Monday, April 30, 2012

NAE on Ethics

  Today the NAE posted the findings that most church leaders never sign formal codes-of-ethics.  Honestly, this is something that has never crossed my mind but now that I have heard mention it kind of intrigues me.  Think about it, these are people whom we look to for ethical guidance and they themselves are not bound to an ethical standard.  I suppose that isn't true, they are bound to the Word which is the ultimate ethical writing but as I have seen and even wrote on we can't always agree on what those ethics are.  This world has Christian denominations that range from ridiculously liberal to frighteningly conservative.  I think I tend to fall closer to the first category but lets face it, there has been a lot of evil done in the name of Christ.  Maybe some kind of standard in ethics wouldn't be such a bad idea.  If they drafted something up I would be very interested to see what ministers thought of such a thing.

Put Out The Fire

   What can I say, I enjoy a little reporting now and then.  A couple of days ago Christian leaders condemned the burning of Qu'rans.  A move I back 100%.  We can't claim to have a faith of peace, love and forgiveness if we are destroying the things that make other people happy.

"Real Christians don't burn Qu'rans," said Leith Anderson, NAE President. "Our Christian faith calls us to respect and love."
   Brilliant is that phrase, simply brilliant.  Those two sentences sum up what I have been trying to stress better than I can convey.  The New Testament is a book of kindness, forgiveness and tolerance.  I think that all too often people let their own prejudices cloud their judgement and then people suffer.  My hat is off to the NAE.  Hopefully pastors take heed and spread the word in their churches and we can see if the world can become a better place.

Not what I expected, tithing and the poor family

   This weeks sermon was on greed, from Andy Stanley's book Enemies of the Heart.  From talking to my wife and other church members I think it didn't come across right, however.  I hate to say it but church left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth this week, and I wasn't alone.  The message to give is important and a strong one but when it is virtually demanded that you tithe before you pay your power bill, I have trouble getting behind that.  Times have changed, I'm afraid, and this is something that is struggling to adapt.
   I write this blog, which is my version of ministry.  I love it and the responses I get from people.  I will admit that I get excited when I see that people read it and even more so when they comment.  I feel that this is how God is telling me to make an impact on the world.  However, I don't ask for money.  I have thought about monetizing but I haven't.  It just doesn't feel right to try and live on God's word.  I have a job, it pays my bills and a little more now and then but I am hardly much above the poverty line.  A full 10% would cripple my family and what I am trying to do for couples outside of this blog. 

   Contextually tithing came as a way for the Levite clan to have an inheritance, which they were not given by God.  In exchange for taking care of the Tabernacle they were to receive 1/10 of the crops and animals raised by the other Jews.  I am over simplifying that a bit, but you get the idea.  Today, there are so many ways to raise money that I have to wonder if a traditional tithe is even necessary anymore.  I firmly believe in serving the church and making sure they can pay their bills and such, but I can't do it by sacrificing my families security in the process.  The church is supposed to be generous as well.  I don't see them paying our bills, I don't see them supporting the widow when her husband dies.  I found that more than a bit irritating. 

  Do I think you shouldn't give?  No, absolutely not.  I think you should give with all your heart, but when is it time to receive?  I was told to trust in God and he will take care of me and I suppose that is true.  However, I am trusting in God when He tells me that I can't sacrifice my room and board to satisfy an ancient tradition.  I spent well over ten percent of my salary this last check on biblical things.  I bought a new book to help with our "couples" outreach to help young and old relationships find God together.  I bought Kat a new audio version of the NIV Bible.  I bought Alex a new book of Bible stories.  All of this things I have acquired to help spread the Word of God in the ways he tells me.  The fact that I still managed to find twenty bucks for the offering plate I think is commendable.  It could actually mean me not eating breakfast or lunch this week, but now I feel like I am being asked for more.  I hope this is a trend that isn't going to continue as I don't feel like this is God's work. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

My Response to the NAE Pastoral Letter on Marriage

  This is a response to the NAE Pastoral Letter on Marriage.

The letter is set up in a numbered sections and I think I will address them as such.  I didn't post the full text of the letter here but you should have no trouble using the link up above.

1.  I tend to agree with most of this statement.  I worry, though, that the exclusionary language in here could go right back to the same alienating edicts that have scarred the Body of Christ.  We don't need to agree with everything that people do, nor do we need to support immoral behavior but we also need to be really careful how we preach that.  I think it is important that we make people feel welcome with us, not afraid of our retribution.

2.  I've said it before and I'll reiterate it here.  I have no problem with gay marriage.  I know a number of gays and lesbians that I would consider far more Godly than many of the Christians I have dealt with over the years.  If they find a church that condones their marriage and a pastor that will officiate it, who are we to discriminate? We do the Bible a disservice if we forget that it was written in the words of an ancient people no matter how divinely it was inspired.  If they feel that God has brought them together then the only judge they should face is the Almighty Himself.

3.  I have to agree.  We are given this freedom in this Nation to disagree with anyone whom we see fit.  However, is it not right to respect their rights of freedom as well?  I think it is great to voice our opinions but if we do it in such a way that people go away upset and hurt are we not violating the commandment to love thy neighbor?  There is a line to walk here and I think we need to be very cognizant to walk carefully.  Christ said, "turn the other cheek," not, "preemptive strike."  Don't forget, also, that none of us really follow the Bible verbatim any more.  If you cringe at that let me ask you this --- if your sister, daughter or friend was raped in the country side do you think it correct that the rapist can pay 50 pieces of silver and marry her?  How about in Roman's where it says you have to honor your leaders because they are appointed by God.  Does that mean you support Hitler, or any other dictator?  How many of you have criticized our President?  Why is it okay to try and shove one "sin" down someone's throat when we ignore dozens of others in our life?

4.  I am not a pastor and the closest thing I do to ministry is this blog, which I suppose qualifies in some way.  I never claim to speak with authority but I do try to voice what God tells me when I pray to the best of my ability.  Now, no language of humanity can accurately convey what resonates through me so I can be wrong and freely admit that it might be so.  I think it is best for me to refer this answer to the second statement.  I think sex is best left inside a loving marriage, but what is that?  No where in the Bible did I read how a marriage is preformed.  In fact there are times that it seemed they were spontaneous events.  If two people dedicate themselves to each other in healthy ways then I see no harm in relationships that don't fit a traditional norm.  I think they should all be healthy in the eyes of God, but how they arrive at that point is up to them and not me.

5.  Again I agree.  I am much happier in God than Government.  Even though Paul beseeches us to listen to and respect our leaders as God appointed, I can't help but to criticize.  God didn't grant us reasoning levels of intellect so that we would end up sheep to whatever ridiculous cause someone in power comes up with.  God granted us wisdom so we can analyze our behaviors and make the best decisions.  If something seems wrong to you then you should clear your mind and pray about it.  Listen to the Holy Spirit and I bet it will teach you peace and tolerance.  Love is far more important that judgement.  We should leave that to our Heavenly Father, I think He is far more capable than we.

In closing I think that the letter was well written and shows a certain modern viewpoint that the Body of Christ can benefit from immensely.  With the Catholic church withdrawing itself and becoming very strict and traditional again I think that we stand in a wonderful position to shine our light as a beacon to all people and make them feel welcome.  Let us go forth and be a positive influence and bring joy not oppression.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I sat
Darkness surrounds
A light I found
A flicker
A pin prick
Sat on a candlestick
I beheld
Other flames around
We joined and grew
Finding fuel to renew
Until the darkness
Feel away
And revealed
My savior today

A Proclamation

  I will start with an apology.  Every person whom I have judged, whom I have wronged.  If you read this, I am sorry.  I stumbled across a documentary a couple of years ago by the name of God, Save Me From Your Followers and I have had the urge to watch it again and give my thoughts.  Considering the fact I spent the latter half of the show with tears in my eyes I can tell you it's message is profound and hits home.  Do you want to know why I feared Christ?  Watch this video.

   I have heard nothing but hate from Christians.  I worked with a pastor that wanted to exterminate Muslims.  I have seen the news stories of gay men dragged to death behind cars.  We have ignored slaves, used faith to belittle races, attack religions.  We have Crusaded, killed, raped, maimed and butchered in the name of Christ. I went to a Metallica concert with a zealot who condemned me to hell.  God dammit people, Christ would be appalled!  The man who ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, who took water from a Samaritan... Who died to save us... Do you think he would condone that?  What right do we have to judge?  Who are we to condemn?  Who in the hell do we think we are?  We are supposed to be humble!  To love one another!  Yet we writhe in the filth of liars and cheats.  We have become the voice of something far more evil than we claim to try and save against.

   This Christian is done with it.  I am done with sneering at homeless people.  From entertaining homophobia.  From using the name of Christ as a reason to judge or stand above anyone!  I am humble in the face of God and I am his servant and I can honestly tell you that when I think of people who are sacrificing themselves like Jesus did. I can't think of a single Right Wing fundamentalist!!  How about some names for you, the Dalai Lama, Bono, Nelson Mandela, the list goes on and on, yet I see the right coveting and growing fat off the word of God.  It is disgusting.  God has commanded me to come to his side and I tell you now, "if you are in need, if you are repressed, enslaved, impoverished or otherwise crushed under the yoke of oppression. I will stand by you and for you in the eyes of God."  I don't care who you are, who you marry, who you love, or your God above.  I am here, now and until I die, to make sure justice and the love of God are shown to all men and women equally.

   I write this as a challenge to Christian and secular people alike.  It is time to understand we are the same.  We have the same goals, the same purpose.  The only thing dividing us is the will of those who wish our oppression.  Think about it.  Derisiveness sells, and it sells well.  We are being used as pawns in a game of money and power even though we want the same things.  Faith should be a force to unite mankind and bring love and generosity into the world, not as a reason to wage war and scream at each other on national Television.  We have become what is hated in the eyes of God.  It is time we put aside our differences and grow up.  The world aches with centuries of hate and violence.  Enough is enough, it is time to try and put it back together.  If you have the courage I hope you join me in spreading the love of God.  Do not preach, do not judge, do not criticize.  Accept your neighbor and love him as you would love Christ.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Winds of Change

   I have been reading comments on USA Today's religious news site today and it irritates me to read the comments on there.  I find it is interesting that people are more vehemently opposed to religious thought than many of our brothers and sisters support it.  I guess it goes to show you the power of the enemy whom I was under the influence of a mere few months ago.  The venom that people show is downright violent.  Unfortunately, some of what they say is true.  Look at the changes in the Catholic church right now.  I fear we are on the cusp of darkness once again.  Jesus taught a level of tolerance that just doesn't exist in the conservative doctrine that I have been reading.  Be strong, brothers and sisters.  Remember that "Love your neighbor" is the most important commandment of all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Uplifting

   I have been feeling really spiritual today.  When I woke up this morning I could sense that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach coming over me.  You see, depression is something I have fought with since I was a teenager and I have been medicated off and on since my 20's.  This morning I asked God to grant me the Holy Spirit to see if it might pull me up, and it did.  The side effect is that God has been urging me to spread Faith today and I have been trying to oblige.  Instead of writing about whatever my latest revelation has been, I think I just want to ask you all to share in His glory today!  Stop and say, "thank you, God, for giving me what I need to live and thrive in the body of Christ.  I will try and give up my selfishness so that I can truly be a beacon to others and guide them from the darkness.  Hold my hand, oh Lord, and teach me to love and to be a loving person.  Let me die from this life everyday and be reborn in Christ that I may serve and never give the Enemy a foothold.  Let others draw inspiration from my righteousness without me becoming self righteous.  I know that I fail, oh Lord, and that I am weak but your spirit gives me the strength to continue.  Praise Jesus in all of his eternal glory. Amen."  It is a glorious day, my brothers and sisters!  Don't let your voices be silent!

Sunday, April 22, 2012


While listening to Caleb Quaye at church today this popped into my head.

Walk in the image of God
Hold His hand
Be one in His eyes
Let His ears behold your praises
And let yours hear His voice

I hope you find it inspired.  Walk with Christ everyone!

Couples Mentoring

  Well lately my wife and I have been feeling the Holy Spirit guide us into a new adventure and last night we decided we want to work on mentoring couples.  You see, Kat and I have been through a lot in our short time together and no matter what the enemy threw at us we just got closer together, and more importantly, it brought us into the body of Christ. Neither of us have the knowledge to call it "ministry" nor do we have the education to be called "councilors."  What we do have, however, is a lot of life knowledge that we are ready to share with anyone and everyone that needs help.  We haven't quite decided how to share what we know but I'm sure God will show us a way.  We're both going to try and get into a couples oriented small group next year, or even lead one if needs be.  I am going to try and dedicate time on here to advice for couples and scripture to help couples come together.  If you, or anyone you know, are having relationship problems, or just want to grow as a couple in Christ email me at and let me know.  We will be happy to answer and address questions.  If you are worried about privacy I will quote every question anonymously and use assumed names to protect anyone involved.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Love Jesus, Love People

  Normally small group is confidential but I think Jon will forgive me if I use a quote from him in this post.  During one of our discussions he mentioned that the Bible boils down to two things, love Jesus and love people.  I was surprised at how that simple little statement resonated with me.  If you don't have those, you have nothing and conversely you can get lost in Laws and details.  It was kind of a happy moment for me and I have tried to embrace that concept everyday.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Responding to Yesterday's Post

I would most certainly agree that the Old Testament (really the whole Bible) needs to be read with a historian's lens, however, I disagree with the idea that God's word is flexible. It's our interpretation that is limited and confined to our own understanding, NOT God's word. The principals and truth that weave through the entire Bible are timeless and not up for debate. I say this based upon a vast amount of research in trying to do things my way ;) It's painful. I suppose what I'm trying to say here is this: confined to the idea that Adam and Eve were the first two people on earth and that the earth is only a few thousand years old - yes, most certainly seems to be a story teaching us (to the best of the culture's time) of the "sin nature" (I like to think of it as innate selfishness) of man. Stories in the bible such as these may indeed have been the best way to reach the culture of the time. Obviously if the bible were to start talking about molecular structures and evolution* of man it would have completely bypassed the entire culture's understanding. *(come on people, look at the evidence out there slapping you in the face - I'm not saying we came from monkeys, but we certainly haven't always been built the way we are today)HOWEVER, the principals and guidelines for living a fulfilling and peaceful existence are NOT flexible or up for any debate. I don't say this because I think I'm right - I say this because I KNOW I have been wrong SO MANY TIMES (and continue to be)!

Kurt: There's a really good chance that this is precisely what you were saying, it just struck a chord when I read that and I wanted to see if indeed we were on the same page. And I totally agree about the laws in Leviticus - one of the most frustrating things is when some crazy Bible Nazi wants to quote laws from the old testament that they want to choose to uphold (and use to condemn others), but they omit these sorts of laws - Stoning your children at the gates of the city for disobeying or selling them into slavery (although life would be much more peaceful), or wearing mixed fabrics, the list goes on.... All in all, I'm very happy to watch your spiritual life unfold in front of me :) I can't express to you the amount of freedom you have found (which I seem to discover more and more of in my life). I'm excited to watch your journey and am grateful to be a part of it. Keep up the good work, and God Bless.
  The above is a response to the post I wrote yesterday and I felt that it brought up some points that I wanted to adress here.  I think that there is a certain semantic issue where we are not seeing eye to eye, though in truth, we probably are.  When I mentioned that the Bible is flexible. I meant it, and here is why.

  I think I want to start with Romans 13:1 (NET)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment,  and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.
  The Epistle of Romans is considered one of the most inspired books of the Bible, without a doubt. Martin Luther even went so far as to say, "most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul" in his treatise, The Adoration of the Sacrament.  If you don't let the Bible be flexible then think of the leaders you have to condone simply because they have power.  Without the flexibility of judgement we would have to interpret the Holocaust as righteous because Hitler was a man of power.  I just can't do that. 

  Now, where I think our opinions actually do match up, is that the Bible is written in the languages of man.  How many times have you tried to describe what you are feeling only to never find the right words?  My wife and I argued, the other day, that I don't talk to her about church anymore.  I told her that there was no way I can describe to her how I was feeling because I don't know words to quantify it.  The English language consists of over 200,000 words (according to Oxford) and I probably know around a quarter of them, which is actually a fairly large vocabulary.  Even with that I have no idea how to describe the feelings I have in church.  I think the Bible suffers because of this.  Not only was it written by historical peoples without the understanding needed to grasp some of its concepts, it was also written in languages that can't come close to giving full meaning to it's verses.

   This leads me to believe that the Bible isn't the "Word" of God... it is the "Voice" of God.  The difference is minute and semantic but, in my opinion it means everything.  The Bible lets God talk to you through it.  "Voice" denotes something more active and engaging where "Word" is something written and done, in other words present versus past tense.  If you look at the Bible as God's conversation with you then it will be like any other discussion, meaning it adapts and flows and changes as the subjects come and go.  You and I can read the same passages and even if our interpretations of them are outwardly the same they will always differ minutely within our souls.  If the Bible was absolute then there would be no interpretation of it.  I think Christians have faltered because they have issues adapting, the read the Word but they don't listen to the Voice and mankind has suffered for it.  As you said, there are absolutes such as being loving and kind and accepting and revering the power of Jesus and the Holy Spirit but those are generalities that open the gate for us to learn the specifics.  Yes, there are absolutes in the Bible but for thousands of years people have been trying to decide which parts are absolute and which are metaphor.  I feel like I am starting to ramble, probably because I don't quite have the skills with the English language to express exactly what I am thinking but I hope this all makes sense.  Thank you for your response, it really made me stop and think about some things.  God Bless!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Old Testament

   I finally finished my reading of the Old Testament this week and I'm pretty close to finishing the New Testament as well.   I am not entirely certain how to feel about it, to be honest.  First and foremost I think it needs to be said that to read it you have to put a certain amount of context into it since it was written a long time ago.  Times were different, words were different, meanings were different.  Entire social conventions would never survive today but were the norm at that time.  I did find it insightful and it put a certain context on my new testament readings.  However, there were a few texts that really struck me.

   Oddly enough I really enjoyed the book of Job which is a story I really thought I wouldn't be into as well as Ecclesiastes.  I think that it needs to be said that the former is more of a play or poem than fact, but the meaning behind it is powerful and poignant.  At least at this point, I am a believer in the metaphorical power of the Bible more than trying to adapt a literal translation of it.  Stories like Adam and Eve to me are less about creation and more about the inherent wickedness of man.  I think that a lot of harm has been done to Faith simply because people are too stubborn to adapt.  God's word is flexible and vast and certainly doesn't have to be taken verbatim for it to be a positive power in your life.  If that makes your skin crawl just look at Levitical Law.  Women don't sacrifice doves after they menstruate any more and I don't think a few silver and a marriage is going to take care of your daughter getting raped on a country road.  Times have surely changed and who are we to pick and choose what Laws we will follow just because some make us more comfortable than others.  Let's let Christ be our guide and even though he spoke of the Law and professed it he also emphasized that we must be tolerant and caring.  He told us not to be judgemental and to support the less fortunate.  I'm kind of getting worked up to some more serious subjects that have always irritated me about Christians.  Even know, from the other side, they still do -- Perhaps even more than before.

  As always be Blessed and be tolerant and love thy neighbor.  As it is said in Romans that this command trumps all others, and even more than that, it is the root of all other commandments, let us let out judgements fall away from us and look upon our fellows regardless of creed, race, preference, tattoos, piercings or whatever else they may have that strikes you odd and embrace them as the neighbors they are.  Please share this on Facebook if you agree and give me a +1 on Google.  If you don't please post a response so we can discuss openly our thoughts and views!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Unconditional Love

"Unbiased love is undoubtedly difficult to generate, but if you practice with determination, day by day your attitude will be transformed."

   Great quote, isn't it?  You must wonder what brilliant theologian said it since I am posting it here.  It might surprise you that this is from the Dalai Lama.  I have always been a fan of his and have read a number of his books over the years.  I respect a man who can always find a smile even though his past would destroy the average person.  I wanted to post this because I see Christians losing sight of wisdom all too often.  Yes, we take inspiration from Christ, and we should.  However, we are remiss to ignore wisdom wherever it is found.  His Holiness is correct, unbiased love will transform our lives.  The New Testament is full of language to support his quote so I urge you all to get out and seek benevolence everywhere and bring it into your Faith and then share it to the world.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book of Romans, Chapter 13

   I don't know if this will be of value to anyone but I have lately been intrigued by the book of Romans.  Since my description of this blog comes from Romans 13:8-10 I figured that was the ideal place to start.  Something Pastor Joe said made sense to me today.  To paraphrase, he said "the young need to understand they don't know what they are talking about and the old need to be teachers."  Personally I want to give my own version of that, "It is the duty of the youth to accept learning and the duty of their elders to teach it to them."  I will admit that I clearly fall into the "youth" category.  I'm 33, hardly aged by any means but it goes beyond that.  I am a "youth" when it comes to God.  I write on here because I do hope to pass on some inspiration and help others find joy in the Holy Spirit.  I want to make it clear, though, that I speak with no authority.  I can only relate my observations and experiences.  The notes I am going to include below are from my personal journal where I paraphrase the fourteen verses of the thirteenth chapter of Romans.  In no way do I expect people to take what I say as some kind of teaching, this is my process of learning.  If you have any agreements, criticisms or just general comments I would love to hear them.  I think learning from the Bible is something we should all share together.  It teaches great things but it has been corrupted by individuals for their own purposes before.  If we learn as a group then I think will gain a much truer understanding of our Faith and our Christ.

  • 13:1 - All authority is given by God.
  • 13:2 - You will be judged if you fight authority.
  • 13:3 - Rules punish the wicked and this verse asks you to respect them.
  • 13:4 - You should fear retribution if you do wrong.
  • 13:5 - If you do not act as a subject you may incur punishment as well as guilt.
  • 13:6 - Justification to pay taxes.
  • 13:7 - Do not allow yourself to become bogged down by debt.
  • 13:8 - If you have to debts and love and care for one another then you have fulfilled the Law.
  • 13:9 - Quotes from the Commandments.
  • 13:10 - Summarizes all commandments with "Love your neighbor as yourself."  It also gives a hint at the root meaning of the Law.
  • 13:11 - Honestly, I think this verse simply is speaking about time moving forward without stop.
  • 13:12 - Probably asking us to be ready for the final battle between Heaven and Hell.
  • 13:13 - Asking us to live cleanly at all times.
  • 13:14 - By accepting Christ as our Savior we can help to not give the Enemy a foothold in our lives.
  If this seems like a cool idea I would love to post other chapters in paraphrase like this.  Unless I get a lot of negative comments you will probably see another, similar post before too long.  Be Blessed everyone, and remember to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Diary of a Broken Car

   Everyone who knows me knows that me and cars are not getting along well, so let me tell you a little story about yesterday.  I was planning to go to the Men's Breakfast at church but I couldn't sleep the night before, which is fairly normal for me.  I ended up getting moving about 9:30 or so and Kat and I decided that we needed to get out of the house.  It was time to break out my poor neglected Nikon and head up the Yakima Canyon to see if I could get a couple of shots.  I haven't been shooting many pics since I tried to make photography a career and almost ruined one of my favorite hobbies, but that is a story for another day.

   After tossing everything into the car we hopped on the road.  Unfortunately the flood water wasn't high enough in the canyon for any interesting shots and I didn't see any wildlife that I could get shots of so by the time we were in Ellensburg my camera had yet to leave the case.  Not wanting to give up easily I pulled off and grabbed a map on Kat's phone and we decided we were going to take a jaunt up Manastash Road and see what we could find.  Quickly we left everything but the occasional farm and were soon in a steep canyon enjoying the trip.  The car started to slow on me and I looked down and the tachometer was falling, nothing I could do was getting any power out of the car.  Just like that it died and I couldn't get it to run again.  Here we were, in the boonies with a broken car and a two-year old who wasn't enjoying sitting in the vehicle while her father was desperately trying to figure out what was wrong.

   When the car died we were lucky that a nice couple of ladies stopped and helped me get the thing off the road.  However, that was about all the help I could manage to drag out of the occasional passerby.  At the one hour mark we made the decision to head out on foot as we were no where close to a cell phone tower.  There are a number of farmsteads up there but we couldn't raise anyone for what seemed like forever.  By the time we were pretty much exhausted we were deciding if it was worth traipsing through a small community that looked empty when we saw someone in a van drive up to get her mail.  It took a small amount of debating but by that time we were desperate, we walked down to her house.

   She was a little reluctant to let us in but when she saw Kat struggling to keep up she relented.  The poor girl is 32 weeks pregnant and she marched along suffering pains that I can only imagine.  I called Gene and he arranged for Nate to come up and get us.  For the hour or so it took for them to get there we sat and talked about family and the Kittitas Valley.  It turned into a very nice visit and a good experience.  She bid us well and told us to come back by when the situation wasn't so dire and that is an offer we just might take her up on.  We didn't get the car towed back until after midnight but now it is just a matter of finding out what is wrong.

   On the way back I had some time to reflect on God.  I don't think that it was His will to leave us where we were but the Enemy's instead.  In the Bible the word Satan means adversary and from what I have seen there are many more than just one "Satan."  My wife and I have felt for sometime now that there has been a negative influence in our life.  Through God we are managing to cut it's hold from us but there are still times that it manifests itself in very horrible ways.  It could also be God telling me to get my health together, lose weight and get in shape.  Trust me, that is definitely something my aching body took from yesterdays forced death march.

   I posted on Facebook a couple days ago about the power of positive thinking.  Never yesterday did I despair.  I was walking with God and trusting him to protect me and my family.  His strength helped carry us forward and in the process we met a very wonderful family.  It was a very pretty trip and the weather was nice.  It taught us both that we were not taking as good of care of our bodies as we should.  There is always a reason for things and there is always a silver lining.  Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger."  Yesterday was a prime example of that.  No matter what you go through you can either despair or look to the lessons it teaches you and try to put them to work in your daily life.  I wish I could post a couple pictures of the trip but after all of that I never managed to get the camera out of it's case!   Oh well, at least it is yet another interesting Luther story.  Our life is many things but boring isn't one of them!

Worship on April 15th, 2012

   Today at Valley Fellowship was a day of worship and togetherness.  Pastor Joe's message was more of an introduction to the next years worth of sermons than anything else.  The music was good and I am continuing to connect with God better and better.  I am definitely inspired to write and touch others with the same Holy Spirit that has touched me.  I really don't have a lot of notes to share but I did want to say one thing.  When I came to church I saw people around me with their hands up to the sky and it made me feel uncomfortable.  Even so, I had an urge to do the same.  The last couple of sermons I have let myself go and raised my hand to the sky and let the power of God flow through me.  There is nothing like it and today I even had to wipe away tears as God lifted my soul out of the darkness.  I think my comfort in doing so, in doing what feels right with God and not worrying about how I look to others, is a great sign of my progression from the darkness to the light.  When the sermon podcast is up I'll try and link it for everyone.  I greatly look forward to the next year!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Death is Still a Death

   So far most of my posts have been from my heart but they weren't of a nature that would ruffle feathers.  I did post earlier that I am going to post things that I am well aware will get me flack.  I've decided to start with abortion.  Once upon a time I strove to be complete neutral in the debate as I felt that it was an issue for women.  However, then I had my first child and quickly came to understand that I could never condone the killing of my own child.  Publicly I still tried to stay out of it but I would voice my opinion if pressed.  As I have grown as a person I have dug my heels in more and more.  Here it is for the record, killing babies is a barbaric crime.  I have a number of liberal friends and I have no interest in destroying their friendships, but whether or not that offends you, there it is.  All four (soon to be) of my girls had strong personalities in the womb that would later be a preview of the amazing people they would become.  It was quickly obvious that a baby becomes a person long before it can even survive outside the womb.  By this fact alone why should we allow abortions to happen?  I suppose there are circumstances that warrant it, but I think those are few and far between.

  WebMD has this to say about the reasons behind abortions:

The most common reasons women consider abortion are: ("Abortion - reasons," 2011)
  1. Birth control
  2. (contraceptive) failure. Over half of all women who have an abortion used a contraceptive method during the month they became pregnant.2
  1. Inability to support or care for a child. 
  1. To end an unwanted pregnancy
  1. To prevent the birth of a child with birth defects or severe medical problems. Such defects are often unknown until routine second-trimester tests are done. 
  1. Pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. 
  1. Physical or mental conditions that endanger the woman's health if the pregnancy is continued.
Lets take these in order, shall we?  First, birth control failure.  I'm not sure if people are failing sex education in this country but the main reason we have sex is to procreate!  Yes, I will admit that I greatly enjoy the act.  I'm human, I'm male and in general I am programmed to crave and hunger for sex.  That being said I have always understood that any woman I have slept with could become pregnant.  It kind of goes with the territory.

Second; you can't afford to support the child.  That is an excuse.  I have seen large, poor families that do just fine.  Kids are expensive so you might have to give up the cell phone and 3.7 million cable channels to pay for it but you can do it.  Killing a baby because you don't want to make the the sacrifices for it makes you nothing more than filth in my book, but it isn't my place to condemn.

Third; Ending an unwanted pregnancy.  The moment you have sex you damned well better be ready to have a kid.  That is what it is for!  If for no other reason abortion should be illegal because it is time for our younger generations to step up and accept responsibility.  Having a child around inconveniencing your life is absolutely no reason to kill a human being.  Period.

Forth; To prevent birth defects or severe medical issues.  This is one that I can put a little support in.  I don't see a lot of reason to bring a life into this world only to make it suffer.  My complaint, however, is that these tests are far from perfect.  Medical science could be killing a perfectly healthy child.

Fifth; Rape and incest.  Let me share a little story for you.  My great grandmother conceived a child at fourteen from a man named Warren Early who later married my other great grandmother after her husband died.  She was most likely raped and to make matters worse her rapist was eventually part of her permanent family.  I'm guessing most of you will read this because of at least a passing connection with me.  If she aborted that child then I wouldn't be here.  My beautiful girls wouldn't be here.  The entire legacy of my grand mother would never have existed.  I personally don't like the thought of that.

Sixth; The baby could kill the mother.  I absolutely agree with this one, especially if neither party would survive.  I seriously doubt that God wants us to abandon modern medicine and let ourselves die needlessly.  If the mother can't survive the pregnancy then I think there is little choice but to terminate the pregnancy.  There are just times that one life has to be sacrificed so that life can go on.  It sucks, but it is what it is.

   In closing I think my stance is pretty clear.  I don't think God has any tolerance for people who kill children, born or not.  Of course, I do not presume to speak for Him nor will I judge any of you who has had an abortion.  Jesus said "Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone" and that certainly isn't me.  I'll leave your choice to be judged by God Himself, but don't look to me for support in the mean time.


Abortion - reasons women choose abortion. (2011, February 02). Retrieved from

Greedy Little Hobbit-ses.

   So tonight is small group for Kat and I.  Usually we reflect on the last sermon but since last week was Resurrection Day service I am not sure if we will be going over that or looking forward to this weeks sermon which I assume to be on the chapter about greed from Enemies of the Heart.  Greed was an interesting chapter for me, one which I thought would really hit home.  However, as Andy Stanley describes it, I don't have as much trouble with it as I thought.  What I always equated to greed he describes as jealousy and that is an issue that plagues me.  Since next Sunday's sermon will likely address that I will wait and write about it next week. 
   Of course, I am hardly immune to greed.  I find myself scoffing at giving and tithing rankles me a bit.  However, I am overcoming that.  I came from a fairly poor family where there were times that even eating was a serious issue.  As a result I have found myself wanting to cling on to the things I have more than I should, I suppose.  At this time in my life it is doubly hard because I don't make stunning amounts of money and I am trying to support a family while putting my wife through college.  There are times that I would love to give more but I can't find the cash to do so.  I know I am hardly alone there either.

   Since I have financial trouble I decided to donate my time instead of my money and I think that is a good substitute for all those of you who are in the same boat as my family.  Since I am new to the whole Christianity world I am still seeking my place where I can help out best but I think that this blog is my first step into that world.  It really isn't much but it is just a start.  I know I want to try my hand at some missionary work in the future but it is likely going to have to wait until Kat graduates.  For now I am going to dedicate myself to study and writing, trying to share some of the inspiration that I am getting from the Bible and hopefully I can light the way for others to follow.  If nothing else, perhaps I can ease the struggles of someone else life, even if it is slightly.

   Thank you for reading everyone, if you like what I'm trying to do please mention my blog or post it on Facebook.  Also clicking "+1+ helps me to get a pressence on Google, which is always nice.  God Bless everyone!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Things to Come

  Everyone who knows me well knows I love to be creative.  One of my outlets has become writing which I never seem to have enough time to do properly.  It is something I would love to do as a living but so far God hasn't held that for me.  Perhaps it is coming, perhaps it isn't.  One thing I do know is that the Holy Spirit is pushing me to write.  I have tons of ideas for posts careening through my head.  Some of which probably won't make me popular.  Some might not even seem entirely Christian but I feel the push to write them anyway. 

   I constantly see people doing things because they are supposed to and not because they feel it is correct.  Christianity has two millenia of dogma and I see people who struggle to make their faith their own.  One thing I have always thought, and nothing recently has changed that, is that we all have our own faith.  We can belong to a denomination, be an activist, do good works, whatever, but deep down inside none of us completely believe like one another.  Wars have been fought over this, and likely will be fought again.  All because we don't accect Jesus's call for acceptance of one another.  In the end no one will answer to a mortal man.  We will only answer to God.

   I have opened my heart to the Word of God, and it has spoken to me and at this time He wants me to help others understand that "Love thy neighbor" is far more important that alienating someone because of their sins.  I think some of this will make more sense later as I get into some controversial subjects that bother me but I wanted to have a post I can refer to for so that my intentions are clear.  Some of my posts may cause anger against me, after all Christ was crucified for what his Gospel, but I feel that they need to be said.  I closed myself off from God for so long... Now that he is with me I will try and do as He asks.   

Be Blessed everyone!  Thank you for reading.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Multiplying the Flame

Matt 5:15-16 (NIV) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

   My last post was a little emotional and dreary so I thoght I would quote my favorite verses out of the book of Matthew.  To me this is what it means to be Christian.  There is nothing that speaks louder than actions and no better way to spread the Word of God than by being a living testemony to it.  Today I came to work and was exhausted.  When I have to take the kids home to Oregon I tend to load up on energy drinks to keep alert and fresh on the drive.  The downside of that, however, is sleep usually escapes me until late into the night.  I did better than average last night and managed about four broken hours of sleep.  When I got here the first thing I had to do is answer phone calls looking for things.  I felt attacked and was getting defensive.  However, I removed myself from the situation and sat down in the break room to check in freight.  As I did I decided that I wasn't going to leave that room in that mood, and I didn't.  I even called a coworker on being grumpy today with a smile on my face.  Oddly enough she responded to it and seemed to cheer up as well.  I think that is what those two verses mean.  There isn't always light and darkness.  However, I have never known the dark to not retreat from the light.  No matter how big the expanse is, even one candle in it will make it brighter.  If I can help others to light their candles with my own flame then I feel that I have done well to be a living testemony to Christ.  Anyone who reads this I challenge you to do the same.  Be that candle in the dark and guide others to your flame that they may light their own way and praise the Father in heaven.

Reflections of a Broken Past

  There are a couple of posts that I have been considering writing.  However, yesterday would have been my Dad's 75th birthday, had he taken care of himself better, and I think this one is the most pressing.  There are certain days that I will remember on my death bed and that is one of them.  At about 3am my phone rang, I figured it was just one of my drunk friends so I ignored it and let them leave a message.  That morning my wife (she was a girlfriend at that time) was up before me.  After listening to the message she woke me up and told me that I needed to call my brother.  I got out of bed and before I could listen to it the phone rang and it was my brother again.  He said, in a voice shaking so bad that I could hardly understand him, "I don't know how to tell you this buddy.  Dad's dead." 
   Yesterday I reflected that in church and even wiped away a few tears.  My father was an unrequited atheist and I often wonder what he would think of me now.  A part of me also realizes that I wouldn't be where I am now if he were still here.  It took Dad's death for me to grow up, I think.  I no longer lived my life to try and fit in with him, I lived it the way I felt it should be lived.  You see, my father was a bit of an icon around here, he even had an article in the paper talking out his contributions of his favorite hobbies, hunting and fly-fishing after he passed.  The trouble was, that didn't carry over to home all that well.  He never really respected me or my mother, he lied frequently, and was a general nasty person much of the time.
   Last night Easter service came back to me and I understood what it meant to die and be reborn in Christ.  I had another life, one that will, at times, haunt me forever.  That person died, however, on the 20th of December, 2011 (another of those days I will remember forever).  Out of that resurrection I found who I want to be.  Am I that person always?  No.  I am a broken man in a broken vessel.  I will never gain perfection but I am much closer to being a righteous man that I was at this time last year.  Unlike my Dad I was always a believer in God.  I just hated Him, and in doing so I hated myself.  In some ways I think that was worse that not believing at all.  Instead of just being hollow I was purposefully filling myself with wickedness.  I was so scared of what God was constantly telling me to believe that I rebelled against it.  I hated it.  I was angry about it.  No matter how much God spoke to me, and it was a lot, I had hardened myself to the point where I could no longer hear.  Luckily I finally died and was reborn.  If my Dad were here to see me now...

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Light of Day

  My Pastor, Joe, has been doing a series of sermons based upon the book, Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley.  I wanted to share a story with all of you that touches a couple of the themes.  You see, almost five years ago I was struggling to be a single, part-time dad.  Everything I had known was torn away from me and I was left floundering and alone.  Then God lead Kat to me, or me to her or some combination of the two.  Life was great, and our relationship was quickly moving to where it is now.  But as the night is always darkest before the dawn, a snag reared it's head.  My birthday party was rapidly approaching and, of course, my future wife was going to be there.  Unfortunately so was another woman whom I will not name to protect her privacy.  You see I have feelings for someone else.  We aren't talking puppy love either, this was an on and off romance that had been simmering for the better part of a decade at that time.  Anyone who sees us together knows that something is amiss (if you were at Alex's second birthday I bet you know exactly who I'm talking about, don't you?). At that point I had to make a decision.  Tell Kat or hide it.
  Let me tell you, that was not the easiest conversation I have ever had.  I made the choice to come clean and let my secret see the light of day.  Honestly, it saved not only my relationship but the friendship that Kat and this other woman had as well.  If I hadn't confessed everything to my wife it would have eaten me inside.  There is no way I could have made the correct choices.  I would have destroyed something wonderful for something that isn't going to work.  This leads me back to "following my heart."  Lord, thank you for not letting me make that mistake.  My "heart" would have cost me the glorious family I have now.  It might have also cost that other woman her's as we are both spoken for, then and now.  Nothing here will come as a surprise to anyone involved in the situation but I wanted to write it to see if it could help someone else struggling with hidden pains.  As hard as it may be it is definitely healthier to be open and honest than it is to hide everything inside.  No matter how well you hide things they have a way of leaking out and tainting everything else around you.