Saturday, February 21, 2015

Story Time

As I was pouring myself a cup of coffee this morning, I found myself whistling the theme song to The Odd Couple. Now before you think what is wrong with him, I did see the premier episode of the remake of this TV classic starring Matthew Perry a couple of nights ago.  What amazed me, was I was able to whistle the whole song.  This got me to thinking about a movie clip from Planes, Trains & Automobiles, take a look.

Isn't it funny how no one knew 3 Coins in a Fountain, but they all knew the Flintstone's theme song?   This is how I feel a lot of times as I talk about God and the Bible.  I mention a story from the Bible and I get a dull stare, but mention The Office or some other television series and their eyes will light up as I'm told about their favorite episodes. What have we become as a society?  

Before the advent of TV, people used to sit around in their living rooms and listen to stories on the family radio.  Without being able to see something, they were forced to imagine what they heard with their minds.  Depending on how good the actors were really made a difference as to how well they could imagine the scenes.
And even before then, people told stories to pass down from generation to generation their culture and history.  Storytellers were sought out in ancient times, and applauded for their abilities to tell a tale, and I'm sure the more animated they were, the more people wanted to listen.  You see a type of this in the movie Return of the Jedi too when C3PO tells the Ewoks the whole story of what has happened to them.

One of my favorite things to do is tell stories. I've been told I'm pretty good at it too.  I think it's because I get very animated when doing so.  Stories nourish something within our hearts.  If you've ever been around a little kid, you know they cannot get enough stories.
Eugene Petterson; the author of The Message is quoted as saying, 
"Stories are verbal acts of hospitality."  I love this quote!  When we tell stories, we are being hospitable, which is one of the things to hold society together.

And what better stories to hold society together, than Bible stories? These nourish our hearts in a way no other stories can. I think it's because not only are they fun to listen too, they teach us how to live too.  There is a great book called Egemeier's Bible Storybook which you can read to your family as a way to help them learn about God and His Kingdom. It was written in such a way as to make it easy to understand.  You can click the link which will take you to my friend Joe McGee's website where you can purchase your own copy.

I think it's time we brought story time back. I'm not saying to throw your tv away, but maybe turn it off once in a while and give your imagination a work out and read stories together as a family. Just a thought.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To Infinity & Beyond

Too many times I'm left wondering what just happened. Let me explain.   It seems so many times I have in mind how things are going to happen in my life, only to realize they don't pan out anything like I envisioned them. 

Both of my kids are now engaged, my daughter marries in just over two weeks and my son a few months later. And because of this, there has been a lot of reflecting going on inside of me lately.  Mainly about how I  could've/should've done things differently.  I wonder now if they are going to be able to make it out there without me to help them?

I never would have thought this time in parenthood would be the hardest; you know the letting go and watching them become adults.  I still rember holding them in my arms and rocking them to sleep.  This is more difficult than I ever realized.

I'm like Buzz Lightyear in a way, I thought I had it all figured out, thought I knew who I was, and what mission I was on.  Only like Buzz in Toy Story, it's all come crashing down around me forcing me to realize what is really going on, and who I really am.  My role is just different now, not better or worse just different.  Now instead of holding them and rocking them to sleep, I'm co-signing for apartments. 

I will navigate this season of life with my bride beside me, make the necessary changes I need to and continue this walk of life figuring it out one day at a time.  And l'll start today by amping up my prayer life for them.  Because as unsure as I am about my place right now, I'm sure they are even  more unsure of theirs, because they've never been here before and I have.

So in conclusion, hold your babies close and love them a bunch, because the day is coming where they will move out and start their lives as adults.  And this is what we all desire isn't it?  So, "To infinity, and beyond!"

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Can't We All Just Get Along?

So what's the deal with mankind and his inability to get along with one another? Why does it seem when you're on the end who's getting yelled at you end up feeling like you did something wrong, but you know you didn't?

And why is it the people God places in our lives to be our closest allies end up treating you like something the cat drug in?  I know for my part I have been on both the receiving and the giving end of these things, so I'm not just pointing fingers at anyone, just a thought I had before going to sleep.

You'd think we'd be a little nicer to each other, but instead talk ugly. I guess we just figure it's our family and they'll just love us anyway. But I know I always feel a little bit low in spirit after one of those kind of sessions.  How about you?

I know I'm going to try harder from now on. Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

How Are You Seeing Things?

We all have a story to tell, everyone of us.  Some of the stories are better than others; there are those which are full of hardships, while others seemed to be filled with wonderful things like ponies, new cars at Christmas and the like.  The really interesting thing about everyone's story is regardless of the circumstances, good or bad we are all loved by our Heavenly Father and He only wants the best for us.  It's just up to us how we see our story.

Perspective is an awesome thing if used correctly.  The other day, I read a letter a young lady wrote to her family. This girl was being held captive by a terrorist organization, and had been their hostage for a while.  I was amazed mainly by the positive message she wrote to them.  Never once did she complain about her situation, she spoke words of encouragement about when they would all be together again, and what they would do on that happy day.  Unfortunately, the young lady was murdered by the terrorist, but I really believe her outlook about the situation, even as bad as it was, was positive because she chose to see it that way.

The definition for the word perspective is: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.  Regardless of your situation, it is the attitude you have during it which is going to make the difference.  It is totally up to us, and we cannot blame anyone else.

Let me tell you a little story from my own life as an example of what I mean.  It wasn't too long ago, I was asked to stay later than normal at work.  Well, it was cold, dark and I was counting pipe using a flashlight while it felt as if my stomach was gnawing it's way through to my spine.  The situation wasn't ideal to say the least, and I wasn't even trying to see the situation in any other way except how it was making me feel. 

I called my wife and began to explain why I wasn't home.  Okay, actually I was griping and complaining about how unfairly I was being treated.  She quickly helped me see my attitude about the situation wasn't the best and I needed to make a correction.  After ending the call, I began to talk to the Lord about my attitude, asking Him to help me get it right.  I then went on to do the job and actually even smiled and laughed a bit about it all.  I got home late, and had to be back at work the next day early, but my attitude was much better.  Thank God for a wife who speaks the truth in love.

Well a couple of days went by, and I was called into the office and handed an envelope.  I opened it, and looked inside and found three brand new one hundred dollar bills.  I was told thank you for staying late the other night.  To say I was blown away is an understatement.  I also realized (the next day) by working late the one night, I made up for the hours I had lost by leaving earlier the day before.  God was working on my behalf the whole time, even though I didn't see it at the time.  I will say, if my attitude had continued down the path it was going, my boss wouldn't have blessed me outside of the overtime hours.  After all who wants to bless someone who is griping and complaining?

What I've begin to figure out here is when situations arise which would cause me to begin to gripe and complain, instead of going with what feels right, I ask God what is really going on here?  I ask Him to give me eyes to see the situation as it really is, not as I feel it is. This is why I believe Joseph in the Bible was able to endure all those years in slavery.  He chose how he was going to look at each situation, even though it seemed to keep getting worse and worse.  Eventually he became the main man under Pharaoh in all the land.

Kind of makes me wonder what we may be missing out on from time to time.  How about you?  How are you seeing things?

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!


Modern Day Marauders

This morning I was watching the movie First Knight, it is one of the many stories about King Arthur and his knights.  Truthfully, it is one of my favorite versions of the tale.  As I was watching Malagant and his men ravage a village; killing the inhabitants and burning it to the ground I couldn't help but wonder what would make men go to such extreme acts of violence and hatred.

I understand this is just a movie for entertainment, but if you know anything about me, you know I am often moved to deeper thoughts by the images I see in movies, television and books.  God can use anything He chooses and for me it just happens to be the entertainment industry which speaks to my heart.

There are just some people in this world who for whatever reason just want to take everything they can by any means necessary, regardless of who they hurt in the process.   As Alfred told Bruce Wayne in the Batman movie The Dark Knight, "Some men just want to watch the world burn."  Now this is not a thought process I understand at all.  It is as foreign to me as a second language.  These are people who only look out for number one, and could care less what happens to anyone in the process.

I read one time that all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.  This is why I believe these modern day marauders are allowed to get away with as much as they do; good men and women for whatever reason refusing to stand up to them.  I can't stand bullies.  Bullies are those people who just push others around.  It usually stems from insecurities in their own lives, and rather than face them and do something about it, they take the initiative and bully others before they themselves can be bullied.  When you realize this about them, it's easier to feel sorry for them.

I've only been bullied a couple of times in my life, and instead of standing up to the bully, I usually ran away, believing to retreat being the better course of action.  I can say now as an adult, it wasn't.  I wish I would have stood up to the bullies back then.  I might have possibly taken a few lumps, but at least then the bully wouldn't have continued to have so much power over me. 

I'm not advocating violence by any means, but sometimes you just have to stand up to evil and face it head on.  This is where I think we're missing it as a society today.  Groups of people who use fear to control other people's lives need to be taken to task.  Recently a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by the terrorist organization ISIS.  In retaliation, the King of Jordan suited up and led the attack on them.  I've got to say I was impressed.  It's been a while since I've seen any national leader with a set take up a posture like this.  I say kudos to King Abdullah.

These modern day marauders come in all shapes, sizes, colors and genders.  The thing which should become the standard in dealing with them is for us to stand up to their evil wherever we see it, regardless of how big it is, saying, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"  Then take them to task for their actions, regardless of the outcome.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day?

I may be blasted for saying this, but I really don't like the holiday Valentine's Day.  I am supposed to show my bride how much I love her by purchasing chocolates, flowers or the latest gotta have gift.  It's almost as if I need to buy her love for another year.  Don't get me wrong, I love my bride very much, but I work diligently to show her on a daily basis, not just once a year because the card industry is pushing cards.

Valentine's Day is a holiday which only makes me feel like a loser.  I am forced year after year to improve the way I show my wife how much I love her.  And with the advent of social media, now I'm not only forced to improve on what I've done, but I must compete with every other man who has bought a gift for his girl.  Yeah that helps.

I want my bride to know I love her, really know it.  It's for this reason I get up and go to work every day. I clean the kitchen, do laundry, take out the trash and occasionally fill up her gas tank.  It's doing these things which shows Cheryl I love her. Don't misunderstand me, Cheryl likes gifts and I like giving them to her. I just want it to be my idea and not something I'm forced to do in order to look like a great guy.

I will continue to do my best to show Cheryl she is the only girl for me, whether it be with gifts or acts of service.  The only thing is it will be my idea and no one else's.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Father of the Bride

I have been married for twenty-six years and a father for twenty-two.  In just a few weeks I will walk my baby girl down the aisle and give her away to the man of her dreams.  I’ve known this day was coming for quite some time now, but as the time draws closer, I find myself thinking about the past.

I’m happy with the way I’ve fathered my children, I really am.  I mean of course if I had it to do over, I’d change some things.  I’d laugh more, act silly for no reason and look for more opportunities to just sit with my kids and be with them.

It’s at this point in my life as I wonder about the past; I begin to have doubts though.  Doubts of whether or not I’ve really given April all the things she is going to need to be a success in her marriage.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of the woman she has become, and I think she is doing great.  It’s just that she is fixing to marry a man, leave my house and start her own family.  Will she be able to make it without me there to help? 

This is the doubt I wrestle with.  Not that she’ll be able to do it, I believe in her abilities.  I just hope I’ve done all I can to pour into her life so she will have what she needs to draw on when the time comes.  I'm sure most every dad has wondered this before giving his daughter away.

We were a home school family, and part of an amazing co-op in the later years.  I always felt we were the underachieving homeschool family though.  It seemed every kid in our co-op was building robots and working on their doctorate while we were striving for our kids to graduate. (Okay so that might be a bit of an exaggeration).  What I am confident in however, is my kids know how to find the answers to the questions they have in life.

I have also made it a conscious effort while my kids were growing to stress the importance of finding out what God has for them, then chasing after it.  And this is one of the things I'm most excited about for my baby girl.  She is doing what the Lord has for her to do.  And while I'm excited about this, it is a tad bit scary too.  Scary because she will not have me there to help her if she needs it.  I have to let her go and trust God will guide her in everything she does.  Thankfully, He is faithful and loves her even more than I do. 
Since purchasing the dress for her big day, it has being hanging in my office just to the right of my desk.  It is a constant reminder to me how the day is ever drawing near.  In just a few weeks I'll be sitting here writing and it will no longer be there, and she'll be off to start her new adventure in life with her husband.  It'll be exciting for her, and a little sad for me I'm sure.  My baby all grown up and out changing the world for God with the new man in her life.

April may not be my little baby girl swinging in my arms any more, but regardless of how old she becomes she will always be my baby girl.  And as we walk arm in arm down the aisle on her wedding day, I won't be able to keep from thinking how I was there for the first steps she took as a baby, and now I am there as she takes her first steps as a woman.  Yeah, I'll probably bawl like a little baby.
Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!!