Monthly Archives: July 2013

Caution. Don’t Read This Book.

I deleted this post by accident.  So, here it is again.  Do Not Read, Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna, unless you want your western world view of “church” challenged to the core.  I personally loved the book because I have always had a drive to understand what the 1st Century church was like.  This book states that what we have today is a compilation of paganism and Roman Catholicism.  You will be amazed at his research.  Again, I LOVED IT. 

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A Different Kind of Counselor

A pump shotgun has a distinctive sound when it loads a shell into the chamber. There is one chatter or rattling sound that clears the chamber, followed by another similar sound that pushes the next shell ready to fire. When you are a hunter, that sound is invigorating. Not so much if you feel like that gun could be pointed at you.

James and I escaped early from our jobs and left for a frequently visited bass-filled pond in the neighboring Arkansas hills. We let our wives know where we were going and climbed into his gas guzzling Ford Bronco, happy to leave our responsibilities behind. On our way we decided to drive up a dirt road we had passed several times before, just to see what was there. James thought it would bring us right back onto the main road we were traveling, but we wanted to see for ourselves. After about 20 minutes of travel and no sign of it turning toward the other road, we decided we might need some help with directions. This was a very desolate road with very few homes on it. Finding one was going to be a challenge.

We drove by this shack of a house and decided this was the one from which we needed help. We drove into the very rocky and uneven dirt driveway and parked the Bronco about 30 yards from the house. We turned off the truck, stepped out and started walking toward the house.

Now, it would be helpful for you to realize that if you know how large of guy I am, James was about 70 lbs heavier and 3 inches taller. I am sure that for some people, we might present ourselves as imposing figures. 

Walking toward the house is when we heard that distinctive, pump action of the shot gun. It was in front of us and coming from the open door. We froze. We began to second guess our decision to walk up to a house, in the middle of backwoods Arkansas.

Do you ever wish that God would implant in you this kind of distinctive, attention getting, rattling sound that would go off each time you were about to make a very unwise move. It would be nice if the 16 year old, who was about to go against the parents request and go out with his questionable friends, could hear that sound. Or if just before you threw all your hard earned money down on that risky investment you could hear it. Or when you felt you had taken enough from your boss and it was time you gave him a piece of your mind, somewhere close by you could hear the rattle of the pump action shotgun would go off. Or just before you agree to marry that person, you might hear that distinctive shot gun sound.

It is the season when we are reminded of a wonderful verse, Isaiah 9:6, “A child has been born to us; God has given a son to us. He will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” We have been given the greatest Counselor and if we listen closely to His Word and His leading, we would make much wiser decisions. James 1:5 tells us that if we pray for wisdom, God will give it to us. There might not be the distinctive sound of a shot gun ready to fire on me if I choose the wrong action, but it can have a very powerful influence… if I listen.

James and I cautiously walked back to our truck and the man yelled directions to us. We never really saw his face, but we remember the sound. It wasn’t the wisest move we could have made. I’ll never forget that sound. When I

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really listen and am about to take a step in the wrong direction, I think I can still hear it. Sometimes God has to do that just to get my attention.

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Helping Our Children Feel

I sat listening to two men talk about raising white tail deer. One of these men was very passionate about this endeavor and you could tell it by what he said and especially how he was saying it. I listened to another person talk about how excited she gets at Christmas. She spoke with glee about decorating her house, hosting parties, and giving special gifts. Again, her whole mood just became so positive and her complete body was telling the story.

I so envy people who are able to get that excited and passionate about things. I was raised in a culture where my feelings were to be suppressed. Extreme displays of any kind of emotion were discouraged. At least it seemed like that. Loosing oneself in the moment could lead to some kind of catastrophic consequence that would be so horrific it might take a life time to recover. Thus, I might be leaping for joy, deeply saddened, or seething with anger, but you will hardly know it.

This was all set up while I was young and still developing an understanding of who I was and what was “acceptable” behavior. I remember a coach criticizing our football team because we got too excited during our pregame warm up. I was scolded for expressing any kind of disagreement with my parents. It was labeled as “arguing” which meant I was to have no voice on many matters that directly affected me. I remember being made fun of by those close to me because I expressed my compassion for someone with tears.

It is amazing how the messages we perceive from the past directly affects who we become.  Sometimes I think most of our journey as adults is correcting all the harmful messages we received about ourselves as children.

Now, I am older and this training of how to express emotions is like a heavy coat I wear daily. I have been at ballgames and wished that I could yell at the top of my lungs. I have been in worship when my heart was leaping with joy and my arms felt like they were tied to my sides. I have even been so angry with someone that I took it out on myself by pushing the emotion down and stuffing it.

So, why am I bringing this up? Please encourage your children to experience all of their emotions to the fullest. Yes, they do need to be aware of when and how to express them appropriately, but I hope they are encouraged to feel.  It is only through expressing our thoughts and emotions are we able to learn how to manage them effectively.  Let them feel deeply and be allowed to experiment in their expression of those feelings. I think this is one of the most important gifts a parent can give as they teach their children how to live life to its fullest. A lesson I am still learning

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Owning It or It Owning You?

“The more you own stuff, the more the stuff owns you.”  This truism hit me hard last week.

My wife and I had always wanted to get a travel trailer.  When the boys were younger, we enjoyed the camping so much with other families.  It was inexpensive and we could go in a moment’s notice.  It wasn’t until a leaky tent on a cold Colorado night that it became more difficult convincing our boys camping was going to be fun.  So we quit when our oldest was around Jr. High age.  Really, we were willing to give up sleeping on the ground also.

Janice and I do enjoy the outdoors so we dreamed of getting a trailer and exploring other parts of the country.  So, with the boys all gone from the roost, we went shopping.  We found just the right trailer that was big enough for the two us and small enough to be pulled by my truck.  At least, that is what I thought.  The truck did pull the trailer, at 10 MPG and going uphill was challenging.  I remember asking the trailer salesman what were the hidden costs of owning a trailer.  I never suspected it was going to be buying a new truck.

But, that is where I am.  Shopping for a truck that will take me where I want to go… safely and economically. What I am looking at is bigger than I ever thought of getting and more expensive to own.  But it will pull the trailer easily.  I am having trouble swallowing this purchase because I really have tried to live a very simple life.  My houses and cars have never been elaborate.  I like to redeem coupons at the restaurant when possible.  I will also drive across town to save 5 cents on a gallon of gas.  I hate when life gets complicated and expensive.

So, our first major trip will be to Ohio where I will be working with an Amish community helping them develop a type of counseling center.  If, in a couple of weeks, you drive by our house and see a “For Sale” sign in the front yard, you will know we have decided to trade everything in for a straw hat, bonnet, and a horse ‘n buggy.  Although, I hear horses are expensive too.  When will it end??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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