ezra preparing his followers to move forward in their journey to Jerusalem. Ezra, knowing the dangers that would lie ahead for them on the journey knew what the best answer was and I take great strength and hope in his example today. Ezra writes the following in chapter 8:

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. 22For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him." 23So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Fearful and concerned about the safety of those he loves, Ezra's action was to humble himself before God and to plead for the protection that they knew they would need. Ezra recognizes that he could ask the king for their physical protection, but to do so would in a sense make Ezra a hypocrite as he has been preaching about how great and powerful his God is. Ezra was placed at a crossroads in which he had to choose to trust God or to trust man. Ezra chose God and later in Ezra 8 we learn that God answered their humility with the protection they so needed.

As a father, there is nothing more important to me in this world than the spiritual and physical protection of my sons. I can build walls, make rules, place blinders, and block the world all that I want. Yet, without the trust that God will keep his promises and will answer prayers for our children, all these other actions are but vanity. Therefore, I do intend to call my local mayor and city council officers and ask that they cover the graffiti up so someone else will not have this same ordeal. Still, I will trust God that He will not allow this Satanic intervention along our journey yesterday to corrupt my sons. Without this trust, I have no hope about any aspect of their life.

Just as a side note. I happen to be friends with the officer to whom the mentioned graffiti is addressed. I spoke to him about it this morning and he says he knew it was there. He's known it was there for almost 2 years. Why does it take 2 years for someone to get something like this taken off of a publicly visible wall?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration - Exactly Who Are You Aligning Yourself With

In this day and age of it being considered rude to distinguish oneself as a Christian, but rather a Christ-follower, there is little confusion over why so many are so quick to sign the Manhattan Declaration, a document that declares the position of American Christians on life, marriage, and religious liberty. If you have not read this document that is asking for you to sign it, you can read the document in it's fullness here. While I find the main idea behind this as a good idea, I do see several glaring problems. First, and most glaring, where is the gospel in this document? Second, why does this have to be interlaced with political jabs? Third, has anyone really taken a look at who and what you would be aligning yourself with should you sign this document? I don't think that I could say what needs to be said better than some of the people I enjoy reading. I personally am choosing not to sign it as I do not see any need to put my name on some declaration written by the hands of men when I know that my name has been written in the book of life already with the blood of the spotless lamb. I would not condemn anyone who does decide to sign it but I would caution that some look at the drafters of this document and those who agree the most with it. Signing this paper though will not make you a better Christian.

Please take time to read the following links to educate yourself more on this document:

From Pyromaniacs: 19 Questions for the Signers of the Manhattan Declaration

From Dr. James White: The Troubling Aspects of the Manhattan Declaration

From Al Mohler: Why I did sign the Manhattan Declaration (there is nothing I can argue with in these statements)

Muppets Sing Bohemian Rhapsody

This video may be the best thing I watched on the internet in all of 2009. The Muppets plus a great song = 4 minutes of pure joy for me. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Something to Behold

As if I need more reasons to love my wife, I have found another that I feel is worth sharing with the world. I will probably get in trouble for this but what she did was and is so inspiring to me that it will be worth it. Not only has she inspired me by her actions but also by the report she returned from her action. I feel that this is worth sharing.

This is a story that begins with disappointment. Last Sunday night, after returning home from church, our home soon began to have the glorious odor of something from the goodie genre cooking in the oven. Upon my investigation, I found that my wife was cooking bread, banana-nut bread to be exact, and it smelt glorious. I knew that she had been speaking of possibly making a Thanksgiving basket to give to the elderly widows who reside around us but I did not know she intended to do it this soon. Disheartened when told that none was for our family, I told her what a great woman she was and how proud I was to be her husband.

She literally spent hours baking these loaves of bread and my heart went back to my childhood and memories of my mother working away to make and deliver her now famous pound cakes to the sick, bereaved, or just her friends. I thought about how fortunate I was to have such a wife and how useless it would be for me to offer her any help. I am mean with the grill but baking is not my forte. Needless to say, I was happy when she was finished and we could settle in and watch the recorded episode of Amazing Race, her favorite show, from that night.

The next day, for some reason that I don't know, I decided to come home and get my lunch. As I pulled into our driveway I was met by Joy and our infant son Kip. They were leaving to go make their deliveries. At first I wanted to ask if that was not something that all of us should do as a family but I quickly realized that this was her mission and that doing this on her timeline and

to her pleasure would be best. So that she would feel no obligation to stay with me while I ate I told her I would just get something to eat elsewhere, told her I loved her, and returned to my office. I couldn't help but smile as I saw her in my rearview mirror with her baskets pushing the stroller on her way to do her good deed.

As the day progressed I thought several times about how it went for her. I wondered if the women were home, if they were warm and welcoming, and if the baby had behaved. I knew in my heart though that all would go well because I knew the driving force behind her action. I knew that the sole purpose of her action was to glorify God and in her own small (easy for me to say) way let his love shine out of her. What a great woman and what an amazing fruit of the spirit that Christ provides.

As I got home though and asked her how it went, I was not met with a message of happiness but rather one of stark realization. While Joy did report that all of the eight widows she visited were happy for the company and that they enjoyed holding and playing with the baby, she was most overwhelmed by the loneliness and quiet that these ladies live in. None of these ladies live in what we would consider desolate situations. They all have large homes but Joy was shocked by the fact that they only use part of their homes. The rest remains shut off and rarely used. They have these homes but live in apartments they build into their homes. What was most shocking ot her though was the quiet they live in. While so many of us reside in homes that always has the television, the radio, the computer, or some other noisy distraction going, these ladies all lived in utter quiet. Joy commented on how she could hear the clocks all ticking and the appliances shutting on and off in an intrusive fashion. Yet, that is the life these ladies, none of whom live more than a few hundred yards from us, live. Desolate, shut off, and quiet is their lifestyle.

That leads to the reason that I write this. How easily are we caught up in our own lives, forgetting about the ones who need our time the most around us? Some of these ladies are the ones who you shake hands with or hug at church on Sunday, never once thinking about what it is they will be returning home to. How happy they must be to have company and someone to spend time with talking to. I can think of widows I personally know who their own children do not even visit them. However, I cannot judge them because the only time I tend to think about visiting them is if they are sick. What a difference we can make in someone's life though by the most simple of good deeds. While I am sure the bread was an added treat, just our time spent with them would be a gift they must cherish. This is not to be done to make our lives or relationship with God better, but rather to glorify God by making someone else's life better.

I struggled over the weekend to think of scripture that would put the light I see my wife in at this time into words. What I came up with was the following:

Psalm 119:124-128
124Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 125I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 126It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken. 127Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 128Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way.
That is my wife - how lucky am I