Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Christmas Holiday and the AFA

So now it seems that the ultra conservatives are playing into the ultra liberals hands. I have received two emails this week asking me to sign a petition from the American Family Association (AFA) because it seems that some retailers want to say "Holiday" instead of "Christmas". Here is the link to it. http://www.afa.net/petitions/signpetition.asp?id=1480

I for one am sick of getting these. I believe that they have every right to call it whatever they want. If we as Christians continue to whine about stuff like that, then why would any of them want to attend a church? God wins in the end.

I'm not saying we have to let people run over us as Christians and be walked on and abused. I would have a problem with it if someone said that we couldn't call it Christmas. I think they should be able to call it whatever they want.

I think these agendas are just not good to participate in. This is my opinion. We live in America. They have every right to call it whatever they want just as we do. There is just way too much bickering between the conservatives and the liberals. I believe in most of the views of the conservatives however, I cannot stand the way they try and compete with the liberals and say we're better than them. I don't really consider myself either one. I am a Christian. I try to love people as Christ would. I fail many times. But I keep trying.

Rant over. Peace out!

Friday, November 25, 2005

What I am thankful for

First and foremost I am thankful to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for His grace and mercy.

I am thankful for a wonderful wife who has been my companion and best friend for over 18 years now. I love you Patty and am so grateful for you.

I am thankful for my daughter Shannon who is a young lady now. You are very special to me.

I am thankful for my parents. They brought me up in a Christian home. I know it was hard for them to watch their son run away from the Lord for so long. But like the prodigal son, they were waiting with open arms when he came running back. I love you guys.

I am thankful for my brother Carl and his wonderful family. I value his advice and wisdom and couldn't ask for a nicer brother.

I am thankful for my other daughter Jessica who lives in California. I thank the Lord that He is healing our relationship and my prayer is that He will continue to do so.

I am thankful for sobriety. I had abused drugs and alcohol for most of my life. It was only through God's grace and His mercy that saved me from the hell that was addiction.

I am thankful for our church home, Vineyard Community Church of Gilbert Arizona, where we have been attending for a year now. I have been discipled there more than I have in any other church. Ben doesn't know it yet, but he has had a remarkable effect on me in how we should treat others that do not know Christ. Thank you for allowing Patty and I work with the Youth alongside you. You are awesome and I love ya man!

I am thankful for Pastor's Jack, Mark and Danny. You guys are the best. I learn from your sermons each and every time. Thank you for being used by God to teach the Good Word.

I am thankful for my good buddy Joe. You can do it man! Hang in there and rely on God always. He will get you over the hump.

I am thankful that I will be going on a mission trip this summer to work with autistic kids. Thanks Mandy for leading this group and I am sure it will be very rewarding.

I could go on and on and I'm sure I would still miss someone or something, but these are near the top so I'll just leave it at that.

I hope each and every one of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and may the Lord richly bless each and everyone of you and your families.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Running a Marathon for Missions

Well folks, I've made up my mind for my upcoming marathon in February. I am going to take pledges for the 26.2 mile stroll through the desert. I am going to make some flyers and ask people to pledge so much per mile that I complete and then throw it all in the pot for the mission teams going out this summer. So pray that I will get a lot of pledges and support in this endeavor. Training is going well, with the exception of the cold I had the past 2 weeks. But it is all gone now and I'm feeling great. I am also thinking about getting a special shirt made for the race to advertise VCC and the mission teams. I have a lot to plan, think and pray about. I am looking forward to a visit from my Mom and Dad tomorrow. My dad is a great fixer upper kind of guy and he is coming to help me out with a few things around the house. I will take him and mom out for some sushi for lunch. Yummy! If you ain't tried sushi, you don't know what you're missing. I'm out Yo! Peace!

Friday, November 18, 2005

A good trip and a great show

Well I'm back folks. I had a good trip. But it was a lot of driving which got pretty boring at times but the trip went without any troubles. It's great to be back home.

Patty and I went to The Fall Brawl Tour tonight. Great show. Flyleaf opened up and they were pretty good. I was impressed. They kind of reminded me of Evanescence, probably because their lead singer was female and had a wonderful voice. She could sing beautifully and scream loudly. A heavy metal chick. Taproot came out and played a tight set. We had seen them at the Chevelle concert awhile back. Their performance was solid, but the lead singer was spewing the "F" word while he was bantering between songs. I mean it was pretty pointless just to say it constantly. Who knows? Maybe he was just pissed off tonight.

Now let's talk about P.O.D's performance. W-O-W! It was the bomb! I think they did one song off the new CD. But they certainly didn't disappoint with their old school stuff. It was kind of like a greatest hits set. I love that they are a christian band but can play with the secular folks. All of their songs are positive but rock real hard. And Sonny can rap pretty good too.

Staind was awesome too. Most folks were there to see them. I love the emotion that Aaron has when he is singing the songs. It is his way of dealing with his anger and past addictions. It was a great show and I'm glad we went.

Ironically, Teen Challenge was holding their banquet right next door at the Marriot and that is where we parked. What a surprise when Patty and I saw Andrew after the show walking to the Teen Challenge bus. It was great to see him and chat with him for a bit.

I'm off to bed. Gonna do a 10 miler tomorrow. Nighty nite folks. I'm off to Zzzzzzzzz-town.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Long and Lonely Road

Well folks, In May I became the Cooperative Program Manager at our office and am now responsible for over 75 weather stations in SE California, SW and SC Arizona. Tomorrow I am heading out on the road for 3 days as part of the semi-annual inspections and calibrations. I am doing the I-8 leg on this trip and in December I'll do the I-10 portion. I go out to some pretty remote sites and am going solo on this one so pray that I have a safe trip. I will be staying in Yuma tomorrow night and Thursday night and will come back Home Friday afternoon. I enjoy these trips though because I get to go out and talk to the observers and I get out of the office. I will also be bringing along my running shoes and will get a few runs in while I'm gone.

I have taken control over the comments in my blog due to an abundance of spam. They now go through my email and I can accept or reject them. I am by no means censuring any comments be they positive or negative. The only ones I reject are the spam comments. While I'm out of town, I will not be checking my personal email so if you comment it will not show up until Friday sometime.

I am excited about the concert Patty and I are going to when I get back. It is called the Fall Brawl Tour and it features Staind, P.O.D. (and I've heard they will be playing some of the new stuff from their new CD Testify that comes out in December, YES!) and Taproot. This will be an excellent show and it is outdoors at The Mesa Amphitheater. This is a great time of year to attend an outdoor concert and I am totally pumped up for this one. Catch ya'll on Friday after the show. I'll put a review on my blog.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

A good long run

I had a pretty miserable week battling this head cold that I have. I never call in sick to work but I did call in 2 days this week because I just felt terrible. I have read that it is okay to run if all of your symptoms are above the neck (in other words, it's not in your chest). Well it did start to go to my chest so I passed on the midweek runs that I was supposed to do. I did start feeling a little better Thursday but still did not run that day, which was probably the wise thing to do. So today I was scheduled to do a run of 9 miles. I told myself that I would head out and see how it felt, and if I started to feel bad I would just quit and call it a day. Well I am happy to report that I felt pretty good and managed to get the whole run in. It was probably in the mid 70's today but not a cloud in the sky. I went to the hockey game last night with my sister-in-law and then I read a bit after I got home. I am reading this book called "A Million Little Pieces" by James Frey. He was an addict and it is his story about his rehab experience. I would not recommend it to those that are offended by profanity, as he is very frank in his experience. But it is a very good book about the hell that is addiction. Anyhow, I read until almost 1 am so I slept in a bit. I didn't even head out for my run until 11:30 am. The run went very well and it felt real good and actually seemed to clear my sinuses out. But let's just say that I got a little bit of sun today. I ran shirtless so my shoulders, chest, back and face are a tad bit pink. Probably not the wisest thing, but the run went well. Patty called me from the retreat and said something amazing happened to her. She was experiencing severe back pain from the ride up there. She said that during the worship service she just felt a touch from the Lord and that the pain just disappeared. Praise God that he gave Patty a healing touch. I look forward to her coming home tomorrow and hearing what an awesome time she had. Well I'm going to head back downstairs and finish watching the hockey game on TV then pick Shannon up when she gets off work. Blessings to you all. I will be heading out of town next week to calibrate some weather instruments in SE California and Southwest AZ so pray that I have a safe trip.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Be positive!

Another meditation from 24 hours a day.

I have learned to be less negative and more positive. I used to take a negative view of almost everything. Most people, in my estimation, were bluffing. There seemed to be very little good in the world, but lots of hypocrisy and sham. People could not be trusted. They would "take you" if they could. All church-goers were partly hypocrites. It seemed I should take everything "with a grain of salt." That was my general attitude toward life. Now I am more positive. I believe in people and their capabilities. There is much love and truth and honesty in the world. I try not to run people down. Life now seems worthwhile and it is good to live. Am I less negative and more positive?

Think of God as a Great Friend and try to realize the wonder of that friendship. When you give God not only worship, obedience, and allegiance, but also close companionship, then He becomes your friend, even as you are His. You can feel that He and you are working together. He can do things for you and you can do things for Him. Your prayers become more real to you when you feel that God counts on your friendship and you count on His.

I pray that I may think of God as my Friend. I pray that I may feel that I am working for Him and with Him.

Sad but true

This is an article from Charisma Online I read today. I read this after I had read an article about what Pat Robertson said the other day. This is truly sad and of the enemy, not Christ.

Charisma Online: It's Getting Really Weird Out There By J. Lee Grady In many charismatic ministries today, basic Christian morality has been hijacked. How would you feel if your pastor announced from the pulpit that he had uncovered a “new revelation” in the Bible? His discovery: That a church leader can have more than one wife. Hopefully, you and everyone in the building would run, not walk, out of that church and never come back until the pastor had been replaced. But I am afraid too many of us gullible charismatics might stay in the pews—and eventually give the guy a standing ovation plus a $10,000 love offering. That’s how strange it is getting out there. Something has gone terribly wrong in our movement. Everywhere I turn I find that leaders of so-called Spirit-filled churches are making bizarre choices that compromise basic Christian integrity. Some examples: * At one charismatic megachurch, staff pastors successfully convinced all their wives and female staff members to get breast implants. (I wonder: Was this discussed at a staff meeting?) * A church in California (known for its revival meetings and prophetic ministry) recently imploded after members learned that several men in the church had been having homosexual affairs with the pastor, who was married. * A leader with an international following (who wears the label of “apostle”) recently informed his leaders that men of God who reach his level of anointing are allowed to have more than one sexual partner. Then his own son offered his wife to his father out of a sense of spiritual obligation. We can all say together: “Eeeuuuwww!” What has triggered this madness? The devil is working overtime, yet our discernment is at an all-time low. Satan’s tactics are more brazen than ever. We might as well let him walk into church on Sunday morning and give him the microphone. We’ve been bewitched. What matters to us today are the carnal things. We want flash, bang and the wow factor. If a person can shout loud enough and get everyone to swoon at the altar, we don’t care how he or she lives at home. Morality is irrelevant. In 2000 Charisma reported that charismatic preacher Clarence McClendon had divorced his wife of 16 years, Tammera McClendon, and married another woman after only seven days. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Earl Paulk, founder of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Atlanta. Several prominent ministers attended the wedding, lending their endorsement to McClendon’s actions. Tammera McClendon later informed Charisma that Clarence had told her while they were married that God had already shown him the woman who would replace her as his wife. McClendon left his denomination, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, after his divorce became public. He began a new church, Full Harvest International Church, which currently meets in Gardena, California. His preaching is aired on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he was a featured guest on TBN’s Praise the Lord program last week. In fact, McClendon collected the offering during the network’s annual telethon. When I turned on the program and saw him raising money, I stared in disbelief. How did we get in this pitiful condition? The very pulpits of America have become defiled because we are unwilling to confront sin. We are playing political games when the very health of the church is at stake. Some Christians write letters to me saying: “The Bible says we shouldn’t judge. Sure these leaders have stumbled, but no one is perfect. We need to forgive.” What Bible are these people reading? Mine says plainly that it is our responsibility to judge sin in the church. Of course we forgive, but forgiveness does not involve putting a preacher back on stage the next week if he just had a serious moral failure. When the apostle Paul learned that a man was living in an immoral relationship with his father’s wife, he tore into the situation with a vengeance. He said: “Are you not to judge those inside [the church]? Expel the wicked person from among you.” Those are not politically correct words, but they were spoken by a true apostle. If we want a restoration of genuine, apostolic Christianity in our generation, we need to dispense with the craziness and initiate some apostolic confrontation. J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma and an award-winning journalist. He writes a column for Charisma Online twice a week. Subscribe by clicking the link below. You can stay connected with Charisma's editor, J. Lee Grady and get his original, online column "Fire in My Bones" via email twice a week by subscribing to the Charisma Online eNewsletter here: http://www.strang.com/newsletters.php

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

James 2:1-13

1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?
2 For instance, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in shabby clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, "You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor"-well, 4 doesn't this discrimination show that you are guided by wrong motives?
5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 And yet, you insult the poor man! Isn't it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren't they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you truly obey our Lord's royal command found in the Scriptures: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 9 But if you pay special attention to the rich, you are committing a sin, for you are guilty of breaking the law.
10 And the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as the person who has broken all of God's laws. 11 For the same God who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." So if you murder someone, you have broken the entire law, even if you do not commit adultery.
12 So whenever you speak, or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law of love, the law that set you free. 13 For there will be no mercy for you if you have not been merciful to others. But if you have been merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win out over his judgement against you.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Have I Charity?

Another great devotion that I read recently from a little book called 24 hours a day.

I have charity, another word for love. That right kind of love which is not selfish passion but an unselfish, outgoing desire to help other people. To do what is best for the other person, to put what is best for him or her above my own desires. To put God first, the other person second, and myself last. Charity is gentle, kind, understanding, long-suffering, and full of desire to serve. God has given me this. What I do for myself is lost; what I do for others may be written somewhere in eternity. Have I charity?

"Ask what you will and it shall be done unto you." God has unlimited power. There is no limit to what His power can do in human hearts. But we must will to have God's power and we must ask God for it. God's power is blocked off from us by our indifference to it. We can go along our own selfish waywithout calling on God's help and we get no power. But when we trust in God, we can will to have the power we need. When we sincerely ask God for it, we get it abundantly.

I pray that I may will to have God's power. I pray that I may keep praying for the strength I need.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Halloween or Harvest?

So this past October 31st brought back the debate among Christians about Halloween. I commented on a post on Obie's blog so I thought I would try and get some more discussion on it on mine. Anyhow, how do you feel about Halloween? Is it satan's holiday? Should Christians even participate in it?

Here's my view. I think that most kids just think of it as a night they get to dress up in a costume and go door to door and get candy (or throw eggs at houses and cars like I did when I was a kid heh heh heh!). In my opinion, this is totally harmless. I also think it should be left up to the parents in how they bring up their children. I certainly would not criticize a parent for their beliefs and what they allow or don't allow their children to do. I do believe there is a darkside to Halloween that involves witchcraft and the occult and all things evil. But do kids even know that? If they are messing around with this stuff and sincerely believe in it, then yes, I would say that this is wrong.

Where do you draw the line? I belonged to a very legalistic church previously, of which will remain unnamed. But there were parents in this church that thought it was wrong to tell your kids there is a Santa Claus. They said it was lying to your kids. Is it? The same things go for the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. I guess I can't argue that it is not a lie because they don't really exist. But am I a bad parent for telling my kids they do? I still have some pretty good friends that go to this church and thay had a special event on Halloween. A question was brought up in the board meeting as to whether or not they would allow kids to come if they dressed up in costume. Is that legalistic or what?

What are you going to do when a homosexual comes into your church service? Are you going to tell him or her that they are not welcome because of their sexual preference? Jesus himself sat and broke bread with the worst of the worst. Shouldn't we do the same?

I get sick and tired of the ultra conservative folks coming down on others that don't believe their way. To me, they are just as wrong as the liberals. I am always getting these emails to send off to places to boycott them because they are homosexual friendly or they sell dirty magazines. Why would these people even want to step foot inside of a church if this is how we react to them?

I could go on and on about this but I think I'll stop for now. There is nothing wrong with churches having Harvest Festivals (our church had one...and oh my! I saw some people with some pretty evil costumes on. No one escorted them off the premises or told them to take it off). But I could see where it could happen. But I also see nothing wrong with kids dressing up and going trick or treating. Who's right? Who's wrong? I guess I don't really know the answer to that but I do know where I stand on it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

DUI laws

I still praise God that I never killed anyone during my drunken stupor days because believe me, it very well could have happened. I don't know how many times I have been behind the wheel of a car when I shouldn't have been. But DUI laws are very tame. Read this article. Our justice system is just truly incredible sometimes.