Monday, February 16, 2009

Those Controlling Rules

I've been thinking about this a lot the past few months. Rules are everywhere and no one is immune from them. Even the rule-breaking, rebellious, rough-around-the-edges people still have to follow some rules eventually. Now, sure we bend some of these rules. I can hear the captain from Pirates of the Caribbean saying, "they're more like guidelines..." I wonder why we all follow rules? Why do we listen to our parents when we're young? Why do we obey the police? Why do some of us submit to Christ? Other than the fear of belt whippings, being shot, and lightning bolts (joking), it's interesting to think about.

I was driving through a traffic light the other day and thought about how good it is to see the green light--to know that I have permission to go through. I also get really anxious at each light hoping I don't see the dreaded yellow and red. But why don't we just keep driving through? Why don't children, in a Hollywood-movie style, raise up against their parents and never take a command again seriously? Why don't we tell God that we're right and He's wrong and keep doing what we want? I think it's because God has more control of this world than we think. We talked about this a little bit in Bible college. There's this instinctual influence coming from somewhere that makes us all know the basic difference between right and wrong. Sure, our parents help fine tune that, but even those who didn't have parents or had really lenient parents know deep down what is right and wrong.

God is in control. He is the source of influence. He always is. We can take Him out of the schools, government, and even churches, but He'll still have control. Have you felt this? We can deny it, try to run from it, even downright hate it, but God is still in control. Are you submitting? We follow the rules because deep down we all have a love and desire for our Father in Heaven. He has invested in us from the beginning. I, for one, am completely glad. How about you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Character of the Storm

I have always been interested in weather. I would watch the weathermen on TV with jealousy. I would watch "Twister" and kind of think I could do that. I even spent a semester in college pursuing a major in Meteorology. However, due to experiences as a child, I am not a fan of severe thunderstorms. Since it is winter, I figured now would be a good time to talk about summer thunderstorms. One of the incredible things you discover in the first studies of Meteorology is that there is a lot of stuff that goes into the weather. Lots of data, patterns, maps, observations, and predictions. And so I find myself thinking of these thunderstorms. The thing that amazes me is that a storm can hit multiple states in just one day. Even further, these storms often take on the same character in these multiple states. Grant it, some factors change, some areas get different storms, but a big system can cause similar storms in such a large area. Maybe this isn't a big deal to you, but it amazes me.

The character of the storm is all about consistency and velocity. A storm that has great character will last for a long time and show intensity and zeal. There will be large spread results of this storm and people will talk about it for awhile, always remembering its splendor. The character of the storm can certainly be dangerous when precautions aren't taken; but if safety is possible, all you do is sit back and watch in awe.

I feel like God personifies Himself in the character of a storm. Even the insurance companies will agree with that (aka, the "Act of God" justification for non-coverage). I do not agree that God uses these severe storms to act out Himself, but I see His character in them. God is all about consistency and velocity. God is never-ending and always shows intensity and zeal for His people. The results of God's character are world-renown and people have been talking about His splendor for thousands and thousands of years. When we aren't taking precautions to please God, His justice and judgement will certainly prevail, but God is good and saves those who cry out to Him. And when the Almighty saves, we are in awe of His mercy and grace.

Are we, as children of God, taking on the character of the storm, so that the strength and velocity of the storm will continue? Will you be the one who hinders the continuation of the storm? Will you be the one who's watching in awe, only hoping you can offer just something to the character of this storm? I know we all have the potential to do something great in this world. Will you follow the momentum of God's movement, or will you go against it? I can guarantee you that it feels much better to jump into the forward movement and find beauty in the character of the storm.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are You Serious?!!

So, I was browsing through some movies on Netflix tonight, and I came across a movie called, "Help! I'm a Boy"...and the title is enough for me to know I may never watch this movie. However, the picture on the box might just deter me first. Frankly, I'm disappointed in Netflix...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stuck on the Roof

I love Fall. There are many things about it that make me enjoy the season. Of course the beauty of the trees changing colors, pumpkins and candy at Halloween, and cooler temps are all wonderful things about Fall. However, there are few on this planet that actually look forward to raking leaves. Of course, if you ignore the leaves, your grass dies and your neighbors aren't happy on windy days. I will say that my wonderful wife does the majority of the raking, or has so far. I think it's because I do the mowing during the summer and she is OCD and can't handle the "messiness" of the yard. :) I love her.

Anyway, today my job was to clean out the gutters... Needless to say, I was not excited about it, but, again, it had to be done. I borrowed a ladder from a friend because it was an extension ladder that would let me climb right up onto the roof. I should preface the rest of this by saying I'm not a huge fan of heights. Our house is no mansion, but it's higher than a chair. I got up the ladder and on the roof with little issues. I cleaned out the gutters, though, that was no party either.

Then...I had to get down. If you've ever climbed a ladder and dismounted it, you know that the challenge is mounting again. I could not do it. I was scared to death falling off the roof. I tried a couple maneuvers and Sonia tried to help coach me, but to no avail. I was stuck. It was a good 5-10 minutes before I finally got it figured out, mustered up some courage and got down (no, I'm not blogging from the roof).

As I reflect on it now, it made me think about how I approach certain situations. I feel like I'm often stuck on the roof. Do you know that feeling when you just know the right thing to do, and yet you can't move on it? I can't tell you how many people I could have talked to about Christ's love for them. I can't tell you how many lies I could have avoided. I can't tell you how many people I've let walk away when I knew they just needed someone to talk to.

Get off the roof and grab ahold of that ladder. I can tell you it's a good feeling when you get down and gravity is no longer your worst enemy. What's stopping you?

In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.
~ James 4:17 (The Message)

Monday, September 29, 2008


Took this picture in Wisconsin at a gas station on the pump. There's two things wrong with this picture:

1) "BORKED"????? I can't tell if this person actually meant "broked" or if they were making up a word. Either way, it's worthy of three underlines and two exclamation points, so it must be something special. My best guess on this is that the dyslexic hillbilly didn't have anything else to do, so someone told him to write this note and were too busy to proofread it...

2) "RecIEpt" is indeed spelled RecEIpt. I remember a little jig in elementary that went, "I before E, except affter C..." Either the peson writing this didn't realize there was a "C" in the word, or they didn't go to elementary school. I'm not trying to be mean, but seriously folks...

It's a good thing I didn't really want the receipt. What are your best guesses as to the meaning behind this note?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Observations from a Scary Place

It's a scary place to be. The dentist chair. I had an appointment the other day to get some fillings and I just happened to notice a couple of things. Here are my observations:

NOTE: Some of this may be disgusting or whatever. If you have a queasy stomach, read until you can't take it...or don't read at all. ;) It's a dentist office and we all know what happens there. Ok, let's get on with it.

1) It's pretty amazing how much they try to make a torture room look welcoming. Next time you're at the dentist, take a glance at all the things there that really don't need to be there, but add something to the room to make you feel a little less stressed. My dentist office had a small garden outside the window and some bird feeders. It was a small fence-enclosed area, but a nice touch nonetheless. Plus, there's a window right in front of extra that I will not take for granted. At least I can see what freedom looks like...

2) Piggy-backing off of point 1, a TV in the dentist chair is the best idea since Super Nintendo (actually Super Nintendo in the chair too would be awesome)! Not only was it cool to watch some sports and calm my nerves a little more, but it gave the doctor something to talk to me about before drilling my face off. It was a nice moment of connecting before the drill came out.

3) It's always a bad sign when the hygienist hands the doctor a syringe and then places her hand on your shoulder to pin you down. You know that's going to hurt. I'm sure it would hurt more if I jerked my body up as he was pushing the syringe in. I'm going to move on now before I pass out.

4) I actually prefer going to the dentist for a filling over a bi-yearly clean. It's straight down to business, they numb your face, and there's not a ton of poking and scraping. It's drill, scrub, replace, dry, and buff. Done and done. I had two this time and I was in the chair for about half an hour. Not too shabby. Sure they threw in the usual, "brush more, floss more, blah blah blah...", but it wasn't so much that I wanted to stab them in the retina with a toothbrush. Also, you don't have to wait for the doctor to get to everyone else. He/She is the one working on you, so when the procedure is done, you're good to go. Nice.

5) One of the worst things in the world is having to deal with a numb face for a few hours afterward. I literally was watching the clock every second to see how much longer it was going to take. You feel like everyone is staring at you and you're always wondering if there is drool coming out of your mouth that you can't feel. Also, it's really hard to talk to people and smile as part of your lip is dead. I looked in the mirror a lot wondering if the lip was swollen.

6) Expensive...period.

Those are my quick thoughts and observations. All in all, this visit wasn't too bad. Of course, I'm not going to pencil one in every week, but it's doable at least once a year. :)

Now go brush your teeth!

Monday, August 25, 2008

As If Love Weren't Enough

When storms approach, when people cry for help, our God listens.
When lies control, when tension arises, our God listens.
When the poor need help, when money is tight, our God listens.
When it seems like too much, when the scars throb with pain, our God listens.
When good times are great, when bad times are imminent, our God listens.
When fear grips us, when apathy is our lifestyle, our God listens.

How does He listen? He loves.
How does He provide? He loves.
How does He help? He loves.
How does He encourage? He loves.
How does He heal? He loves.
How does He bless? He loves.

Sometimes in life, we go about as if love weren't enough. We complain, we fear, we worry, we cry. It's okay to admit it. I do all of these from time to time; even a lot of the time. But why? God is love. Isn't that enough? Shouldn't it be enough? Life is hard, and no one said it wouldn't be. Even Jesus made it clear that it would. It's hard because we made it hard, not because of God. Decisions are made that don't make us happy. But God is love and He doesn't make decisions that hurt us.

So how are you living? Are you living as if love weren't enough? I forget sometimes that the love of God is plenty enough.