Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Currently I'm spending time working my way through Donald Miller’s first book, Through Painted Deserts. Many thoughts have run through my head so far, and I wanted to blog about them. I've ready this book many times in the past, and really enjoyed it. This time around, reading the book has opened my eyes to some interesting insights.
So, basically, I’ve found another thing that I’m a slave to. I’ve known this for quite awhile, but maybe today reached a new level of clarity. I’m a slave to the thought that more worldly possessions will make me happy. In my heart, I know this is false, especially when I’m out in nature, and that is enough for me. Then I get back into the real world, and the lure of the enemy comes crashing back in with a vengeance. I have found it particularly difficult to be happy for others when they get things that I've been wanting for awhile. This has been bothering me, because I really hate to be that person. Jealousy in people is never fun to experience. It sucks the joy right out of you. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT TO OTHERS.
I've heard many stories lately from people in my life of fun things they've been able to get or experience, things I've wanted in the past. And I began to feel the jealousy rise up, almost uncontrollably. It was horrible to watch. I read some more out of the book, and was reminded again that no matter how strongly I feel the pull, I know that material possessions won’t make me happier. Sometimes I think this love language thought is such a crock. Complete bullcrap! Gifts won’t make me happy. I mean, I know it’s the process of it, gifts make me feel like someone was thinking about me, and wants to express their love for me. BUT, the gifts won’t make me happy. I don’t need them. It’s strange because I think what I most need is a simplistic lifestyle, minimalist lifestyle, but what I most crave is the exact opposite. I crave the accumulation of unnecessary material garbage. Things that won’t make a lick of difference. My life is not worse off because I don’t have a smart phone. It’s not incomplete because I don’t have a motorcycle. It’s not incomplete because I don’t have an iPad.
My life is incomplete because I search to fill the void in my life with things, and not with Jesus. Pure and simple. No way around that one. It’s the truth. It sucks. Because to be honest, right now, I want “stuff” more than I want Jesus. Just sayin. Trying to be honest here. The desire and pull inside of me is more for material crap than Jesus. If Emily told me I could spend $1,000 on ANYTHING right now, I’d probably scream and dance around the room. Instantly my mind would start making lists of stuff, prioritizing what to get. If I were told I could spend some good quality time with Jesus, hmmmmmm, thanks. Not a bad gift. That’s ok.
How does one address this problem? First and foremost, I must repent. This has such a stronghold over me. I need forgiveness, and I need it know. I also ask for a continual reminder that things will not bring me happiness. Jesus says we shall have no other master before him. That’s serious business. I give this over to Jesus, and trust that He knows how to help me overcome this. Because right now, I feel helpless. This feels too strong of an urge to resist. I’ve got to trust that Jesus will lead me through this process.
Is it wrong to have "stuff"? Absolutely not. Is it wrong to place anything before Jesus? YES! If most of our attention was given to Jesus instead of the accumulation of things, our lives, and our world would be a completely different place. I'm working towards a completely different life. Please pray for me, encourage me, and support me as I work to allow God to break through in this area in my life.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Jesus' Prayer for His Followers1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
6-12I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).
13-19Now I'm returning to you.
I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn't join the world's ways,
Just as I didn't join the world's ways.
I'm not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I'm consecrating myself for their sakes
So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.
20-23I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.
24-26Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.
One could pull out many different themes from this prayer. But one thing I've always walked away with is that on numerous occasions Jesus mentions wanting his followers to be one heart and mind, to be unified as he is with the Father.
Unity, what an amazing concept. What a beautiful thought. The likes of which would rock the world. But then, there's always that one person. You know, that individual that seems to frustrate you no matter what. It seems their time, energy, focus, and existence is focused on being a pain in the neck towards you. Sometimes people clash for seemingly no reason at all. They just rub each other the wrong way.
I've struggled with that this week. I'm sure I piss off my fair share of people. In fact, I KNOW there have been times where people have made seemingly very unfair judgments about me. I am one of those that doesn't have a naturally pleasant demeanor. I'm not angry. I just don't smile naturally. My "natural" probably has been described as "leave me alone". Many times, I'm not feeling that way. I've tried to improve that over the years. Some people are smiley. I'm the opposite. Oh, I love to have fun, laugh, play, etc. But it doesn't always show.
This week I've really struggle with some folks. I tweeted earlier in the week how frustrating it is to have people proclaim something as a problem, and yet they seem to be the biggest contributor to that problem! I want to scream "Open your eyes!" I was really torn up about this. It was eating my lunch. And then, God began to soften my heart, and as He did, I became open to something He wanted to teach/remind me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains
Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/jesus-culture-one-thing-remains-lyrics.html ]
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death and in life I'm confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there's nothing that can separate my heart from your great love
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
this video has definitely got me thinking. one of my dreams has always been to incorporate outdoor activities with ministry. my brother used to take his youth groups backpacking every summer, and i've greatly desired to take groups out in the wilderness for adventures with Jesus and nature.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
i spent a few days earlier this week at a regional retreat for The Vineyard Church up in Green Lake, Wisconsin. it was a great time of getting away, being reminded of some things, and experiencing God in some new ways (new to me). one thing in particular that God kept telling me over and over while I was up there was to trust Him. to trust Him DEEPLY. he told me that a lot. and when I say a lot, I mean almost constantly. i was reminded to relax, and to stay present in the moment. all too often I'm looking ahead to something else, and neglect what is going on right now.
some time was spent this morning regarding the issue of trust in my life. trust in God. how does one go about developing trust in God? i mean, it's not something you just decide to have. trust is developed over time. through experiences. in order for me to trust God, i've got to let go of the details of my life. i've got to let go of control. i've got to give Him a chance to prove Himself trustworthy. and i've got to remember the ways He's proved Himself in the past
many times i don't obey God because i don't trust Him. the dilemma, is that in order to give God a chance, i've got to learn to obey Him. i've got to take that step. it's funny that we are dealing with obedience right now with our two daughters. i try to explain to them that i want them to learn to obey us because we want and know what's best for them, and they need to learn to trust us. but they can be stubborn, just like their father.
at this retreat, someone shared a quote from jack hayford. "do you want a map of where the river is, or do you want to jump in?" this really hit home with me because i typically want all the details laid out before i trust. i need to learn that i don't need details; God's got those covered. i just want to jump into the river!
i don't care how out of control the river is. i want to learn to trust God more than my circumstances. i want it to be said of me that i learned to trust God deeply. my goal is that obedience would no longer be an issue for me. if God says it, i will do it. i'd rather get it wrong trying, than fail through not trying. so, who's just into this river with me?
Saturday, October 1, 2011
a last minute realization that today was the first day of bow season made me rethink the trails i was going to run on. it also made me change my wardrobe slightly, making sure to grab my bright yellow windbreaker. once i got to the park, more surprises awaited me as a cross country meet was going on. so more decisions had to be made regarding where to start.
i finally found a parking spot, grab all my stuff, and got going. it hadn't occured to me that many portions of the trails would be covered with leaves of all shapes and sizes. immediately i felt an inner satisfaction, knowing that regardless of how far i ran or how fast, this was going to be a good day. i had no real agenda, other than wanting to get at least 10 miles in (i ended up with just over 11).
more than anything, i simply remember being awed at the display of god's handiwork. the colors of the trees, leaves on the trails, and everything else just left me breathless. in fact, at one point, i simply stopped on the trail, and marveled. i took a moment to thank god for having me out there, and for displaying his talent in such an amazing way.
the past few months i've spent much time wishing i was able to run in other locations. colorado. up-state new york. utah. washington. anywhere but illinois.
today, i repented of that. i took a look around and just felt an overwhelming sense of happiness. few places could have looked so marvelous. i can still see the place in my head. sloping hill, up-hill to my left, river flowing to my right, trees and leaves everywhere.
so this really hasn't been such a quick thought. i do have a question i want to leave you with. what attitude, desire, or perspective needs to be re-evaluated in your life? desires have positives and negatives. sometimes they propell us to work hard. other times they keep us from being grateful for what we already have.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
What I was to wear and carry the morning of the race.
A few miles into the race. This is what much of the first third of the race looked like scenery-wise.
Just another part of the trail.
I loved running through this forest filled with tall trees like these.
Much of the middle third of the race was run through prairie such as this. It was pretty, but I could have done with a few less miles of this.
However, it was fun to be able to see other runners for quite a ways.
Still in good spirits towards the end.
I had an absolutely amazing experience this past weekend at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Madison, Wisconsin. I was just joined two great friends, Josh Hoerman and Robbie Watson. This weekend was a dream 4+ years in the making for me. I've dreamed of doing this race ever since it's inception, and it finally came to pass.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
This s'more was amazing, to say the least! I did in fact, only eat one of these bohemoths, but it got the ball rolling. My next s'more adventure may include pop tarts, peanut butter cups, and who knows what else I can come up with. THIS one included:
1/2 Hershey chocolate bar
1/2 Hershey chocolate bar
Oh yes, it was the SHOWSTOPPER! Once we finished with the s'mores, we attempted to put the children to bed. It's quite possible that Zoey finally fell asleep after about an hour, but no one can stand up to the best sabotage attempts of our youngest, our dear little Hadley. She just likes to mess with people. She's the ultimate prankster, even at the young age of 3. Finally, I think it was about 10:30 or so, we decided it would be best for Emily and Zoey to head inside so that they could at least get some sleep. I cuddled with Hadley and eventually we dozed off for a few hours. We finally awoke to the cool, crisp morning air, and the first words out of her mouth.........."You're the best daddy in the world!"
Music to my ears! Totally worth every second! What more could a dad ask for? We sat in the tent for a few moments before coming inside, only to find Zoey already awake. Hmmmmmm, I'm thinking the girls will definitely be put to bed early today for naps. Hopefully they behave for Emily today while I'm trail running, attempting to run off that 10 pound gigantic s'more.
So, for now, strong coffee is the order of the day. And thinking back on some great memories.