Friday, December 30, 2011

Dallas

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”” John 16:33 NLT

I really don't know what to think of this one. Maybe I'm still waking up, but just not sure what to think. We had another night of good sleep, all though Shayne didn't wake up, I still struggled a bit. Sip some coffee, I read and think. Peace, trials, and overcoming the world. Sounds like a business plan. I'm honestly reminded of the tv show Dallas. When the series aired back in the late 80's I was too young to watch. Last year they had a marathon on new years eve and my wife and I just got addicted. I got the first two seasons on dvd for christmas. Dallas is based on the life of the family the Ewings who by generations have owned land with oil wells, along with a ranch, and other things and people. They live on a ranch and their family isn't big but fully grown all lives together. Two brothers, one who's corrupt, the other who is stable run the Ewing business. Each episode is usually about how corrupt the older brother can get to have his power and money. Honestly, as a movie guy, I'm amazed in the brilliant writing and acting in a tv series. I'm so used to the junk in the 21st century. The series went on for 14 seasons, that's alot. They dealt with some serious controversial topics for it being in the late 70's-80's. I read and think, how many times have I done something knowing I wouldn't have peace about it? Jesus had to explain why He was teaching them. They didn't know about peace either, He had to tell them, that it was found in Him and they still didn't get it. I still don't get it, even when its right in front of me. He's overcome the world, I still don't get it. The Ewings were all about protecting their power and money and social class, yet you saw how miserable they were. It was true, back in that time era, social responsibilities were there, they still are in different ways. I do shows at work for that very reason, social gatherings. It's this first impression of money, power, opportunity, and success that supposedly brings peace. Hits me, I'm human and am going to have many trials and sorrows. Is it because I'm looking to provide my own peace inside, ya sometimes. I find myself having to believe something I'm not used to believing until later. That my trials and sorrows have already been overcome and taken care of. That there is a plan, I'm it. He'll reveal to me and give me peace as I obey Him, not as I see fit. Sure Dallas is just a bunch of stories, but its true for me. I don't have power and money, but I do search in the wrong places to find my peace at times. But it's my heart that longs for the peace, that's only found Him who just so happened to overcome the world.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

National Treasure

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3 NLT

I always remember reading the nkjv, but the nlt is interesting too. Troubled and trust is what I see this one. Well i moved Shaynes bed into our room so she could sleep in it with better air flow and so far so good, she slept the whole night, and so did we! Now to have that continue. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I can't but think about sets from work, or a video in production or a play that is in rehearsal. The movie National Treasure comes to mind. In the makings of it, the director didn't just want you to see a treasure, he wanted it to go on and on and just wow the audience. I think of work I have done in video, how when its time to show the masterpiece hoping that it will be received well. I read and think, for some reason, Jesus mentioned their troubled hearts and spoke of his eternal home. He knew what they were missing and what they were longing for, but they didn't and didn't quite understand. I'm reminded of moments when someone has revealed to me a solution accidentally to something I've been battling. A few weeks ago, I was at church working on a list of things in the video booth, part of which was adjusting the cameras. After fixing things, I didn't have really what I needed to completely test what I had supposedly fixed. I let the guy in charge know. That weekend, we were out of town for a christmas gathering and I received a phone call about how the camera's looked. What did you do? Everyone thought we bought new cameras? I just did some adjusting and that was it. It was such a difference, they said. How many times have I let my heart be troubled, have given into anger, anxiety, fury, etc. not run to trust God or anyone else that has a solution. God has provided me a resting place in Him, but for some reason I just don't believe it, because I can't comprehend through my eyes of sin. In National Treasure Benjamin Gates wouldn't give up on this search for the treasure, he knew it was out there.  The crowds had never heard the message that christ was giving, but they understood hope and wouldn't leave him alone, he was touching the hearts that he knew were troubled and were longing for an answer. Benjamin Gates would not leave this treasure hunt alone, all his life he gathered the clues which would eventually lead him to the treasure. Hits me, sure any earthly treasure is nothing compared to what Heaven will be like, but what is Christ doing in me? As my passion grows for anything that i set my mind to, and the vision God gives me as I strive to grow in Him, trusting in Him will get easier and the hope of what is in store ahead, in this life or the next, will be there even if I'm troubled about it. The place he wants in my heart will be a treasure that only Him and I will understand because he understands who I am.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Long Distance Relationship

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT

I remember this one, but i never read it until today. I'm kind of disappointed that people are moving on from Christmas. Ya the day and the presents are over but the shepherds and wise men were pumped just knowing the messiah had been born. Its like winning the lottery, you win one day and then forget about it? I slept ok, still waiting for coffee to be done this morning. Coffee is done finally, I'm tired. Sip some coffee, I read and think. Huh? but its more of a, Wow! Jesus seems to have struck a core here, how did he know that when I'm weary and carry heavy burdens, I can't sleep? I sometimes can, but usually if somethings bothering me, really bothering bothering me (usually a conflict with a someone) I can't sleep. I usually can blow things off farely quickly and don't even care but sometimes when its internal and really deep, I can't sleep, I can't think, I can't but talk about it, it almost stalls my whole day. I read and think, I'm reminded of a friendship I once had many years ago. I was convinced, no, (obsessed) with for many years with a girl. My youth pastor at the time and I met weekly about things. This girl was long distance (as most of my relationships were). I was obsessing over this girl for probably 3 years and had no idea the stress and energy it was taking from me. I had believed she was it. But too many obvious indications were evidence she wasn't, and i refused to believe them. My youth pastor eventually told me during one of our meetings that he really believed this would never happen and that i needed to give her up. I really believed him all the sudden, and began to cry, but then I all the sudden became real tired. I had no idea how weary I was and much of a heavy burden this friendship was. She didn't like me, and I refused to face that. Hits me, how many times have I been weary and not even know it? felt trapped and didn't call for help, have a heavy burden and the weight i've become immune to without even knowing it? After that meeting with my youth pastor, I really had given her up, and face the fact this was not going to happen, even though I felt it would......it wouldn't and wasn't. Jesus is jealous and wants all of me, He wants to be the main focus, it may take years to let go, but He just wanted me to come to him, He came to this earth as a baby, grew up, and lived in this place (so I can't say He can't relate with me). I had to continue to give her up until it was done, it wasn't over night, but something I had to trust Him with. It wasn't easy. Looking back, I can't believe how immature I was about it. Sure, I was godly and knew the word, some how that made me think, I knew everything about relationships. Yet the one relationship I was letting drift away and let become long distance was calling me to Him the whole time.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Leg Lamp

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”Isaiah 9:6 NLT



Oh yes the verse that ended the story. Or did it begin it? It's Christmas morning, my leg lamp is on, the tree is lit, mommy has all the presents around the tree, and a christmas story is playing on TBS.  Just how I like Christmas morning to be. I love it that I'm not out of coffee this morning. Sip some coffee, as we were watching the leg lamp scene in Christmas story this morning with the tv muted, I was all the sudden struck on what the leg lamp meant to the dad, and then what Christ means to me. HUH? Here "my old man" as Ralphie called him, battled the furnace, his job and everyday stuff. His wife took good care of the boys. The couple was different, but they were a good team. But there was something internal that the old man did, his cross word puzzles, something that was small, yet fun for him and challenging. Just like Christ, came to this earth really unexpected as a baby to save us from what we didn't understand we had. Even when his major award came in the mail and he looking at it from the outside, he didn't explain how he won, He just knew he won! It was something internal that he looked forward to, something that no one could care less about, but him. Yet the leg shine for the neighborhood to see, it was dirt ugly (which is why I bought one and have it also on for everyone to see). Christ came for the spot inside my heart that I didn't know need fixing, He came in a way no one expected, as a baby. He stood out for the main people to hate, and they broke him apart. Sure he looked weird maybe but the message He came with for me to understand was to affect that part of me that no one understands at times, but Him. When the leg lamp shattered (due to a controversial incident that the married couple still debates about to this day) sure it was funny, but it wasn't about the lamp, to me it was about his dignity, that one spot in his heart that was rarely touched, that one spot in my heart that very few people know about that I've had since my childhood. That's why Christ came, I believe, to fill the spot I didn't know I have in such a unique way, in the form of a baby, and sometimes in the form of a leg.

Below is my leg lamp and my cat


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Not knowing what I paid for

“They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.” Luke 2:16-20 NLT

I'm thinking that the story is almost over. I've heard and read this thousands of times. It's like watching a movie thousands of times or listening to a song thousands of times. I didn't sleep too well last night. But nothing that coffee can't fix. Sip some coffee, I read and think, I'm reminded of when I first working at Ultimate Electronics. I was in training for two weeks. I came from working church av and standing behind a sound board for 14 years. Now I would be doing home theater. I thought how can it be any different? LOL. In the beginning of training we all took a test on how much we already knew. I found I knew 50%, so I wasn't bad. But I was amazed to find how different the two avenues of audio and video were, yet the same. In training, I learned not just about home theater but how to talk to people (I was already pretty good at that). But I learned more than anything to listen and remember what the customers were saying. I quickly rose to the top of sales charts, but my margins were terrible, sure I was selling but I was not profiting very much. My goal was to sell them what they needed not what would make me a profit. I told my family and friends everything I was learning about this stuff. They eventually came and I sold them their home theater systems. It was just like the shepherds with Mary and Joseph, I couldn't believe what I seen and heard. After the shepherds had seen Jesus, they then told everyone what they had experienced. Last night after wiring this used system up I had received from a kind neighbor. I put on Christmas vacation and already was experiencing a new sound from the movie. Susan asked me if I could hear people talking outside the door. I told her, it was the speakers. With surround sound, the dvd can now give us what we really paid for (a sales pitch I used to use). Hits me, sure i can read this verse like I have for decades and just say "oh cool, its when the shepherds visited Jesus" or I can read this one again asking Him for his vision and sound to enlighten me and help me be astonished. No surround sound or HD tv can ever replace the moment God opens my eyes and ears to see who He is and hear His voice to know Him. Just as everyday is a new day, God wants me to see Him in my own way, wired or not.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gun's don't kill people, I do - UHF

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” Luke 2:11-14 NLT

There's a lot of spice in this one. Like a show we do at work, we get everything going and the subs are thumping the lights are spinning, its the Wow everyone wants. Lets see what the system can do? I slept ok, Shayne was coughing most of the night so mommy and I spent most of it, helping her stop. I've gotten Susan into coffee, she was always wondering where I got my energy in the morning. It's the coffee, no way can I do that without coffee. Sip some coffee, I read and think.  I'm reminded of when I first became an Uncle. It was so crazy to know I was going to be called Uncle Nathan, that just sounded so weird to have a little voice say "Hi, Uncle Nathan". My nephew Jeremiah was the first one. I was visiting my sister Heather and her husband Dan in Ohio at the time when I got the news I would be an Uncle. This wasn't a friend, a friends son, this was going to be my nephew. I would be known as Uncle Nathan for the rest of my life. What do I do? How do I act? I also think about what the shepherds thought being caught off guard like that. I read and think, I always think that my state of mind needs to be ready for such news. Like I need to be healthy and be a good christian in order to get a job or feel blessed. Who knows what these shepherds were doing prior to the angels appearance, what were their thoughts? Hits me, it doesn't matter my state of mind at the moment, God knows when its His time to appear to me. He reveals himself to me in the most crazy ways, especially when I'm not expecting it. I'll never forget when I was working for Best Buy, and a lady walked in wanted to look at a dvd she had of her kids. She was shattered just broken, her kids had just been killed 2 weeks ago in a wreck. I have never seen a ladies heart so shattered. I found something to play the video for her and then told her that my fiance and I would be praying for her. Those moments were not expected. I wish I could have done more. I had a few other moments like that while in retail. I'm reminded of a scene in the movie UHF  when they're talking to a guy about gun control and he says "Gun control is for wimps and commies, let just get one thing straight, Guns don't kill people, I do!" Hits me again, it doesn't matter what state of mind I'm in. How crappy I feel, angry I am. God's going to do what He's going to do. My mind can dream and be bitter, resent, envy, sad, hurt, who knows. God doesn't track things and say "whoe, now I can't work because of what you've done". When it's time, it doesn't matter, because it's His time.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Griswold Family Christmas

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:8-11 NLT

At first I'm thinking, ok the angel and shepherds verse. This all part of the "christmas story". We got a quick date night in last night before the holiday and Shayne has her christmas party at daycare today, this is my last chance to clean the place before we're actually both off. So I'm taking a break to blog or just procrastinating. I'm eating chips and salsa since it's lunch time. I read and think, Have I ever been afraid of good news? Have I ever been afraid of being honest? Of being me? I'm reminded of Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation and how he only wanted a Griswold Family Christmas, he wanted a pool for his family, a great christmas tree, and his house to shine. He wasn't ashamed at all of who he was or how he felt about christmas, even though his in laws were jerks he kept his spirit up. The shepherds were no different, being out the with flocks and witnessing this spectacular event, how could they be ashamed and not share what they saw. Whats crazy is that, few people would believe them due to how gross and smelly they looked and appeared. But it was their line of work that God wanted me to see. Clark was a family man, and no matter what, he wasn't going to let that slide. I read and think, these shepherds were nobodies, they were the people that we would doubt and just smile and take pity on and not love on. And thats exactly why the angel appeared to them. Clark had a decent career but wasn't appreciated by his boss, he had his own words with board as they walked by him. His boss and kids didn't get him, his wife put up with him and still supported him. These shepherds didn't care, they went and found Jesus in the manger, not even aware of how God was going to use them. Hits me, the angels told them about the savior, (the people that society didn't care about and wish would vanish). It was a simple message, nothing complicated. I need to copy these similarities of Clark and the shepherds, both were odd but yet couldn't contain who they were and weren't supposed to. In the end everyone in Clarks life, cousin Eddie, his in laws, his boss, all stood next to him and shared what christmas was all about to him. Just like the shepherds, in the end it was as simple as seeing the Messiah in Bethlehem. I can't be ashamed of the way I am, I used to be. I thought it wasn't cool to listen to christmas music until the week of christmas, or don't decorate, because that's not cool. God made me a certain way, and I'm not supposed to be ashamed of that, especially when He wants me follow Him whichever way He chooses. Ya I'm weird and intense, talk too much, and alway have something to say on Facebook, and with all that, I'll enjoy my own Griswold Family Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cool people eat junk food

“And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:6-7 NLT

Wow that was quick. When my wife had our daughter it wasn't "ok it's time" seeming so pleasant, it was more Holy &(^&#^#!!!!. I'm a little sleep deprived this morning. Worked late last night and didn't have a lot of rest. It's a little later in the morning so I've already had my coffee. I read and think, I'm reminded of how innocent I was as a child, how as I grew older, I wanted to be like the older guys, the other families. I wanted to be cool. Other people always seemed to be doing things right, or other kids seemed to be pick up the class assignments much faster than I. I didn't like my life, I even wanted a different name than my own, I didn't like "Nathan" I wanted to be called "John". I didn't like who I was. I wanted to be good at sports, I wanted to be book smart. I wanted to fit in, I found myself getting energy from the crowd but not gaining anything from it except losing my voice due to talking too much. As I hit my late 20's I realized that my childhood character would always be who I was and wouldn't change, but how I used that, and drew from it, would make me who I am now. I read and think, I even thought eating junk food was cool and taking care of myself with healthy food was nerdy. I also thought that eventually the bible would just wear off and would be a "has been" due to changes in the world. Hits me, I can go on in my life trying to be the way I think I need to appear to be, and be frustrated and not like who I am, and wish I was like other people I know, and even strive to compete with them at times or I can look and see the answer in front of my face. Christ was born exactly how he was to be born, in todays' world, so bacterial infested and a germ environment. So unhealthy, but He wants to prove to me that God is in charge, because God is real, and real things happen when God's there. Just as the birth of His own son was real and honest and vulnerable, He wants me to know that I can be the same way with Him, and He'll reveal himself to me, allowing me to be vulnerable with Him. Christ's birth is embarrassing, if this happened to anybody but God, which it does, I'd be quick to condemn and judge the responsible parties involved. But He continues to tell me, I provide in ways you don't know about and my plans aren't your plans, you'll never figure me out. I just have to let Him be Him in me. I can eat all the junk food I want and feel terrible, believing that I'm being cool. When I choose to eat healthy food (because I'm getting sick pretty much from eating junk) and feel better and exercise, I might feel like a nerd but I'm actually taking care of myself. Why the battle between the two, I don't know? I'm not good at this life, sure I can appear to be on facebook, anyone can. There was no lodging available for them, they worked with what they had, and God honored it and provided, I have to take what I am and who I am, and how I feel about me, and go with it. because that's what He wants from me, just as He makes Himself real to me in His own way, and that's really cool.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Incredible Journey

“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancĂ©e, who was now obviously pregnant.”Luke 2:1, 4-5 NLT

I always remember this verse before we would open presents. In the NKJV, it started with Caesar and I could only think of Caesar salad. Obviously my mind was on presents and how long it would take to get through with this story, yet how important the story was. I didn't sleep well, too cold or too hot, but i did sleep. Susan upgraded her medicine for her sines infection and hopefully will feel better by the weekend, she hates being sick. It didn't help that our neighbor across the sidewalk was having tile installed yesterday (you know perfect timing) what a great way to rest, with sound of tile being cut. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I can only think of Lord of the Rings, pretty much the whole trilogy. I had to do some research too. It's 80 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, so they say about 4 days Joseph and Mary would have traveled possibly with a caravan since it was census time. The temperature would have been similar to Phoenix in December (40-50's) so not miserable but definitely chilly. I also think of what drives me in my life, what visions and ideas I get, and how I don't let go of them. Joseph and Mary both had a vision that God place on them, as did Frodo and the fellowship of the Ring. It was tough back in the bible days, very primitive, no gps, you knew what you knew, and you did as you did, you went with your instinct. You followed along with the law, no questions. My journey I find myself taking in my life now with my wife and daughter is no easier than without them. They are my life, we moved this summer for the 4th time in 4 years (sounds like the army). No we didn't move 80 miles away (3 miles) but amongst crazy schedules, I did it myself. Joseph and Mary took only what they needed, no memorabilia. The fellowship had one thing in mind, get that ring in the fire. I've made mistakes in my journeys in life. Every day is a journey for me it seems. I read and think, even though Jesus wasn't going to be a descendant of David, God still wanted his dad to be a man after his own heart and to raise him with that mindset. Hits me, the journey he had for me during the 31 years before I got married, to the journey he has for me now with a family, regardless how many miles it is, and for whatever reason He has, He's never been lost. There are times when He doesn't make sense at all, yet He's always showing me something new about Him. Mary was very pregnant and to travel for 4 days on a donkey? Are you kidding? You're asking for labor to happen. It doesn't matter how I think and am prepared, God still has it together. I'm reminded of the book "the incredible Journey" when I was younger. About a two dogs and a cat who use their given instincts to find their way back home to their owners. I'm amazed of how God doesn't part from anyone. Regardless of how lost I feel at times with Him or my life, the journey that He has me on, is only to show me during and in the long run, His amazing plan, and the fact that I can't travel this incredible journey without Him.

Monday, December 19, 2011

White Christmas

““And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,” Luke 1:76-78 NLT

This one is not what I thought it was. I had to go back and see who was saying this. It was John the Baptists dad who was saying this his son. But what if He didn't want to? It's been a party weekend, Shayne survived 3 parties and I left her and mommy home after Globe and went to the Kinkel Christmas the 4th one. Now we're done. I am tired this morning. Sip some coffee, I read and think, If my dad were to tell me that when I was growing up, I know I would have been excited yet not prepared. I did want to preach when I was younger, I always have. But I was and have never been asked. I believe there are reasons for that. I don't appear to people to be the preaching kind, I appear to be the weird guy who's into videos and spazzy kind. I did feel God call me to blog. Which to me is bazaar, sure I like to write a little but I'm a video guy, I'm visual. I'm terrible with grammar. Maybe it's my thoughts He wanted on here, who knows. John could have also thought, "thank you for not saying, I'm the messiah, but his prophet". I've always been a unusual, even at the party last night, I could feel some relatives weren't interested in talking, because when I said "it was nice seeing you" they jumped at there chance to leave the conversation. Did I just waste my breath? Did I have bad breath? Do I talk too much, I was interested in what they had to say? I was asking them questions? Whatever. I find moments in my life, where I wonder why I'm here. Sure I can love my passions, my family, I've made my mistakes, I've been successful and feel blessed. I can't control them, but love them. I can go to party after party and put my smile on, relax a bit, just as everyone else does. I can enjoy the energy of the event. I need people, I need that noise. John was given a purpose, he was to tell people about salvation.  Seems easy, not for me though. Fulfilling God's calling in the moment is not easy regardless of what it is. I think too much about it. A lot of times He just wants me to be. Don't think about it, let God be Him, and do my thing. Hits me, I always thought the prophets did what they were told and had it easy. I'm wrong, no one had it easy, John sure did preach and baptize, he was also beheaded for it. Obeying God is always tough to figure out. I get confused with his voice and a temptation. I have to  hear him again and then ask for signs and then hear him again. And then doubt and then try again, months go by. Thats how He works though, because of my insecurity. I feel I was a negative impact last night, I came home discouraged and slightly depressed. I'm reminded of General Waverly from White Christmas. He loved the army but they were going to replace him with someone new. He was getting older but just loved his job, he ended up owning and renovating a small ski resort in Pine tree, vermont. He put his saving and retirement into it only to discover that snow was hardly coming that christmas. He stayed optimistic though as he often was in the army. To his surprise two of his cadets (Wallace and Davis) showed up with a show for the holidays, they happened to be very famous by that time. Through all those renovations He continued to apply for the army and they just couldn't use him. Wallace and Davis knew him and couldn't stand to see him feel he had no appreciation and wasn't needed. So with their stardom they were able to get all their fellow troops back to his resort to let him know he wouldn't be forgot, and it just happened to snow that christmas eve, making it a White Christmas. Hits me again, God's going to call me to do weird things on a daily basis, I'm going to feel down and not important, forgotten, out of place, but with Him, I'm never forgotten, He knows my name, even though I don't get it, I need to keep following Him, do what He says, strive to think the way He thinks, He'll show me the light of day, through His eyes, and I'll see what His tender mercy really is all about, and I'll have my own kind of white christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beating the Rush

““Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised through his holy prophets long ago.” Luke 1:68-70 NLT

I have to go back a few verses to see what was going on with this. It's like I had walked into the middle of a movie and now am trying to figure out what's happening. It's Christmas party weekend, slept good last night. Mommy's also getting better, her meds are kicking in but very drowsy (drives her crazy). With Shayne's health improving, I was able to take her to Stuber Christmas yesterday, she really enjoyed the kids and just playing outside. We are still working on her sharing and grabbing other kids toys out of their hands. Sip some coffee, I read and think. It's so crazy that this happened, when it happened. I often am sarcastic about things that are spoken of at work, or on the news. We'll never get this fixed, oh really, its broken? We don't have broken gear? or It works? NO way, that's impossible. I can view any part of my life is sarcasm. I have a special gift though, some how I can beat the rush a lot. I don't know how i do it. My wife and I will go on a date or I'll be in line some where and all the sudden a few minutes later, there's a line of people in back of me. It happens all the time. Maybe 1 minute later, their all lined up behind me. I am a fast walker but still, not by 2 minutes. I never rush us, never stress that we'll be late, just some how we get there and within 2 - 5 min, a line of people are out the door. I read and I think, Hits me. This verse was not spoken by Joseph, it was by Zachariah, John's dad. John and Christ's birth were a few months apart (cousins). Zachariah lost his voice during Martha's pregnancy (Hmm). He got his voice back when they were naming John. And then he spoke the words of the verses above. How unusual. Zachariah speaks for the first time in 9 months. I find it fascinating what Christ came to do for me. The things I've developed in my life, the boundaries I've created and established, the things I've collected, the way I say I am, the believe system I've developed for myself, the way I have made myself to be. He's come to consume and care for all that. I wonder why at times? I don't need any help. Yet He tells me that these things will only redeem me for a moment and He's come to redeem me for life, by living his life. I was expecting him to make my life happy the way I see it, not the way He see's it. Hits me again, just as i never noticed my unusual gift of beating the rush for a while, just the same as I never noticed the sin and emptiness in my own life that I had slowly accumulated in who knows what ways. What I thought was truth was a beautiful lie, what I thought was freeing me was actually holding me more captive, only Christ could show me that, as he promised long ago,(Talk about beating the rush). Now if I could just have a good habit of accepting that freedom on a daily basis.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Elf

Mary responded,“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.” Luke 1:46-47, 49 NLT

I had to read a few verses back to see what the excitement was about. Sure Mary was visited by an angel to let her know about having Christ, but the further assurance from Martha gave her the confidence she wasn't expecting. I'm tired this morning, couldn't sleep last night. I did make it to the men's dinner at church (its been 3 years). I'm getting back with my community of brothers again. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I find it hard to follow God when He calls me. It's hard to recognize and open door vs a closed door. I then choose to be optimistic so I don't get upset.  I'm reminded of the movie Elf. How this little baby just happens to crawl into Santa's bag, not knowing 30 years later he'd save christmas because no one believed anymore.  He had doubts, he was weird, funny too. People liked him, but he was weird. Mary was chosen, she didn't sign up, she just loved God. But it was Martha that gave her that other boost of confidence of a relative that she needed. God puts people in my life all the time to either to give me further assurance or to stop me from making a mistake. Buddy goes to New York and is just enjoying life and exploring this new place. Everyone passes him by for a weirdo when really He has what they needed. Mary had to finish her pregnancy away from her family do to shame and embarrassment, she couldn't hide her joy and knew what she was supposed to do. Buddy couldn't change who and how he was raised and could only share it. Hits me, I'm pretty weird, I often feel alone in this life, I don't think I've met anyone as passionate about video as I. I'm quite misunderstood, whenever I look at myself in the mirror or glance at my figure in a mirrored window walking by, I'm thinking, weird. I can only imagine how Mary felt. It doesn't matter what situations I get myself into, how things work, God's going to do as He pleases, He likes my weirdness. He made me this way. It took everyone a while to appreciate Buddy and to share his excitement about Christmas. I can't hold back how I was made, I have to be me, because that's how God see's me and wants use me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”” Luke 1:26-28 NLT

Well you don't get much more crazier than this. A woman already engaged gets notified she'll be pregnant  with their first child before they get married and without her fiance. I slept ok, getting shayne to not stall going to bed at night is almost impossible, but still possible. Sip some coffee, I read and think. The first thing that come's to mind after reading this is how different God is than I am. How much I have twisted the scriptures and my ways of thinking into what a life is supposed to be like. Sure I need control so I can make progress, I go with the flow as much as I can. I even play dumb at times because I don't want to believe people can be so evil. They're. God does the unthinkable to have his glory. Why? Back in the day, you got pregnant without your husband? Death. These days? what else is new, or just go the lab. I read and think, whenever I see skill and talent in someone, I want to expose them, and see that shine. I hate it, when I see talent being hidden. Yet there's so much talent in everyone to be revealed. I look at Mary and think, here's this girl who loves God and now to be humiliated, she had to decided what she really believed and that's why God chose her, because despite the shame that would come on her family, He knew she would follow Him because of her faith. Do I believe in whatever God calls me and my family to, despite the battle we'll have? I can only think of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life, wanting to see the world and explore, he had such adventure inside of him. He also had a big heart for his town. He couldn't leave it knowing, it would fall into the hands of the enemy. They didn't quite understand it. He even was embarrassed of why he didn't go with Sam Wainwright and get into plastics. In the end, because of years in serving his community, they all came around him to bless him when He was desperate. Hits me, even when I feel stuck or lost and wondering where God is? He's either showing a new talent or preparing me to see Him in a new way, showing me it truly is a wonderful life only in Him.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Where's Waldo?

“He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’””Matthew 2:4-6 NLT



It's like the secrets out, the truth as been revealed and I have to accept it. Because its real. Slept terribly, Shayne and mommy and sleeping fine now, but I'm awake. I'm not that bad, but it will hit me eventually today. My coffee pot leaked this morning, but since my wife is getting into drinking coffee now, I make more, so I didn't lose the whole pot. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I can only think of Where's Waldo. I vaguely remember when this comic book icon appeared way back in the 80's. Something very different than what we were expecting. Yet it was fun, because it challenged your analysis. You had to find this character a midst a crowd of people. How many time have I done that. At work, It's like where's the keynote speaker, I need to find him or her. These scriptures give me a clue that it was Bethlehem, Judah, but will become one of us. I'm amazed of how when I was in High School, we could imagine who would be doing what in 10 years. Where would I be? We would fill out those questionnaires on who would be what in 10 years. We still didn't know. Finding Waldo was always tough, it was fun, you didn't have to read, but he stuck out, yet he didn't. How many times have I looked for God in my life after I'd fallen. Have I wonder where he as at? He was there the whole time, next to me. I was the one who distanced myself from him. Is this life a game? If I play by the rules I win? Should I even attempt to find waldo? studying every drawn character? Or should I rest in God, enjoy his presence and He'll show me where he's at each time. I always say "quit looking for it, and you'll find it". A few summers ago Maxit Pawn shop sent out flyers for 5 free dvds, so I jumped at the deal and got 30 movies that summer. By the 30th movie, they wanted my address as to stop the mail. While I searched more movies, I had to relax my mind and my eyes as to not miss any movies in the rack, I couldn't look for any but just look at what they had. Hits me, the clue was He'll be born in Bethlehem and be a shepherd for my people. Should I look for this kid and meet him? or relax and wait for him to find me. God wants me to pursue Him, finding Waldo isn't easy but along the way, I discover how much he is like all the other characters. Christ came to free me from this empty life I'm so used to living, only for me to find Him among this chaotic world, when I did, in His timing, He's showed me the life He can live within me as I continue to pursue Him each and every day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear of Freedom

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.” Galatians 4:4-5 NLT

Maybe I'm up too early, but I don't quite get this one either. We'll see what God tells me here. We're almost better health wise, Shayne and I are doing pretty well, mommy might have a sinus infection, not sure though.  Sip some coffee, I read and think, I'm amazed how many times I look back at my life, wishing I had done things in a different way. If I had only made this differently, listened to this one guy, I would have not made this one mistake, which lead to this, which lead to that. My wife and I often wonder why we didn't bump into each other in High School. We are pretty sure we were  at some of the same youth events. But nothing, until like 12 years later. Why? Why did we wait so long to get Iphones (5 years), they have changed our marriage for the better. (It was actually the $30 fee per month I refused to spend). I am stubborn at times, not to listen. I can read the word all I want, looking for clues to help me predict God's next move, still doesn't work. Sip some coffee, I read and think, I need to give up on figuring out God, I need to work on studying Him, knowing Him, and not guessing His next move. I find my confidence level being influenced by how the media produced their news. They get one fact and can comment on it for hours until the next fact comes around. All I hear is "If they do this, then this, but if they do that, then this will happen, lets talk to another expert, about this." Hits me, when I got married, I assumed my wife would be my other half, I didn't expect her to challenge me in my fears, I didn't expect her to even go there. I gave in and took on the challenge and took on my own way of learning, no one else's. I'm thorough, I take longer, but I get it right.  I thought I was going to be working in IT by this time this year, simply because I was taking courses in it. I also thought I would not be doing video production anymore since I gave it up for IT. I also was searching for a closer walk with God. He revealed to me that I'll always be learning and gave me the motivation to keep studying and researching in all fields and a new way of knowing Him. The freedom from sin that is expected from God, ended up being freedom of fear of the unknown in which was the reason He sent his son, do deliver me from that lie that looked so confident and too big to overcome. Yet it couldn't have been possible without His son freeing me from what i had no idea I was trapped in (i just knew what I had a hard time with).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Luke, I am your father - Darth Vader

““Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” John 15:5,8NLT

Honestly, I never understood this one either, come to think about it, the whole bible doesn't make sense at times. This one I remember in sunday school but could only think of Jack and the Beanstock, grapes, and fruit being, having children.  I was confused. Oh the thoughts I had as a kid. Trying to stay away from the coffee to fight this cold. Drink some juice, I read and think. How many times do I want to do things my way and get the same results, I'm reminded of Luke Skywalker attempting to get his father in the Empire Strikes back. He told Yoda, "but, I've learned so much", yet he wasn't ready and nearly got himself killed. How many times have I believed I needed to do something and or needed something and my ambition, passion, and anxiety got the better of me and I ruined it for everyone and myself.  I wasn't patient and prayed, I was confident in my knowledge and determined to make it right. Nothing wrong with that. It's all how I communicate. I don't communicate what I intend to communicate. I read and think, I think of the dreams I have for my video company, I think of the pastors out there that want their congregations to grow, the families that want everyone to be healthy. Sure I can follow all the commercials about living healthy and getting rich, or watch intervention and be thankful it's not me.  I can be inspired by Extreme Makeover Home Edition, I can watch and make all kind of feel good videos. I can think a happy thought. Hits me, I'm not remaining in God enough. I find myself going to Him like the grocery store, only when I need him. I take from him until I feel its good enough and then leave. God is not an insurance policy, where I use Him only when I need him. If I strive to remain in Him, as He is always there to remain in me in the moment I need, I realize it doesn't matter what state I'm in, what attitude I have, what mistakes I've made up to then, He's used all those situations to format me into a true disciple, and he loves that.  Luke followed is heart not intending to meet his father, he was trying to save his friends, with the little training he had received, he ran into a situation that would change his life forever (Darth Vader was his dad). In the same way I can't look back and not see God teaching me through what i call mistakes, but showing me a different way and really, who I am in Him.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Now, I don't hold jail against you, but I hate a liar - John Wayne

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NLT

This verse I memorized in 3rd or 4th grade. For some reason I can still recite John 14:1-6. I don't know why. Back then it just came to me, all the sudden those 6 verses were there, I just knew them. I slept as best anyone can with a little cold, funny thing, I slept good and began coughing once I got up, weird. I'm waiting for the coffee this morning. Can't sip any yet, yet I can hear the maker making it. I read and think, I'm amazed how many people work the system to get what they want, sometimes its stealing other times, it's just a different way. With God, He's the only way. It's just awkward for someone to make that kind of declaration. It's pretty bold. Usually if someone would say that, people would walk away, saying "ego". Coffee's ready, (ya I know, this will only dehydrate me, and its not good for a cold). Sip some coffee, I read and think, I'm amazed of how many liar's are out there. So many people out there to make a buck, they'll tell you "this is my last one that I need to sell, sir". They really screw over the honest ones who really need the money. I'm reminded of the movie "The Cowboys" with John Wayne. John Wayne is an old cattle herder and hires some young boys to help him on herd, along the way he runs into a group of men wanting the to join, but he can catches them lying and won't hear anything of it. It's like with money, you study the original and then you'll know what's fake. If someone does a good job for you, you'll use them again. If they don't, you won't and you'll make sure to tell everyone about it. Yet I'm learning, I have to learn the hard way at times. I have to learn by making a mistake, I have to get lost first and then when I find the place, I'll never forget where it is. Hacking away at this life is not easy. I'm amazed how many people come to mind on a daily basis. I need help everyday of the week. The truth to me is no different than process of something working, and life is no different than completing a job, and looking back at what I accomplished and learned I end up only seeing God through all of it. I'm reminded of James Steward in Shenandoah praying his routine prayer.  "Lord, we cleared this land. We plowed it, sowed it, and harvest it. We cook the harvest. It wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be eating it if we hadn't done it all ourselves. We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you Lord just the same for the food we're about to eat, amen." Hits me, this life is hard and I can do whatever I want with truth I know and learn, I'm thankful that Jesus followed through to the end, so my identity of which way do I go, where are do I seek, and whats the point are all found in Him.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why do you care about Snowflake? Do you know him? Does he call you at home? - Ace Ventura

““I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 NLT

Every time i read this verse i think of that old picture book back in the day. Something I never understood, probably because i'd never been a shepherd and witnessed sheep or had to work with them. All i was told, were that sheep were dumb, the shepherd wasn't and that we are like sheep. I slept ok, Shayne is getting better, just a little cough needs rest. Sip come coffee, I read and think. Whenever I've been told that "someone knows me" when I was younger, I was like whatever.  Do you live with me? Its like Ace Ventura when talking to the reporters about snow flake. I'm also reminded of corporate america and the retail business again. It's so much about the money, not about the customer. Whenever someone is treated and cared for, they remember that. That's how I was trained when I was at the Phoenician. If you see someone walking in with tons of luggage, don't ask them "do you need help?" It's obvious they need help, rush to them saying "Welcome, lets get you u check in". One time I recognized a board member was  sneezing and not feeling well, so I contacted guest services and got him some medicine, it came an hour later but it was still there. It's crazy how these economic times, the customer service places are almost dead out of business. When I was at Ultimate, it was all about customer service. I didn't realize it until, I was receiving it. I felt valued and was shocked that people really cared. I read and think, Does God really know me? Do I really know Him? I believe He knows His father. But do I really know my God? How does He know me as He claims. I mean I know my car and truck, my wife doesn't believe so, she wants me to break 1/4 mile from the break lights ahead, I know I don't need to and keep talking (I learned my lesson this past spring when I rear ending someone on the way to work). I know my tv remote, I know my camera, I know how to use it and make it look beautiful. I know my daughter (at least I think I do). I'm reminded of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber when He picked up mary for the airport, once arriving he claimed that they had been through so much together. In his mind, the first impression he got, was enough for him to believe he knew her. When I was in college, I found myself questioning church and the point of it. I didn't know these people I had grown up with. I knew their name, what they did but and hour and 1/2 each week just didn't do enough. Being involved helped a little but still didn't do it. I just didn't know people and was so busy that I didn't have time to get to know them. I know my co-workers but I don't know them personally. I know which sound boards, video switchers, snakes, gear at work to use and not to use. I know movies, I know what I like to eat, but do I know my God? Hits me, the same amount of time I spend building a relationship with gear, wife, daughter, family, it's the same with God. It's the same source but used for Him. Just as I study gear and troubleshoot, or know what stores not go to because they won't have what I'm looking for, is the same way God speaks to me about Him. I have no excuse not to. God is really unusual though, I can't figure Him out, I can troubleshoot to see what makes Him tick. But I can't anticipate Him like I want to. The more I study his word by doing these blogs, I find how He thinks. I find myself thinking like Him and acting like him. I guess that's what happens the more you spend time with someone. Like being married you find yourself acting and thinking like your spouse. God wants me to act and think like Him, to be a living sacrifice, and in getting know Him, I really find this life is hard with and without Him. But when I sacrifice everything to Him, He opens the doors to a new life everyday in Him.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vader wants us all dead - Princess Leia

“so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:7, 9-10NLT

I think I have only read this one, a few times in my life. There's a lot here. The line "murder, death, kill" from Demolition man comes to mind along with, "Vader, wants us all dead" from Star wars. Slept better last night, have today off, but Shayne is still coughing and congested, so I'll see if I can get an appt today. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I'm reminded of when I was put in charge of inventory for my dads company back in 1998. I was originally a forklift driver, and part of our responsibility was inventory, so whenever we could get to it, we did. It was a mess, and we all worked hard on it. It began as the guys needed their parts, and needed them now. My sister was purchasing manager and noticed I was paying strong attention to this problem, I was only 21. The biggest problem was organization and control. So I just did what I thought would work and she handed me their project plan. They gave me a year to plow through this (30,000 parts). I locked myself in the chain link fence and things started changing. Parts began disappearing (only kidding). My dad had been told by many on lookers that inventory was a full time job and he began to believe this. I was given standards to follow by the VP and I strictly followed them. The guys hated me, they did not want to change, but I was behind the fence so, even when they wanted to beat the crap out of me for not giving them something they already had, they couldn't. I had no idea what the right way to do this was, I just did what worked for me. I created my own method and insecurely followed it everyday. I kept to the standards given to me, and things started turning around. I read and think. Before I began the cage, I felt very unproductive with my life, like I just wasn't getting anywhere. Especially in High School, like I was wasting time. As I began sorting through parts that I knew nothing about, I all the sudden felt purpose and that I was making a difference. I was having fun. I actually looked forward to going to work everyday. It became my passion, the company ended up sending me to school for more inventory classes, which I did ok in, and learned some stuff. I began implementing these skills I'd developed in my personal life and eventually realized I was trying to gain the same control I had on the inventory, it wasn't a good thing. I really wanted control of life of everything, I was so insecure that if it wasn't my way, you're an idiot. That attitude made walk off the job and eventually quit in anger. God really had a lot of work to do on me and I didn't realize it. It took him those 10 years to show and prove to me that I needed Him. I read and think, how many times do I want a store to open, so I can get what I need an leave? How many times do I want someone to get out of my way in the grocery store? I can only think of Anakin Skywalker and how his mom was killed and the flame within him ignited to seek kill and destroy. It happened to be his own kids that would save him. NOOOOOO! (that's the line lucas inserted when he was throwing the emperor off the railing). Hits me, I'm a hurting guy, I'm insecure, I don't want to mess up, I want to do it the right way the first time. Most of the time, I learn the right way, the hard way. Then next time, I do it right. It's crazy of how those standards I applied to my life both helped me and hurt me. I remember how serious I became in the early 2000's, it took forever (6 years) for me to relax and enjoy life and be responsible at the same time. Hits me again, sure God is going to reveal new things to me on a daily, yearly basis and I'll get tempted to take control and handle them my way instead of let him speak to me about them and through them, and how he can show me how to live a rich and satisfying life. Yet the enemy wants to dress them up real pretty and show me how I can surely be happy being in charge my own way. I only find out when I'm in the dumps that I should have given Him back these skills he revealed to me so I could see His true plan for them the whole way.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

His Projected Image

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”” John 8:12 NLT

It's the light of the world verse. I understand the analogy but do I? I'm tired this morning, lots of coffee, I also have to be ready for work, and get out of here. Finally got my leg lamp up yesterday and the tree, now for the lights. There's something about the christmas lights, cookies, hot chocolate that brings the christmas season home. But you have to do it. It's like getting the gear into the room in road cases and knowing in your mind what the ending things will look like. It appears to be a mess. When I send clients rough drafts of a video, I also let them know its rough, not cleaned up, not done yet. And sure enough, I get angry emails about how bad it is. Then I discover, that it's too rough of a cut, and really rough draft shouldn't be sent until its done.  I read and think, I can only think of video projection. Projection is a standard thing these days. Its about communicating your message visually to anybody pretty much. It doesn't matter how big the group, its needed. We're in a visual age, and there are moments when the screens in front are too small for the size of the group and additional ones are rigged throughout the room to make up for the distance. This way the audience will have no trouble seeing anything that is being presented. We did a group this last week with 4 screens, two 10 1/2 x 14 and two 7 1/2 x 10 that were flown 7' from the ground in the back of the room. the size of the room was 28,000 sqft. We had a camera and a little bit of power point. The room was very inviting, eveyone could experience the event comfortably from their seats. With 4 projectors, each one had to look exactly like the other, no brighter, no darker, basicly not distracting. I read and think, it was everyones choice if then wanted to pay attention during the evening, we did our part and everything worked great. Hits me, Gods' that projector right in front of my face, clearly balanced nothing wrong. Yet I don't listen, I want a different way, yet when I come around and enjoy His image, I wish I never looked back thinking the darkness was a better light. Many times during the presentations, the presenter, uses a wake up slide for the audience. I need a wake up slide from God at times, to show me what I'm missing. Where I'm at. He's right in front of me and I was distracted. If only I'd listen and let Him speak to me, and really pay attention. If I listen, I'll find that He wants to live in me, and shine His light through me and I'll see images I've never seen before and a new life to live every day, as long as I listen that is. And whats even more crazy, is when I feel like scum, he's still using me and working on me. Who'd of thought.

Below's what are room looked like with screens


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas time, painful?

“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 NLT



Oh yes this one, the bread of life one, I always think of that picture of the old man with the white beard praying over his oatmeal and loaf of bread, I think my aunt had it hanging some where.  Wow, what a long week of work. I started two drafts of blogs that never finished either because of time or lack of energy. Shaynes a little sick today, but she should be good hopefully by this evening. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I can only think of the moments at work where I wish I could never hunger again, sometimes due to the fact that our cafeteria food is bad. But what can I say, I love to eat.  I think about the fact that I need to eat and drink to stay alive. I'm a breakfast person, some people aren't, I love my eggs and bacon, pancakes, hash browns, all that stuff, I don't make it all the time and usually my body doesn't get fed until 10:30 with chips and salsa. I'm also amazed of how I can meet a friend or family for a meal. Just to talk, or for coffee. I'm amazed of how regardless of belief's or circumstances, eating things with other people and renewing that relationship or just bumping into someone, encourages me. Then I find how I grew up and my mom just was concerned about how the house looked prior to people coming over. Oh the battles I'd have with her about that. It is etiquette and respectful to clean up for friends and family but sometimes honesty in how your really live, is ok. Then I think of the food I hunger for and why? I love coffee, but not all the time. I like to eat things that don't make me sick and stay away from food that makes me feel sick. If I get sick from a restaurant, I get scared to eat there ever again. Then I think of the other avenue, my mental health. Where do I get the energy to clear my mind. With the struggles I have, how do I battle this life out? Is it true that having a coke can make me feel that life is going to fine? I read and think, the bread of life? never be hungry again? never be thirsty? I had an a heated argument with a co worker yesterday about christmas time and music. He hated it, and he told me why. I was fumed and angry, and was not going to let him get me down, and I told him that. Then it hit me, this guy was in a lot of pain, I knew a little bit of his story. Healthy food is never fun to eat, its the greasy ones that are good. I love the pumpkin pie in this season. I find myself experiencing the same pain as my co worker at times. When bad things happen in my life, I rush to harm myself, out of nature, why can't I rush to God, to this "bread of life". It's a like running a race and having coke afterwards. I'd die, give me water. Why do I find this verse so easy to read yet, so hard to listen to. When someone tells me it won't work like that, why do I challenge them? Why do I challenge God? I find myself thinking, "no, you can't be the answer", I want the answer to be this, not you". It's like when I was driving home from work, I took a wrong exit because I wanted to home already, I didn't want to wait another 3 miles, I wanted it then. I at times want this life to be my way, I get tired of waiting on God. Yet I get thirsty, I get hungry, on a daily basis, its like God telling me "I'm here, you need me, I'm here,.......still here."Oh the moments when I did go to God and felt completely filled and complete. I miss those, why are they so tough to come by. I get on a role for a while, and sure enough when I turn my back, I get hit, and then get upset and myself for not being on guard, and to start all over again, yet I feel God telling me, it's ok, and keep moving. During these Holidays, its hard to watch the crime scene going up, its just evidence of a battle going on between good and evil, why? Hits me, the more I try and replace God with things that look evident to fill his spot, the more He reveals himself through those things, that He can't be replaced. This life I'm living is tough, alot of late nights, early mornings, pain, who knows what it is. All I could think of, after my heated argument was the pain I felt. Then it hit me of what christmas music was all about, and how it could be painful. It's healthy music, and when I'm in pain, its my nature to keep that pain and dwell on it. I don't want help, I don't want to be saved, I want to be angry and then eventually it'll wear off. The truth of holiday music regardless of who's singing can be painful, who wants to hear the truth that can set you free? Who wants the honest answer? Hits me again, sure I can be angry about my past and present circumstances and be fumed, when the true reason for the season was to heal my pain and agony and what do I do? I slam the door in His face, I tell Him how much I hate him, how could he? Yet His arms are open and he continues to listen until I'm ready to eat and drink and dine with Him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Running 26 miles "personal" are you crazy?

“Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done.” 1 Chronicles 16:8 NLT

This seems like a verse that should make sense right off, yet I don't understand. I still think it's not that simple. Thanksgiving is over, or is it? Back to work today, I'm thankful I have a job. Surprisedly I've kept through this recession, barely. Tired this morning, Shayne crashed pretty quick last night but still woke up 4 hours later. She slept with mommy, I moved to the couch. Now we're both up and she's sleeping, figures. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I can only say, this is all after that fact. It's like asking a runner, how they feel after the race. How do I think they would feel?  Actually in reality it would be too soon. Ask them the next day or a few days later. They probably feel relieved. My brother just ran a "personal" 26 miles yesterday, a "PERSONAL". All he could say was "that book about running I read, is a bunch of crap". I told him "at least the weather was nice". Am I thankful? I mean, am I really thankful? Or do I just say it, because I'm supposed to. Majority of the time, I don't out of fear that something bad will happen and I'll jinks myself. I'm reminded of a conversation I had at a wedding last year at this time. I was shooting a wedding for a dear friend from elementary school. It was nostalgic, it just meant so much to me to be able to be a part of the day. I was determined to make it go perfectly. Only one problem, I knew this girl from elementary and those years were my hardest years of rejection. So I was scared to death of who would be there, and their reaction to my choice of career or my state of life. I prayed and prayed that everything would be ok. As the ceremony began and I ran into old friends, things seem to go well. Then we got to the reception. I began to notice old friends entering the room that I hadn't seen in almost 20 years, (they won't recognize me) I thought. I'm thinking "Nathan, you still haven't made your rounds to the tables for other shots". So I began getting my table shots and began to bumping to old friends, I made sure to keep the conversations short, everything seemed to go well. As the night progressed and slowly came to an end, I walked outside and began to say goodbyes when someone grabbed my arm to speak to me. She was someone I only remember annoying back in High School, but had known since elementary. She began to tell me what an impact I had made on her life back when we were kids, how rejected she remembered I was, and how I was picked on. I was fighting back the tears, I wasn't expecting this. I had no idea she dealt with the same stuff, and she wanted to tell me she made it through, just like I did, how God had sent me to that public school, I was caught off guard, I didn't know what to say. It was God, she told me. I still didn't know what to say. As the conversation ended, I said my goodbyes to everyone, packed my truck up and just didn't know what to think. You don't have conversations like that everyday. It's not often someone from your past, that was there, comes forward with their view. After many tears on the way home and the days that followed, that conversation reassured all these doubts of God I had for so many years. I couldn't believe of how captive I had been to those years in elementary school. God was working, He was there. We were watching "He just not that into you" this weekend and I'm reminded of how contrasting we as kids are to each other. If a boy likes a girl, usually he's mean? I can't but laugh at the realism. I've always been hooked on my past years, namely my elementary and High School. I don't know why. I feel everyone's true self starts there, not where we're at today. Not that I dwell in my past, but I can't forget it. I remember mostly everything, and I feel everyone else does to for the most part. At that wedding most of my peers had stuck together over the years, most of them still lived in the area, where we all grew up. I read and think, I've always thought the bible and God would be a thing of the past one day, they would be old news because everything was changing. These days I find its the other way around. We've tried everything but still I come back alone to His word, the one thing I at times dread. When will it end. He only show's me how great He is, even when in my darkest of moments back in those days way long ago, it seemed like He wasn't there. It only gives me reason to proclaim Him, maybe not in words, it might just be in recognizing someone at a wedding that I was scared of because I was annoying to them so long ago.   Those days that I wanted to erase so badly are now days that I can't but be thankful for and proclaim His Greatness. My brother ran 26 miles at the age of 33, wasn't as easy at it would have been when was 17, like for me it wasn't easy facing those fears at the wedding but I find I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Island of Misfit Toys

“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” Colossians 3:16 NLT

The first thing that comes to mind is "in my perfect world" this would happen. It's like one of those days that you have  that goes just perfectly yet feel that inner voice say "this will only happen today".  Slept better last night. Shaynes still waking up sometime in the night, but she's getting the hang of her own bed. Sip some coffee, I read and think. I find I can let Christ fill my life, alone, not with others around me. I get too competitive. Is it something I'm waiting for someone to say? to help fill my life with? There's a lot that goes into this. It sure does sound nice, but wait, I can only take so much. There's a lot of humility needed here and sometimes I'm just not ready. Whenever I attend church, I always see that group of people who appear to have this verse down pat. Everything is great, it's like how did they get into that cloud. I can't but think of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer and how he just didn't fit because of his nose. His stupid nose? thats dumb. He ended up hanging out on the island of misfit toys. Meeting these toys, empowered him to save them with who he was. I felt the same way when I was growing up, I had ADD. I had to get special help because I wasn't catching on quick enough. If only I can go back with what I know now. But still, it takes me longer to learn, but when I learn and have it, I remember it. Now a days they teach you according to your skill set, not pity you because of it. At work we use free lancers that we pay good money to lend an extra hand or to take their special skills that we don't have or don't need but twice a year. Ironically their name is IMT as in "Island of Misfit Toys". They may look weird, but they are very good at what they do. I read and think, sip some coffee. I'm reminded of Hook, when Peter is giving his speech and mentioning how he was adopted, and how aren't they all orphans in the room. We're all orphans on this world. I need the message of Christ, screw my upbringing, forget about my misfit happenings, the hurts the pains and remember Christ and his fullness. Christ was a misfit, yet He's God's only son, entering this world as a misfit and we wouldn't have it. I find myself putting other people at times in a category. I look at wall street and I see it all happening. My world is changing, I read and watch stories about black friday shootings over video games due to retailers be desperate to make money. Yep this is what my world has come to, big kids fighting over games, literally. I shake my head as I look at the ground. Yet I find myself on facebook and not with my family, is that any different but with real people? I read and think, the message of Christ doesn't sound good at times, but its rich, and it does fill me up, when  it's time to. I do take counsel from others when it makes sense and I can feel i need to listen. The songs and psalms just come to mind at times when I'm thankful. I get really distracted and sometimes just need a break, this so called "message" comes to me in the way best for me, not always during a planned out sermon. I can't make it to church anyway usually. I admit it, I'm a misfit, I appear to be weird, I walk funny, I talk funny, I can make people laugh and smile, not knowing that they might be laughing at me and not with me. I need table manners, conversation etiquette, I have a bad habit of picking my nose (drives my wife crazy). I smack when I eat, (I try not to), I have really dry skin, I strutt when I walk, I lean forward when I walk, my arms for some reason bow out. How my wife is attracted to me, I'll never understand. I don't even have a degree. She's the brain of the family, she loves school, I despise it (in some ways).  Yet God loves me, and wants to fill my life with Him, in His own way. Ya I can't stand it when people lay wisdom on me when they're "preaching to the choir" the whole time.  Hits me, I can pity myself, and leave all the truth that Christ is, in the bible. Or I can let His love rule me, and let Him fill me. When I actually give in and let Him take over, I find that its easier to allow wisdom in my life and the joy I get from those understandings puts a song in my heart. It's not easy being me, a lot going on in this head of mine, just so happens to be a perfect fit for Christ.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Super 8

“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Hebrews 12:28 NLT

Again I'm not sure what this is saying. I see kingdom and worship. We let Susan's mom take Shayne home yesterday (she offered), some grandma grand daughter time. They needed it and so did we. Slept better I guess, I finally watched Super 8, I had been wanting to see it for some time and finally sat down to watch it last night. Really good, lots of Speilberg shots, even though J.J. Abrams directed it, I could see Speilberg's influence all over it. Good story too.  I didn't care for the Sci Fi so much, but the story line of a kids film brought me back to how I began. Sip some coffee, from a mug my wife got from the gift shop. I read and think, I can't but think of Tommy boy and the pretty little pet scene. And he describes himself as a terrible salesman. "I massage it, I pet it, you're naughty, you're naughty, then aaaaaahh, I broke it, that's when I blow it". How many times have I received the Kingdom and a moment later just blow it. It's unshakable and I should be thankful, but I do anything but worship Him with Holy fear and awe. Sure I'm human but why am I not uplifted. Why does he have to use crazy circumstances to cause me to worship him and respect Him. In Super 8, two families were involved, two men who had grown up together and now adults had to reconcile their differences and find their two kids who were trying to save each other. It led me to think about how God uses people in my life and I don't care half the time, yet He pulls and nudges me to reach out for from them. I don't want to be annoying. This kingdom thing isn't just a place, it become's a lifestyle that is unshakable. I read and think, sip some coffee. On Thanksgiving, I was looking through the paper hoping to find an inspiration Thanksgiving story, I found nothing but sad ones. Then it hit me, what we were doing that morning. We were attending a race for cancer. Our late friend Luke (at who's funeral we had met) had helped his boss out by taking him to chemo treatment appointments. His Sister Marsha, learned of this after his passing, and decided to take run marathons to support the cancer, it felt fitting that we attend.  I was amazed of how inspirational it would be, of course I videotaped it (well as much as I could). Susan and I had a really fun time. Sometimes it won't be in the paper but right in you're heart that God wants to show you his work. In Super 8, it was the boys mom that had passed away in an accident that the girls father could have prevented. Yet reconciliation was needed from past wounds. Hits me, I'm amazed of how God is working on me. His kingdom is packed full of all kinds of mystery's and unshakable. It can't break, as screwed up as I make this place, He's always drawing me to his Kingdom, another chance, to live like Him and breath like Him and stand in awe of Him. I'm amazed of how He uses people in my life, to show me things, inspiring me, like on Tommy boy, he couldn't sell the way everyone else could, to them he was "an apple that had fallen way off the tree", but, he could read people well. Even when I think I'm just odd, who can understand these blogs? Do they make any sense, why do I post these? This is His way of speaking to me. His way of drawing me to Him (where ever I am at the moment) where I find myself in awe of Him. I'm amazed of how much time it can take, hey its a relationship, it can be ignited over night, but not grown. In Super 8, the kids were passionate about shooting a zombie film and the director kept on getting upset about production value. Yet the real story was happening within them, their families and their town and they just happened to capture the very thing that would draw them together on super 8. I can be passionate about my work, and want it just right, want things in my life a certain way, yet God all along is using all those situations and things to point me right to a state of awe in Him the whole way.