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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Gods Passion

Passion was the topic of my pastors sermon today. Renewing or recovering passion. Hpw important passion is as a motivator to action. How do you find your passion??? it was a very good sermon. It got me to thinking about what is Gods passion??? I think from reading the Bible and reflecting on the entire story God tells in His book His passion is His creation and reconciling us back to Himself. It is pretty amzing to concieve that God became a human!!!! That He chose to leave His place in eternity in the fellowship of the Trinity and take on our condition allowing Himself to face all the temptations and struggles that we face and handle it all without sin. In 1 Timothy it says *God desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth* Karen at The Sword Is Still Out has a very solid post discussing this verse as well a few other issues.

I saw the movie * The KIngdom* yesterday. I highly recommend it handles so much of all the varying points of view concerning the war in Iraq, war on terror and the differences between moslem countries and the usa. I wont give anything away but the issue of religion,faith and God is dealt with to a degree. We have been reading the Psalms in a sunday school class I coteach for a long time now and last week a question came up as to how far does the forgiveness of God extend??? Is there a limit to Gods forgiveness??? I held that God forgave all but not all accepted it. The only way to not be forgiven is to refuse the forgiveness basically. Another in the class said this was wrong that God did not forgive all citing how He had the Israelites slay entire groups of people in the OT including women children and animals. Of course that was in the OT under the Old Covenant grace was not at work but law then.

So much swirls within my head. Listening to my pastor was tough today. He spoke of when he was in semianry and in preaching class. How he recalled God calling him to be a minister. I had planned on being in his position, not as a senior pastor but as an associate one. I have a pastors heart and do always want to encourage and care for those struggling or hurting whatever the cause may be. I just felt a lump in my gut thinking how i once was in a place where i was on the path of serving in a church and being used by God as a helper. How I chose behaviors which made me ineligible to be in that position and which went against what I knew to be right and good yet i still caved and in a very huge way. It stings even now it hurts even now I struggle with so much of the same thing even now. I find it hard to realize attimes God forgives me EVEN NOW

I cannot be more thankful for and to so many of you who have become friends and special encouragers to me fron interacting on this blog. I think its amazing how we can bond and become truly close even without seeing each other talking to one another and just communicating via our computers. Letters are always very special arent they???? Sooooooooooooo giddy to recieve a piece of mail from someone and open it!!1 Well to me blogging is just as good as a letter!!!! I am dobly blessed because I share this with my family, both my mom and sister. it is such a mix on here going from thrills to spills to chills and the ups and downs of a rollercoaster but thats life!!!!

God desires me to know Him. To walk in step with His Spirit. To take on the life of His Son. To love,deny and die to self,serve all,rejoice always,have an attitude of gratefulness and humility. Seems so often I get self-absorbed in my own hurts and pains, my sins and their consequences trivial stuff that ultimately doesnt matter at all. But God does help me to have those times where I can see His way and act as He commands me to and reach out to others. I pray He will help me to have that be my focus more and more that i can forget about myself praise His Name and worship Him like a worship song says!!!

Girls girls girls

Have to add on some more about my truly deepest fear here relating to girls. I do remember being called cute by older girls on my block in New Jersey as well as cousins i had. I have a memory of one time someone coming to our house for some reason a girl in my class i think it was first grade,was there with her father and she said something to me and was lookingat me I just got red and tried to hide in embarrassment. I have always been one who is easily embarrassed and turns beet red so easy. I dont know why just is how i react. I have been very bright in some ways, learned to read quickly, great speller,picked up on humor and wit quickly but some things I have been naive and gullible about.

I took a long time to really *get* the things girls go through reproductively and such. My mom could share a very funny story of how i had a totally weird idea of how babies came out. I remember in 4th grade a girl asked me about a period..... I honestly didnt know what it was other than a part of grammar. I had lots of older kids on my block who filled my head with wild stories but i didnt catch on till later about what it all meant. I was always able to joke and be funny with girls but anytime it came to being liked or liking them i froze and my insides and inner voices just overwhelmed me. I was raised largely by females as my dad died when i was 8 and i also had mainly female teachers in school and our relatives had females who stood out for to me than the male ones for the most part. I think there were a lot of positives i got in being caring compassionate and a good listener from all the wome4n i grew up around but not having a father there or a strong male role model Im sure contributed to my emotional immaturity in other areas just the way it was.

I tried to get married a few years back. There was a girl i met via the phone. She had been married and had 4 kids her husband had been killed. Honestly it was not a good match for many reasons I wont fully go into here my mom can verify this lol I just wanted to see if i could make it work. She moved out here with 3 of her kids and we shared an apt. Her kids were challenges to say the least. I really tried to be a good role model and love them as best i could but it was extremely tough. The reality it was not meant to be soon showed and she moved back to Iowa. I have had little involvement with dating since. I hope as shaz so beautifully commented(btw shaz you and your man are so awesome to read and discover it sure was a God thing for you both) that sometime i will meet a strong woman who can see past the outer shell into the full person inside and that i can fully share all that is really inside. it is true though that perhaps all are not meant for marriage. If that were so i really really wish God had made me like Spock and have no realization of the wonder of sexuality LOL This blog has been a real source of growing for me ans freedom to bare my soul. it is a joy to be able to have my mom come on here and share herself as well as see my interactions with people. I cant express how God has used so many of you to help me in ways you may never know. I pray hopefully i can be used by Him to be that for any who may read my words and be touched by them. Thank you again all who come by even if you dont comment your presence is a blessing. Cant wait to meet you all in heaven eventually!!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Appearance Shouldnt Be Everything

To most this title would be all too obvious. At a deeper level though, i think an insidious message tries to sneak in and wind its way inside our collective unconscious. Media advertising and other things try to make appearance everything. I have shared plenty about my lifelong struggle with fear. Talking about my fear and my struggle with it is not a huge thing for me it is fairly comfortable because im seeking to lay myself open and accept encouragement and exhortation. There is another issue though and it is tied in so much to appearance.

When I was in my last year of Bible College i began a counseling relationship with one of my professors. He was a very compassionate man and very insightful. After about a year of seeing hium, he told me something that really hit me when he said it. He said that for me my deepest struggle and hardest obstacle was not my fear of death but my fear of women and of romantic relationship. WOW!!!!! That surprised me at first but as i thought about it, began to make more and more sense. As a kid i was a cute kid justask my mom LOL i was a quintessential german wunderkind with blonde hair and blue/gray eyes. My hair was very curly though the kind of curly that made old ladies pinch my cheek and say *oh look at that beautiful curly hair* (im SERIOUS they REALLY DID!) I was cute and was muscular and thin although clumsy because i was tall and had flat feet which may have affected my run for some reason i waddles when i ran go figure!!

I have stated a few times the 2 worst years of my life 13 and 14 7th and 8th grade. I was at the age when you very first start to notice girls as someone to be attracted to, and i was plastered with acne. Almost all the girls at school or on my block and even any i just came across wherever i went seemed to me to just be repulsed by my acne and that is all they saw, I was a bit quiet and shy even before this happened but once i felt the rejection from my appearance it just intensified it that much more. i had a very immature ability to relate to girls due to this as far as any kind of romantic or relational attachment goes. i have always been able to be a very good friend. When i went to jr college i actually looked pretty decent and felt good appearancewise but even when i recieved attention or any kind of affectionate interest from girls inside i was just bewildered and didnt know what to do. i had a girl who got my phone mumber from the attendance sheet at our PE class lol and she actuallyasked me out wow too funny but it didnt last long.

The day I went to the Bible College i was planning on attending to get a tour and closer look at it, i went and had lunch while waiting for the afternoon session to begin. No one came up and talked to me, not one, i know that college students, even christians are not necessarily focused on just going up to strangers and talking. i just felt a lil rejected,and the demons from jr high roared again inside. I did not really date in Bible College oh i had a few here and there but again my mind was too filled with fear of rejection to just relax and show my true self. later on after Bible College i tried to use dating services but every one i met seemed to click. By this time i had become a lil overweight and it affected things im sure. My desire to have a gf has always been there but has been far exceeded by my insecurities and immaturity in relating at that level and thus the retreat into fantasy as a way to experince a kind of connection at a physical/romantic level.

I think my reason for posting this is because I still feel the pain inside from jr high even though it was all those years ago. I still feel so lacking in being able to be a man that will be able to attract a girl and form a lifelong partnership with. it is hard to write about for a few reasons. First i dont want to come across like Im seeking to be a victim and garner sympathy as well as not want men to read and think 8what a weak chump* or for women to read and think red flag danger danger will robinson. I am so thankful for all who come here and comment especially for those who i have gotten to know and form a friendship with as well as those with whom there is a form of connection . I praise God for all of you and for your own sharings i see on your pages or in your comments. I just felt challenged inside and to share this that really is the deepest of my fears. My counselor told me he hoped i would get married one day by a women who would be able to see past the insecure lil boy to the man wanting to shine out and be an aggressive woamn who would help me make the move i needed to. Well......... time will tell!!!

A side note thank you soooooooooooooo very much to all who have read and commented on my moms post!!!! She appreciates it so deeply and she will share her other parts of her story as she feels led. i told her no rush lol and i am so hapopy to be able to have her share on here. Maybe my sister might drop in as well might give her a lil nudge lol Hope all have a wonderful weekend thanks for the prayers and encouragement!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why did you do this to me, God?

Hi. My name is Linda, and I am Robert's 68 year old mom (understand that I call him "Bob", so if I use that name, you will know who I am talking about.) He asked me to post a guest blog about my experiences as a widow raising small children at the age of 30. He said there are a number of young widows out there who read his blog, and might be able to relate to it. I told him I would give it a shot.

It was 1969. Chuck, my husband, and I had been married nine years, and had two children, Bob (age 8) and his sister Kathy (age 5). Chuck had actually been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (an especially virulent form of cancer) at the time I met him as his nurse in an army hospital. This was in the form of a large mole on his chest which they removed along with all the lymph nodes surrounding it. At the time, the doctors said that if there were no recurrence in seven years, it likely would not recur. So we fell in love, married, and had a fairly typical sitcom like life. Then, six and one-half years later, he was hospitalized for an injury, they did a routine chest x-ray, and found a spot on his lung which turned out to be cancerous. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, in 1969 he underwent surgery one more time, and I was told the cancer had spread everywhere and was inoperable. Six days later, he was gone. I was in the hospital at the time, and watched him take his last breath. My knees buckled, and the nurse assisted me to a chair in the nursing station. As I sat there, all I could feel was numb. Not sadness, just numb. The main thing I thought was, how do I tell my children that their Dad would never come home, would never hold them again? The next few days went by, the children were told (with a great deal of difficulty), friends and family offered support. funeral arrangements were made, the funeral itself occurred, and I pretty much remained numb throughout. I did all the "appropriate" things, tried to support my children, smile and thank our friends, not fall apart in front of other people (everyone said it was remarkable how well I was "holding up"... little did they know I was too numb to break down and cry...I wished I could), and dealt with bills, insurance, quitting my job to spend more time with the kids, and other mundane things.

Then about a week after the funeral, I was driving to the store by myself to get groceries. It was a beautiful Indian summer day in early September. Suddenly I began to shake. I trembled violently, and could barely hold the steering wheel. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and stopped. I was consumed with anger and grief. The tears came flooding out. How could God allow this gorgeous day when he had ruined my life forever? It wasn't fair. At first I sobbed, then began to scream. I screamed at God. "How could you do this to me? It's not fair! He was a good person, a wonderful husband and father, and you took him away from me!!! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE you!!!" I kept this up for a while, and then just sat there in the car, crying my eyes out, wondering just how I would be able to manage the things I knew I had to do to get through the rest of my life. After about 15 minutes, I was able to drive, felt some kind of inner resolution to go on, told myself to stop being so dramatic, and began to make plans for the future. I actually felt a little better, although I would not admit it at the time.

I wish I could tell you I got an immediate response from God, felt his presence and his love surrounding me and uplifting me, giving me courage and support, maybe even speaking to me, saying something like "I have my reasons, my child, and your Chuck and I will always be here for you." Poetic and spiritual, isn't it? But it didn't happen. (In hindsight, I think some of that DID happen, but I was not aware of it.) In my opinion, I would have to deal with this on my own, and I did. Life went on, but I did not forgive God for a long time. This was my immediate response, and I will leave it at this. I plan to write more later about my reconnection with God and how I slowly realized he never left me as I took the difficult journey of raising two young children as a single parent. I'm really not trying to be overly dramatic about all this, but this was really my story and how I felt at the time. Blessings to all of you, and thank you for listening to me ramble on.

Monday, September 24, 2007

healing takes time

I want to try something a lil different on here soon. I want to post stories that convey actual events and feelings but done as tholugh written as a drama or play. To give more impact to the actual occurrences . i hope it works as i picture it in my mind. We all suffer from the *sins of the fathers* Adam and Eve, and their children sure did a number on us didnt they?? Of course we all have done the number on ourselves. We all have experiences from our childhoods that affect us deeply. Some even way into their 70's and even 80's. Emotional pain runs so deep. My mom was a psych nurse and worked in a hospital as the psych supervisor alongside Drs Townsend and Cloud. Look back in my archives for a post she made about working with them. She sat in on group therapy and i will never forget her telling me of a woman who had been raised in a satanic cult and had been forced to eat a human heart. Makes my skin crawl to even mention it. I wonder how that woman could EVER recover?? So many pains hurts abuses happening all the time. If God were not real i think we would have destroyed ourselves and our planet by now.

I dont know how my struggle with fear really began. I know my grandma was a fearful personality. I am sure she instilled some of the fearful attitude in me, nit saying this to blame or be a victim just as plain matter of fact. i wish i had clearer memories of the times spent in her room at night,as i watched tv with her and listened to stories she told. She had a huge Catholic Biblem the kind most families have as a centerpiece on their livingroom table. Filled with vivid photos of Jesus and His carrying the cross to Calvary. I wish i could recall some of the things she told me about as i used to look at that Bible. i know my grandma loved me very much even though life had not turned out the best for her. I wonder where her inner demons came from???

Fear is so elusive. Some fears you can get a grip on and just see it dissolve. Fear of heights,of flying,of spiders,of public speaking. How do you dissolve fear of death??? Can't do it and come back and say*tada licked that one now* God is the One who makes it go away. So the penundrum is *yes i like using 50 cent words* lol why does God not remove the fear or am i not exercising enough faith am i not loving God enough am i not seeking him with all my heart????? If i am nakedly honest here i have to say yes to those queries. Why do i not???/ Many reasons. What is the answer???? Do not all of us struggle with this every day of our life??? We know what it means to believe in and trust in Jesus its the actual living it out thats the toughie. Dont we chase our tails alot trying to get it right??? Wanting to surrender our lives and live as Jesus calls us too??? I hear a crescendo of Amens!!!!

I want to come back alot more to this because its been one of the most hardest areas to face everyday. Hope it ruminates and mariantes alot so i can share more and deeper at a heart level. Hope i hear from any who wish to share as well. Thank You God You are real!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

food and sex

Are there any other subjects that combine pleasure and pain in such a deeply entenched way??? Sorry but politics can't be trown in this mix. Well, I imagine there are some who get pleasure from politics *apologies to the Clintons* I know i know a cheap shot Hillary can take it. These 2 subjects really do play a tremendous role in our lives, even from the very beginning. Both can be so wonderful and beneficial even nutritious. Food is nutritious to our health and wellbeing sex is nutritious to our emotions and overall wellbeing. Both can become toxic when used in wrong way or too excess.

I was the same weight pretty much all through high school weight appropriate. I stayed active and so had a good metabolism. i had terrible eating habirs though. I became a true popaholic mainly 7-up and pepsi and a junk food junkie as well as sub sandwiches and pizza. I could eat as much as i wanted and it didnt affect me at all............... THEN. Key word is THEN. Once I got into my third year of college living in a dorm eating from the cafeteria my exercise not as prevalent my weight began a gradual change and my metabolism slowed. Very tough to turn off a lengthy time of eating habits all of a sudden. The other thing was growing up I mostly ate because i was hungry now as an adult more and more i found alot of times I would eat for emotional reasons. To block pain, provide comfort,serve as an anesthetic. Food really works well that way. Problem is it only lasts a short time and then the inner demon starts to talk all the negative vicious angry vile selftalk that comes from so many varied sources but i think is fueled from the pit of hell itself. If you are a lucky individual who doesnt experience this PRAISE GOD AND THANK HIM SO MUCH but for those who do suffer it it can really be equated to hell when ot gets to a certain intensity. USA culture unfortunately only axts as a codependent, an enabler when it comes to food. All our advertising is sooooooooooo out of balance in favor of destructive eating habits and unhealthy foods. The bottomline behind that??? MONEY McDonalds wants to stay in business. As does KFC Taco Bell Dairy Queen and countless others and of course we freely choose to feed our bad habits so deeply ingrained and tied into making ourselves feel good.

Sex. The word itself conjures up a cornucopia of images and attitudes * i think i might have gotten alot of points in scrabble with that word hehe* SEx saturates our culture and not in a good way. Sex touches us at a level i think that can only be outdone by music and God seriously. Do you think it's a coincidence that the thing people cry out when they are in the throes of pleasure is * O MY GGGGGGGGGGG* Many people equate orgasm with having a spiritual experience and I think they may very well be right as God intended it to be. The fall has made sure we have transformed sex into something that is way different from Gods intention. SEx abuse is so rampant all over the world. It leaves scars that will only be full;y healed by God once we are in eternity i fear. I know i stil have struggles that link back abuse experiences from older boys i grew up with on my block. i know many who have had family members or close friends abuse them and the effects still can be felt even when the person is way into their senior citizen years. Sex is a powerful force and ravages us when unleashed and untamed. Much as food does. Sex can definitely serve as a sedative and source of pleasure. Many people can't sleep until they have relief from self-pleasure. Only trying to be real here not to be gratuitous in any way shape or form.

My dream of my *risking openness* group I would like to have is that those who face these 2 aeas of struggle and they are 2 of the most common and most potent we all face,can have a place where all who share do so without the sting of feeling judged and condemned by having the struggles,especially as believers. I have shared her in my archives of my experiences having to resign a ministry and leave seminary due to sexual sin. Though the people were kind and gracious for the most part, with many there was just an unmistakable sense of judgment and rejection i felt towards me, a sense that i had hurt them and failed them and God. This is very true and in many ways valid, but forgiveness and grace afre also hallmarks of Gods dealings with sin and even sins committed by those in leadership positions for Him. I just would sincerely want the group to be as free open and gracefilled as is possible to help break the cycle and undo the shame and guilt which prevents healing and overcoming of these 2 poisons that permeate everywhere.

All feedback wanted and welcomed. As Becky likes to say *keep trudging*!! Blessings All!!

Friday, September 21, 2007

people are people

That is the title of a song by Depeche Mode. so why should it be you and i should get along so awfully. Several things have made me reflect on the meaning of this song lately. The *Gena 6* sad example of how little progress has been made it seems since the 60's and the civil rights movement. So much prejudice and recism still abundant and not just in the south. Why is skin color such an issue for anyone???? I have a relative who is deeply prejudiced. He grew up near Newark New Jersey and i believe had some rough encounters with black people there. This led to his having a rabid anger and prejudice against the entire race. Not a rational thing. The song from the musocal South Pacific *you've got to be taught* really rings a bell when it comes to alot of prejudice. It is something that is taught and learned. I wish there was a way to place those with bigotry and prejudice in a locked room and not let them out till they surrender their prejudice and let it go, accepting the person they hate and fear as just like themselves deserving of respect and love and acceptance.

People are knocked down for almost anything it seems. Their looks, their weight,their personality, their choices. Being ugky, being too pretty, being skinny,being fat,being shy,being loud,too consrvative,too liberal and on and on and on!!! MAKE IT STOP!!!!

More i want to say but kind of a jumble in my head right now. I am going to try something new on here soo nas well. Posting life issues ion the form of a storyline so as to focus the attention on the issue and not the person sharing it. I hope it works out as well as i envision it in my head. Guess i will soon find out. Final thought about the issue of this post.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Risking Openness

Exactly what we do on our blogs i think. We share ourselves, our ionmost thoughts and feelings and so much more of ourselves. We risk what others may think of us and if people we are close to in daily life may discover our blog and learn things about us we dont necessarily want them knowing. This is a theme i have had in my mind for quite sometime now and would so much like to lead a group with that title as the directive for the group. Not making it a celebrate recovery group but definitely sharing some of those aspects. Just a time to let people share anything at all and risk the openness of doing that, of going out if their comfort zone and having a bunch of likeminded and committed people doing exactly the same. I think it would be powerful.

I had a good time at work today, I just had a huge sense of a weight being taken off me. I think God has heard my prayers as well as many praying for me and is helping me to know He does want me to have His peace and presence. Habits of thinking,feeling and acting are so stubborn to change. Even change that is GOOD!!! I do have one situation i would like feedback on. I have made mention in a way before this is a li bit different tack. i am like 20 years older than most of the guys i work with, its funny though that I cam relate pretty easily and do stay up with music and interests they have, as opposed to being an old man whos out of it lol. One guy likes to taunt me. For some reason he sees it as very amusing to find ways to make fun of me or put me down in different ways, whether it be about my appearance, the way I work or just something he comes up with on his own. I have talked to him numerous times and tried to tell him Im not there to be his whipping boy i dont deserve his ridicule and i want him to chill. He never seems to get it. He actls like im just being too sensitive and should just let it roll off me that its all fuin and games. I let this ruminate in my head and i think no jokingabout certain things that are common for all to laugh at and find funny is cool but a constant joking in a way that serves as a putdown or a means of ridicule is not. I am not there so he can make himself feel better by laughing at me or making me look bad to other people somehow.

My desire for feedback is have any of you ever encountered a person like this yourselves??? Have you ever had someone decide that they were going to make you their personal punching bag for no other reason than because they find it funny and amusing to themselves??/ I am an average looking guy a bit overweight but carry it well *gary can testify to this as we have actually bumped bellies right bro???* LOL I just go about doing my work i am pretty quiet not because Im shy there thats just my nature i have a good sense of humor and can carry on a good conversation when we have normal ones. I just dont see why he wont let this go and desopite my efforts he continually keeps this badgering up. I sometimes wish i could take him outside because hes a very skinny guy and i could easily pound him to a pulp. So.... any kind of feedback is much appreciated. Again, to anyone who would like to my email is on my full profile always a great thing to talk to new people. Thanks for stopping by!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007


Digging deep way far down pulling the roots out and replanting. Im having that kind of experience with God now i think. So long have been a moderately conservative republican and had my theology pretty wll layed out. God sure has seen to open my eyes to really see and ears to really here however. its been 23 years now since I heard Tony Campolo speak and with all the controversy surrounding him the most important part of his message sinks in and hits home so much more now. Take care of *the least of these* There is no glitz and glamour in doing that. No overpowering thrill of the Spirit slaying you, of some push of Gods breath sending tingles down your spine simply being a servant and meeting needs as they are mde known or even not visibly apparent.

Still dealing with fear. Can it be totally removed?? is it supposed to be??? Alot of my fear is just deep;y buried in my gut. i KNOW the answer to fear------------ trust in God!!!!! I have had many many incredible times of God touching me to alleviate fear in certain situations. So much of the time it seems to just float like a fog that hangs still motionless but everpresent, It is something where my feelings overwhelm my mind and faith and cause a *what if* to just fill my insides and mind like an electric shock. Some people are masters of their emotions. TEACH ME YOUR TRICK!!! I remember playing pingpong in lobby at seminary with the dorm dad. We were pretty evenly matched but anytime i felt a lil pressure to perform my emotions threw me off he was always pretty able to keep his under control and he told me if i ever learned that my game would be much better,

When i feel something in my chest or in my head fear hits a scared reaction like 8i dont want a heart attack i dont want a brain tumor or stroke* and i just hope it goes away. usually it has so far. My mind doesnt start singing it is well with my sou or blessed be the name of the Lord and it doesnt say oh yes Im going home to Jesus death take me now!! I really wish it would!!!! i have had countless times on my knees pouring out my heart to God to let that BE my automatic reaction when trauma or anxiety hit. At times i do sit and sing songs or psalms and just pray for His peace and comfort. Pray to rest in Him. Am i too black/;white on this???? Do some of you go through this??? I always come back to God and Jesus no matter what i go through just wish more and more i would begin and stay there more often!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Radical Grace

The early church turned the world upside down. That is what it says in Scripture. Love conquered over all resistance and opposition to it. I grew up after recieving Christ at 16 in a nondenominational Christain Church. It wasa church that was part of a group known as the Restoration Movement. This is the title given because the purpose and intent of the churches aligned together as such was to restore the NT church back to how it was as it began and remove the baggage of denominationalism. Easier in theory than practice. Martin Luther was a siolid Catholic monk when he posted his 95 theses on thr church door at Wittenburg in Germany. He intended to reform the Roman Catholic Church, instead a schism occurred and a whole new church was born as a result of his reform efforts.

God is far greater than our theologies. He will not br thwarted despite the most diabolical schemes satan or the evil heart of man can cook up. Jesus death was supposed to destroy all hope from satans view and yet God made it become the source of all hope by His resurrection. The Christian Church seeks to be as adhered to pure and unscathed doctrinal teaching on the Bible as can possibly happen. Famous saying that evolved from their adherents is *where the Bible speaks we sprak where the Bible is silent we are silent* Very solid dictate but it was stated by a fallen man none of us can live out or up to what Jesus did. As humans with minds we all have differing opinions and thoughts and many times fail to come to agreement on various issues and verses. In the essentials most are unified completely but slight variance still occur, its just the way it is.

A whole new reformation is rumbling it appears right now and has been for sometime, just now its taking on steam. A new vision and model of how worship and fellowship are to take place. I hate saying how church takes place because PEOPLE are the CHURCH. Its not JUST a saying its reality. How can you go to something and do somethinmg that you are???? We go to a meeting place to worship and fellowship. We ARE the Church!!! I think not using proper wording contriburs to a faulty understanding and this is NOT legalstic its seeking to keep things as intended by God and Jesus. Diffferent interpretations of Scripture happen among men equally equipped according to the qualifications Scripture itself lays out. The Spirit shouls ultimately supersede the letter in dealing with these disagreements. Love is ultiamte not being right!!!! Unfortuantely i can say far too often and not just in the Christain Church, the focus is on BRING DOCTRINALLY CORRECT and not love. I think Scripture would fall on the side of love and heres where radical grace also comes in.

Grace is God giving all of us what we dont deserve. Grace isnt fair. If God were fair every last one of us would be dissolved into dust back to where we came from because of our failure to perfectly keep Gods law and obey Him. Hallelujah God chooses grace!!! Grace is in tension with obedience. Jesus calls us to obey Him and the Father, to do what is right,to act in ways that are holy and righteous duplicating His life and good worls. Yet grace offers us Gis love and acceptance despite our fa8lures to carry out that very call to obedience and holiness. Look at the parable of the workers in the field as well as the theif on the cross. All did practically nothing in the way of true obedience and holiness yet God granted them grace. Radica!!

I want to develp these thoughts more over time in a more personal way. i have placed myself behind locked doors way too long feeling and thinking I just couldnt and didnt live up to the measuring stick. True, Grace says wipe away the measuring stick and just live free in the gift i give you!!! None of this is new info but its coming alive to me in a fresh way!!!! i pray God will keep wrestling with me and uprooting what is junk deep down for what is solid and eternal!!!! Praise You Almighty God!!!!!!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

is it crazy or plausible??

i have a post of a different sort this time. I have posted before on the 9/11 conspiracy theory. i have a friend who is very deep inside the camp that believes this. He is a believer and he lays out well-reasoned list of why he believes this is so. As the anniversary approaches i felt the desire to lay out most of his arguments. Sorry to any and all who hate political discussion but this delves into areas beyond just politics.

First he says we must have an enemy. In order to pull off the kind of events he says our govt has been pulling off we must have an enemy to stand against and parade before the people. False flag operations have been carried out by the CIA since the 50s. These are operations where the govt holds military exercises at the sametime they carry out a plan that is exactly what the exercises are. These exercises are reported to have happened at oklahoma city at the bombings in england and on 9/11. Al Queda is believed to be a CIA creation. Bin-Laden was recruited by US govt during the Carter administration in order to help fight the Russians in Afghanistan. All the Arab leaders who are friendly to us in the Middle East are actually cooperating with the New World Order.

The thought is that some kind of major terrorist even will occur somewhere in a major city to create a furor and provide justification for war against Iran. A theological aspect to all this is that Dispensational Premillennialism which is close to the predominant eschatological view in USA now, and is the view underscoring the Left Behind series as well as Billy Graham and most of the evangelical churches and movements, purports to bring about Armageddon and Jesus retirn by having as many jews return to Israel rebuild the Temple and cause the End to happen. All the presidents going back, im not sure have been menbers of the Council on Foreign Relations. Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama are members of the CFR. There is a book writtten back in the early 90s i believe by a christian who had been intimately involvef in govt affairs called Enroute To Global Occupation by gary kah he lays out alot of info detailing a spiritual battle which affects politics.

Well, that is most of it in a small nutshell. There is a whole lot more but would take way to long and take away from the point. Please know this is NOT my own view and not how i see things. I think he and those who also have these views provide some interesting challenges that can be and should be more fully investigated. I myself hope this is the stuff of James Bond novels and too many movies but i allow a tiny crevice of authenticity about some of it and it truly is frightening. God is in control. Time will tell what He allows before He acts to bring it all to a close for eternity.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tackling the Prodigal

In my last post i talked about my major issues of pain and personal struggle spiritually/emotionally/relationally. The prodigal son story has always been a hard one for me. I know for most it is a heartening story of redemption renewal restoration and relationship regained. I have had a different take on it. I have identified most with the older brother in the story. For one reason because i am one in real life. Another is i felt alot like him and his attitude toward his father. I was always the *good one* growing up but of course that is a wide spectrum on a huge scale. Part of me was very scared to engage in wild behaior for what might happen to me, and yet deep within a part of me wanted to be able to act out and not care or worry about consequnces of what i did. I think I saw God, who of course represents the father, as being uninterested and uncaring towards me even bored with me. I tried to go through the motions of what a good boy does but my heart wasnt fully in it. I felt God knew this and so treatedf me as a reject who didnt desrve His affectiuon and love or personal time and interest. While God was always thrilled to see those who were prodigals come back to Him, He took no joy in me and even saw me as being like the salt with no flavor the pig who returns to its own vomit the doubleminded man who cant make up his mind. These are very harsh images but its an emotional response i have had toward this story.

A very troubling thing for me is how to let God mold me and transform me. I wanted to be a minister, in order to serve Him and be a helper to others. I wanted to be a servant. I have made bad choices for a number of years in personal,emotional and relational areas that have made me pay a price. Pleasure seeking has been at the root of my deepest issues. I think i tried to fabricate a fantasy world where because i suffered rejection and ridicule by females due to my acne and my emotional immaturity i would find a way to show I was just as manly and able to be sexually attractive as any other guy. So i sought avenues that allowed for this to happen. Massage parlors,. phone sex cyber sex and internal images that centered on sex and lust just as a hovering presence. i want to be clear that this all has taken palce while i have been a fully functioning adult, working fulltime going to college being involved in ministry both paid and volunteer and really bein gactively involved in sharing my faith in various ways by word and deed. It may sound a lil bizarre but it is what it is or was.

i share these things openly in order to be real and transparent and to enable otheers with similar stories to know they are not alone. i want to follow Jesus and i have this part of me that seeks addictive activities. Some scriptures seem to say i am caught in a vise that keeps me away from God and bound to my sinful nature and unable to be set free because i cant. Others give me the hoppe that God is gracious and forgiving and patient and bears with all the jumk helping me day by day to seek to pursue Him Jesus call to discipleship and losing my life and taking on His. Part of me feels so hopeless and alienated from God because of how many times al these years i have chosen my selfish desires or let fear strangle me and living in faith. I do not want to live with this attitude and a large part of me has a different one but these are the shadows i need to face up too. Suicide is a nonoption for me no matter how bleak things ever could feel. It isalot like having a fresh wound and then scar tissue covers it. At first the wound heals freshly and you feel it as though the wound didnt happen. But as time passes and the scar tissue hardens the sensation lessens and lessens. i feel like i have let spiritaul scar tissue take away my sensation of the leading of the Spirit in a lot of ways. i want to let the Spirit in and to lance the wound and heal me but the pain involved and the effort and work and energy that is needed seem to be not in ny reach or not in my emotional reservoir.

having said all this i will be gladly going to worship sunday involved in teaching sunda school and encouraging others. My desire is ultimately to live for God but I still fight HIm and resist and the tolol it takes is the fear and being stuck unable to just act on what i know His Word tells me.

I hope this does not come across as like i was throwing up my dirty laundry on the blogworld or anything i am just seeking to be naked before God and seek direction and hopefully His love and grace and Spirit to lead me to make the changes i need to make and have the energy and drive to keep at it despite all the curveballs and spitballs life throws at me. Thank you any and all who read this and so appreciate your thoughts prayers comments and well wishes. Praise God for He is holy and good!!! ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

waking through the fog

Coming to grips with where i am with God is a scary thing. Especially since fear seems to have been the predominant emotion and thought for as long as i can recall. I think back and remember having fear because of seeing scary movies or something on tv as well as hearing about things from family and friends. As i have said my paternal grandmother who lived in our house was a huge infkluence and she was very fearful and very overprotective, i know i learned a fear attitude from her. The biggest event was of course my dads dying and i didnt know it was going to happen. It happened as a sudden shock, because my parents decided it was best to not tell my sister and i our dad was going to die. How can a decision like that be easily made??? It can't rough stuff no matter what way you go.

I think i had a very inquisitve nature as a kid as well as able to be intuitive of peoples feelings and just certain things. I took things very deeply personalk internally and some of that is due to my being an introvert by nature. I think death became a *thing* in my imagination back then at 8 or maybe earlier. Somehow it was a thing to be avoided and tricked or however i could keep it away. For some reason death has loomed like a huge dark shadow over me as long as i can remember and an idea of my actions and worth to escape it has been in me. My fear and childlike or childish way of viewing death was formed way before my acceotance of Jesus as Lord and Savior and fully understanding His salvation even though i grew up going to the Catholic Church.

My dilemma is i am 46 i still have a latent fear that becomes more troublesome day by day. I know God is in control and Jesus overcame death. For some reason i still see very negative visions in my mind when thinking about death. I see images of pain gory bodies darkness blackness abandonment punishment. Some of these come from unresolved anger i think as well as guilt and shame over past or current sin struggles. I have lived with this inside lurking in my mind for so long. i have been an active believer i have had many times of real joy in the Lord and a strong reality of His presence. But i have had lots of times where i feel like fear has been a huge elephant on my back. Certain verses in the Bible served to haunt me and induce pain and rejection. The verse in James about not bein ga doubleminded man Os Guinness has an excellent book about doubt called * In Two Minds* he goes into vivid detail about it. I got twisted and frustrated in reading that book because i didnt want to be in 2 minds but didnt know how not to be.

The prodigal son story the story about the bad servant who buried his talent the times where being confident brave and bold and fearless are highlighted. I have always had an emotional climate of God being disappointed and chastising me i think because i have been shy timid fearful lacking in confidence and all that. There is lots of ways I have grown and achieved and accepted challenges God has given me. I just tend to, seep inside,have such focus on where i fall short and dont know how to overcome it. I know the truth of who God is and what Jesus does as well as the Holy Spirit but i dont know how to just fully apply it. I dont know why I resist and why I choose avoidance or sin so often. i do love God i want to follow and obey yet a part of me wants to do some things He says are wrong and lots of times i do. I dont do them in ways that are blatant and hurtful to others in a very direct way but all sin ultimately hurts. it is easy somehow to go into denial and make believe some stuff is no problem when it really is.

Well this has turned into a confesssional really. Hope to get responses. If anyone would like to talk deeper and more personally please feel free to email me. I wish again we could all be in huge room and pour out our hearts to each other. Maybe the blogosphere IS that huge room??? *Confess your sins one to another tha you may receve healing* A good verse i think. Blessings from Him to all!!!!