Archive

Archive for the ‘Faith is Hard’ Category

A Plea to a Father…

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So, it’s been 7 months and  8 days since my wife and I were blessed with a little baby named Cohen. Yes, it was such a happy moment for us, yet scary all the same. But, when it was all done, we got to take him home, afraid that if we hold him the wrong way or forget to support the weight of his gigantic head, it might pop off like a Barbie doll or his “action-grip” may cease to be anything less than action or grip.

So like children with a new toy, my wife and I carefully changed diapers, gave bathes and played with Cohen, who didn’t do much but lay there and stare off into space dreaming of fairies and unicorns, as his mother and I pranced around like Christmas elves excited about the onset of Christmas urging a smile from him. And as Cohen continued to grow over the months, learning new things and beginning to recognize us when we enter the room, there was one thing that continued to bother me. Read more…

The Lament of Observation

September 22, 2010 2 comments

“You feel like your life is fading, you’re tired of waiting for your moment to arrive”

I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past months consumed in the Christian music realm. Now, it is very rare when I enter into an extended amount of time listening to Christian music, primarily due to the lack of musical talent and originality in the mainstream Christian music business. But there has been one main theme that I have observed in the current Christian music culture that is baffling, or frighting, depending on your perspective.

The vast majority of lyrics that are circulating the airwaves and blasting our headphones are primarily interpreted for and/or from the hurting. In short, each of these songs are modern day laments. They speak to the hearts of those hurting, empty, yearning, dying, striving, failing, cursing, angry, mad, lost, wanting, etc. They identify with the lives searching for something better. The songs reach out to those caught in their own mess looking for help, or strength to carry on. Chances are, if you listen for a while yourself, you will be reminded of your own mess. Read more…

Categories: Faith is Hard

Ice Cream, Dogs and To-do Lists…

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

A few days ago, my Father-in-Law was telling me about a book he is reading discussing how to be a more creative writer. One of the most profound exercises that the book talks about is a discipline of writing your thoughts (whatever is on your mind at the time) on 3 pages everyday. No more and no less; doesn’t matter what it is. Sounds easy right?

Here is some of my first writings:

So I am supposed to write whatever comes to mind right now so that I can be a more ‘creative writer.’ So… I like Ice Cream, but only with Chocolate Syrup. Some people try to put other things on it and that just doesn’t work for me. It’s the best in the morning for breakfast! Plus, there is a dog that is currently licking my toes right now as I write. I am not going to lie, but it feels really good. I like when she does that, but I always push her away so others don’t think I have some weird fetish. How does snow look like that? I mean, when you look up close, it really does look like a paper cut-out. What am I going to do today? Everyone always makes to-do list, which I do if I want to actually get things done. However, I try not to make one because then I am not disappointed by the things I didn’t get accomplished. How do they make paper, really? Do they just have a machine that cuts tree trucks really, really thin? I want to climb a mountain. I wish I wasn’t writing this right now, but I am trying to make myself better at something. Two guys walked into a bar, which is funny because the second should have saw it coming. Haha, it gets me every time. I think it’s funny that I have to think about what I am thinking about. Ironic. Speaking of Iron, Cassie’s iron is low. I think she should just chew on some metal. What am I going to to do today? I think…oh wait, I already thought about that. Is it against the rules to think of things twice in one writing? … So I just read what I wrote, and I am failing to see the creativity. One page down…”

Read more…

Categories: Faith is Hard

Money in the Mail…

May 14, 2009 1 comment

1127119_15462155This morning when I rose out of bed, I turned on the coffee pot, opened my Bible and began to pray. And after my morning with God, I began to close the Bible and carry on with my day until this caught my eye:

But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of religion but denying its power. Avoid these people!
2 Timothy 3:1-5 (Holman Christian Standard)

Now I know you might start reading the first sentance and think, “Oh no, he is about to begin a rant about the ‘last days’ and the Apocalypse.” But no. We are in the last days because Jesus rose from the dead and we are awaiting His return. But enough of that.

What caught my eye was the line, “…holding to the form of religion but denying its power.” That just brings chills down my back, for two reasons

1. I am a Youth Pastor – therefore, I teach about the power of the Gospel and what affect it should have on our lives and situations.

2. I don’t believe in the power of it.

Now, don’t cut me off as a Satanic, Pagan, follower of the Devil just yet. It has been a struggle of mine to really believe in this mystical power surrounding us that simply causes things to happen outside of our reality. For instance, in High School, one of our Youth Workers at church found out that she had cancer. So, that next Wednesday night we gathered around her to lay hands on her and pray for her. Soon to follow, the cancer was gone. Surely, in my mind, it was the medicine that reduced the cancer.

Another example, my wife loves to check the mail because she believes that money comes in it (crazy, I know). But she believes this because her parents have been blessed in many ways throughout life because of things that would come in the mail.

I, however, think that this idea is simply unrealistic. Yet, sure enough, my wife recieves things in the mail that are highly beneficial to us (strangely enough, they are always made out to her).

So as I teach about this healing power of the gospel, inside I am skeptical about it. But who isn’t? We live in a world surrounded by science and holding to actual facts/truth. We have been raised with the insight to throw out anything that cannot be proven. Yet, Christianity teaches that there is power in the gospel, through things unseen:

I assure you: Anything you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name. Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.
John 16:23b-24

So if I believe in the inerrant, truth of God’s word then I have to believe that some things just happen that we can’t explain, nor will we ever be able to explain, and that some how this is the mighty act of God in our world; that we can’t limit the ability of God and bind him by our own, limited mind.

What if we became a world filled with the idea, ‘God can do ANYTHING!’ Many times we say and even think we believe that, but in reality our hearts are hardened only to truly believe that ‘God can do anything, as long as it makes sense to me.’

“…holding to the form of religion, but denying its power.”

Lets pray together that we stop denying the power of the gospel, the power of Christ. I want to have faith that ‘money will come in the mail!’

The Prayer of a Man…

What if you woke up every morning, did your hair, ate breakfast and was off to work/school, and each morning when you stepped out on your front porch, you overlooked this:

PIC_0015

How soon would it be before you were taking advantage of such a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere?

One of the things that I am most fascinated with is history. At one point in time I wanted to be an archeologist in Egypt, uncovering lost cities and tombs, and I dreamed of being the first person to discover what (if anything) is in the Sphinx. Crazy and childish, I know.

But, even upon entering into my current Student Ministry position, I began looking into receiving a Masters in History (which is still very alive in the “Things I want to do” list). I have always been captivated by encountering people throughout history, and the ability to stand in places where history is rich and full which excite me deep in my spirit and soul.

So during this week, I have been filled with probing questions for my grandfather-in-law as I learned about the history of the farm which has been in Cass’s family for 200 years. I have been a nomad most of my life, continuously moving and residing in places for only a season, yet I have always had a strong desire to stay in one place for a very extended amount of time so that stories and legacies are built.

And the Wood family has much of that around here. Around the early 1800s, the first Wood husband inherited close to 300 acres of land in Millry, Alabama. Gorgeous hillside covered in tree, pines, creeks and beauty. There was a house built on the land where a few generations passed through.  This land endured the Civil War while some of the family were involved, fighting for the South.

As time progressed and more stories and legacies were made, the original log house burnt down around the time of the Great Depression. The house, which I am currently sitting in, was then built in place of the log house dating it close to 75-80 years old. Over time, it has been added onto with rooms, closest, porches, etc.

About 40 yards from the back door sits a block of concrete which was part of the original doorsteps of the log house that holds as a reminder of the history this land has endured. To stare upon this lump of rock, it is exciting to think of the wind, rain, weather, feet and years these steps have lived through. And over 200 years later, this lump of rock shouts of stories from things we only read in text books.

As I walk the land of this farm, I can almost imagine the time and culture, without roads and working in the fields with the animals and the land. At times, throughout the week, I find myself staring out the window as the rest of the family is in the other room. I stare across the field, at that picture above, and cannot help for my imagination to saturate my thoughts.

For 200 years, the Wood family has worked, slaved and fought for their children and their grandchildren to have a place to take pride in and call their own. They did it not because it was popular, but because it was what was right. And to watch my grandfather-in-law tell stories never ending of his life and memories of this land, I can only contain myself until I to begin to build my story and my legacy to offer to my children and grandchildren.

My heart is untamed and wants so much to settle, but I plead that God would only allow me to settle for that which is beneficial for my family. To settle for something that would endure 200 years of hard work and commitment. That, I believe, is the pray of a man.