Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sow What

Yeah Yeah so I did a play on words, or did you think I just misspelled? Well I meant it that way so there. On my daily scripture for facebook Galatians 6:8 came up
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction;
the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
After reading an article in the news yesterday that said people are more and more believing that their religion isn't the only way into heaven, this coming from 57% of evangelical Christians, I am led to believe that the church has too long sown from the sinful nature.
We have allowed things into our midst by letting our personal opinion lead our ideology and not the spirit as it should be. We take sins and elevate them higher then others because we are sickened by them, instead of calling sin.. sin. I so often hear about people who strongly stand against homosexuality, but then they cheat on their wives or are caught in some other moral sin. Sin is sin there isn't a sin ladder that you climb starting at lying and ending up gay. The man who looks at porn is the same as the gay man they are both sinning. All sin requires forgiveness from God and he says none is greater then another except blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Then there are the created sins, the ones that aren't even in the Bible but we push them anyway. The one that makes me laugh the hardest is the sin of not growing in Christ, not that I think we should stagnate in our walk but who is greatest among you let him cast the first stone. How many times have I heard he was a good man but he got his ear pierced I am just praying for God to bring him back to the fold or She isn't living right she wears those skirts that just barely cover the knees I am praying that God doesn't allow her to die before she comes back to church. These aren't the only made up sins out there, they are just the ones I chose for this blog.
My point in all of this is the Bible names the sins we should concern ourselves with, and on those we quickly forgive as we should. My dad recalls a lady who came to church while he was a teenager. She was saved at the service, her past life forgiven by all, but was met by the elder ladies in the church who proceeded to tell her how she needed to be dressed the next time she came to church, she of course never came back either from embarrassment or from the lack of money to buy new clothes. If they felt so strongly about it then they should have followed God's mandate and given her their Sunday best.
The Bible is plain about sin, it is also plain about how to react to it. We in the church need to get into the word and see what sin really is, Gods policy on how to react to those sins and stop creating sins for everyone else to fall short on. If we focus on God and start sowing into our spiritual field, as the scripture says the rain is coming prepare the field.
We have serious problems on our hands with people going to churches that are so accepting of everything. I recently heard of a church that you could be buddist, atheist or christian. Yes I left it lower case because I don't beleive anyone is a Christian if they think that there might be other ways into heaven. The Bible is plain, amazing how clear things are yet we always want to debate it, Jesus is the only way into heaven. If you are a slave to Christ, or Christian, then you must follow his teaching. Any deviation from that puts you in another classification, make something up you already have created the rest of your beliefs why stick to the classification.
Am I saying we should be intolerant of others? NO! They can believe the way they want, just don't bring those beliefs to my church and expect me to accept you as is. Sure I'll welcome you in and love you all the way into an experience with Christ.

Friday, June 20, 2008

God in a Box

It's amazing how in the last several months God has shown me things about him that I thought I knew already, but liker most of us just didn't get. We claim, especially those of us in the charasmatic/pentacostal group, that with God nothing is impossible but we constantly put him into a neat little box where if he ever tried anything outside of that box we claim it to be anti-God. Most of you know that Christina and I have been on the move church wise again trying to find that home away from Faith Temple, but if you didn't there you go. We have been visiting a baptist church with some friends of ours in the last few weeks, breath everyone, and have truly been blessed by what we have seen.
Like I said at the beginning God has been dealing with me personally about boxes for a while, and on the first Sunday there would you believe the Pastor talked about boxes? Amazingly baptist people feel the leading of the spirit as so many people wrongly think. That sermon spoke right to me as he said "We the baptist church like to put God in a box and not allow him to work, now you Church og God people out there laugh but your guilty of it too your box is just bigger."
As I sat there I was hit with a lot of different thoughts, some concerning a certain baptist church that sang the same songs as we do, had their very own Marsha Hoxworth(one of the best pastors wives Christina and I have ever had), but a pastor who spoke to the heart of what God was dealing with me on.
Now I have always been a person of Faith, as long as you couldn't see inside my head anyway. I have to show strength for my family no matter what, thats my job. But there have been some real down moments for me since moving back to Cleveland. Everytime I think things are looking good again, it seems to turn within minutes. At one point after a particularly challenging problem was fixed I even said that I felt like God had pushed the envelope of my ability to continue on. I started to wonder did we make a bad choice in coming here? Is the dream that gave me to great for someone who is "non-traditional" at school? It seems that everytime I see somthing forming up its crushed and thoughts of moving back home resurface.
Today was a really bad day for me because Christina was hit with another one of migranes. She had more then her insurance alloted five of them so we had to call to get her refill only to hear that she couldn't get anymore in this month. The on call doctor in his great wisdom suggested we just buy one pill to get her through to Monday when her doctor will be available, but that one pill is $92.00! At least in the army they would have given her samples. The army looks really good for someone who thought God was calling him out, someone who wanted to stay in for life and had a family that supported that.
As all these thoughts are running through my head I remember my pastors words when we were discussing some ideas once. I am sure that if I tried to quote it I would mess it up so I'll "wadish" it. "Even though I know what God has in store for Faith Temple he has not yet released me to it". WHAT you mean God shows you things in the future but won't let you do it yet? You mean even though there is a struggle to maintain those things as they are he knew that when he told you but I can't do anything excpet keep walking?
I know over the last few months Christina and I have helped people with stuggles that we would have never seen or met in Killeen, Texas, our comfort zone. That doesn't mean that we don't know what some of what God has in store for us, nor does it mean that this is "our spot" its more like our wilderness." As sure as the world we had put God into a "prosperity box". A box that said we were doing what he wanted so things should go well, more like would go well.
So as I am sitting here thinking of being in God's box and not keeping him my box at 130 because I can't sleep yet again, I flip over to GOD TUBE and watch a video of a drama. For people that know me they know how I am about drama and media in the church. I despise those people that just want to get by. I believe that it is not that hard to make good quality no matter what your resources. I am also not real happy with those people who make excuses for not using it in their service. Excuses like we just dont know how, or God doesn't use that in church. These people are usually againest business managers in church too. Anyway enough ranting off subject, I watch the video that is attached here where this group is doing cheerleaderesk moves combined with drama and I see a place where God is not boxed out of the media/drama but is allowed to move freely in a backflip :)
To sum this rant all up nicely would most likely be impossible but let me try. God is greater then any box a demoniation can put around him. God is greater then any form of ministry can put around him. It doesn't matter how much people think we shouldn't copy the things of the world, because God is a creative person and humans are in his likeness they are therefore creative in the end they are in fact copying him. David danced for God years before churches made it a sin, banners were somthing of every worship service in Israel, so let God out of your box and climb into his!
Dramatically IHS

Think you are seeing two ?

You might be if you followed my blogging on my space or face book, I am in the process of bringing them all here so that you don't need a membership somewhere in order to read and comment on them. I am hoping that by bringing them all here maybe I'll figure out what I want this blog to be :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Old Friends; Old Crimes

I am always apprehensive when I come in contact with old friends out of fear that they will remember things that I have done that may not have been something a Christian should have been doing, especially now that I am answering the call to pastor troops. Over the last week God has brought a lot of old friends into my life and so far my worries over the past have been unfounded. It reminds me of the scripture where God says that he will cast your sins from him as far as the east is from the west. I know that we on earth don't often forget the transgressions against us, nor do we forget the things others do if for no other reason then that of making sure they are never better then us. It doesn't really matter why we are reminded because according to the 1 Peter 5:8 Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour and he is called the accuser of the saints constantly reminding them of where they came from. We don't need to worry about these things, in fact the old saying "when the devil reminds you of your past remind him of his future" comes to mind here. So no matter what we have done in life, we can rest assured in our salvation as long as we accept Christ as our savior who died on the cross for our sins and rose three days later.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Call of the Wild

As many already known Christina and I have acknowledged the calling as a Chaplain in the army. Most have said that they aren't at all surprised, which to be honest neither are we. I think initially the hardest thing for me to overcome was accepting the fact that I was called into a pastorate, which I have always fought based on an image I had forged in my mind of a traditional "pulpit ministry".
Growing up as a pastors child I was always being told I was called to preach/pastor and I would always reply that they were off base because I was a rough and tumble mountain man not cut out for this soft pastoring thing that my father did so well. Don't get me wrong my dad is a mans man, in fact I would rather have him in a foxhole with me then just about anyone else. That might be because I know he is connected to God and my mom would have more angels around us then she ever prayed up for me during my two tours. But he is one of those that is just cut out for the cloth so to speak and I look better as an enforcer. This knowledge is what led me to the army in the first place, while there I met Chaplain Egert who was so much like my dad it amazed me.
I can honestly say that when we met the Egerts being in the ministry couldn't have been more distant from both of us. We had been through so much hurt at that point from "Christians" that I had swore off anything church related. Chrissy and I to this day laugh about the whole lunch with them that got me back teaching drama at church, renewed us to Godly Christians and eventually led us to the decision that we were called into the ministry, not yet as chaplains but as something in the church. Chet and Rhoda along with their daughters became fast friends to us and on every move we ended up running into them or they us and always caught right back up. During our tour of Italy he had a Chaplain recruiter come to Vicenza and introduced us to the whole idea in our living room along with John McDougall and his soon to be wife. Even so we just didn't know if it would ever be something we wanted to do. John and Bree did end up being called and I suppose that the ember was already embedded in us.
Getting out of the army was so hard on both of us because we had always felt that we were lifers. Often you hear of people who can't survive on the outside, Chrissy and I are not those people, we just like the Camaraderie that the army has, even among the wives. God in his wisdom didn't reveal to us anything further than get out and go to school. So after an eight year career we started over. A lot happened in the first few months after getting out, some came close to destroying the faith we had in God.
Soon after arriving at Lee, the promised job dissolved with the resignation of the head of campus safety. Having no other options Chrissy looked for work and was turned down constantly until, just in time, she got a waitressing job at Outback. Night after night the back breaking work wore her down but she stuck with it because it was all we had. During this time her father was diagnosed with cancer, which God had revealed to us meant her father was being called home. Every day off she had we headed south to be with him and eventually about 3 months after his diagnosis, he died at the end of June. During one of our visits, which turned out to be his last really good strong week, he prayed over Chrissy and I and passed down the blessing of family leadership and ministry. He was an ordained minister so this was really a strong time for us because you almost don't feel worthy to receive that mantle. Talking to him, he knew we were called to the chaplaincy and in fact we were getting that feeling that it was coming, we just hadn't quite accepted it yet. On the drive back home we looked at each other and wondered if God was already revealing another step to us.
The August after his death I started back to Lee ofter being out of school for 1o years. I look back now in disbelief as I see Gods hand at work the whole time. At the beginning of that semester I was a sophomore with a 1.4 gpa. After the first semester I was a junior with a 2.2. Each semester the gpa rises and so does my belief that God has something in store just around the corner. In pursuing the next level of education I thought surely God wanted me to get a masters in something like movie making or production since my BA is telecommunications with a church media emphasis. As I was perusing the Regent website I saw a Mdiv with a chaplaincy emphasis, then I saw a discounted tuition for those in the Chaplains Candidate Program. Understand this none of our decisions were made based on that find, it was just interesting that while looking for a degree tract to follow in the graduate program a chaplaincy degree would show up.
At this point Chrissy and I felt 99.9% positive that we were being pulled that way.
I called Chaplain Egert a few nights later and asked him how we should proceed. Before I knew it I had emails rolling in from people he had put me in contact with. We have prayed God please open and close doors for us so that we will know that this is your will. So far we haven't walked through a single door, just a blown away hole where once there was a door but God removed it so there was no doubt which way we needed to go. I called the Church of God(Cleveland, TN) Chaplains Commission and set up a meeting with Chaplain McNabb who heads the program. What a wonderful meeting it was for us as he confirmed things we had always been feeling. At one point I told him that I had never felt a calling to a "traditional pulpit ministry" and he immediately replied I know what you are trying to say and you are what the chaplaincy needs because you are called to pastor soldiers. Before we knew it Chrissy and I were being escorted around the seminary, and we felt that we were in the right place.
So there is where we stand on this calling into the pastorate. We have been told that the hardest thing for us will be the change from enlisted to officer, they may be right. But I think just admitting a calling into the pastorate was the hardest for me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Calling all Smart smokers

You wonder why non smokers such as myself think you should be banned from any public venue for smoking, well you can blame your stupid counterparts. Take my trip to McDonalds with my daughters today for instance. As I was sitting there a woman walked by the window smoking a cigarette. Just before she entered the door she tossed the still lit butt into the mulch that was all around the restaurant. Now besides the simple fact that some non-smoker will end up having to clean that up, it never fails non-smokers are the ones on butt duty, its really dry here and it was already starting to smolder. Had a few of the other customers and myself not been watching it would have been a fire within a few minutes. The crazy thing is she acted like we were intruding on her space. The funny thing is, most smokers will claim that this lady falls in the simple minority and that they, and most smokers, are just not like that. As much as I would like to believe them I have myself picked up way too many butts as a non smoker. So smart smokers if you want us non smokers to stop asking for more laws to stop this apparent interference into your life, police the dumb ones among you up because there are tons of them and they are really making you all look irresponsible.