Saturday, April 29, 2006

This is a great excerpt from a post by Mark Driscoll who Pastors the Mars Hill Church in the Seattle area.

"Before I begin my rant, let me first defend myself. First, the guy who was among the first to share the gospel with me was a gay guy who was a friend. Second, I planted a church in my 20s in one of America's least churched cities where the gay pride parade is much bigger than that march for Jesus. Third, my church is filled with people struggling with same sex attraction and gay couples do attend and we tell them about the transforming power of Jesus. Fourth, I am not a religious right wingnut. In fact, when James Dobson came to town to hold the anti-gay rally, we took a lot of heat for being among the biggest churches in the state, the largest evangelical church in our city, and not promoting the event in our church because we felt it would come off as unloving to the gay community. The men who hosted the event are all godly men and good friends and I've taken a few blows for not standing with them on this issue. Fifth, I am myself a devoted heterosexual male lesbian who has been in a monogamous marriage with my high school sweetheart since I was 21 and personally know the pain of being a marginalized sexual minority as a male lesbian."

Now which guy is doing what Jesus would do? Mark Driscoll? Or James Dobson? Oh, and ya gotta love the terms "religious right wingnut" and "devoted heterosexual male lesbian". Heh heh heh.

Peace out!

Friday, April 28, 2006

The 1st Rule of Fight Club

This is a post I found on ginkworld. A very deep post that I interpret as a battle between light and darkness. The author is David Sherwood and I will be the first to buy his book if he gets published.

The 1st Rule of Fight Club

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A Worshiper and a Servant

Being a part of the Youth Leader Team at VCC of Gilbert I observe a lot of the youth in action. There is one particular guy that I have been observing lately. He is willing to help anywhere at Drop-In. Never needs to be told to help. Does whatever he is asked to do. He is present at Youth Group every Wednesday, Drop-In on Thursday's and Youth on Sunday morning. During Praise and Worship time he is always tuned into the Holy Spirit, lifting his hands and voice to the Lord in praise and worship. He is in Patty and I's geographical home group and I have gotten to know him very well. He always participates and adds to the discussion or lesson we are teaching. If you know this guy, pat him on the back and encourage him. He is a leader and a servant without even knowing it.

Thank you Lord for this young man. May you continue to use him as a blessing to our Youth Group and encourage him. Amen.

An interview with Brian McClaren

This is an interview of Brian McClaren by the Criswell Theological Review about the emerging church. A very good but long read. If you have time, check it out. Enjoy!,2%20InterviewwithBrianMcLaren(Streett).PDF

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm done for now

It is very difficult for me to do this but I have had to make this decision. The last I spoke about my friend was just the other day when he was served a protection order and told not to contact his girlfriend by phone or in person and to not come back to her house until the order is lifted. Which would happen when he gets help with his drinking problem and stays sober. The police officers took him to a place to get help and my friend walked in through the front door and right out the backdoor. I guess he slept on the streets that night and called his girlfriend in the morning.

You probably know what's coming next and you are more than likely correct. She went and picked him up. This is such a dysfunctional situation and she is in her "rescue, codependent and enabling" mode now. I had to inform them that I am stepping away from this situation entirely and will continue to pray for healing for both him and her. I will speak with them again and help any way I can only when he is not drinking and has been in a program and been sober for 60 days.

Please pray for them when the Spirit leads. I hope and pray that I will be talking to them in the near future.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The kingdom Jesus came to establish is “not from this world” (John 18:36), for it operates differently than the governments of the world do. While all the versions of the kingdom of the world acquire and exercise power over others, the kingdom of God, incarnated and modeled in the person of Jesus Christ, advances only by exercising power under others. It expands by manifesting the power of self-sacrificial, Calvary-like love.

To put it differently, the governments of the world seek to establish, protect, and advance their ideals and agendas. It’s in the fallen nature of all those governments to want to “win.” By contrast, the kingdom Jesus established and modeled with his life, death, and resurrection doesn’t seek to “win” by any criteria the world would use. Rather, it seeks to be faithful. It demonstrates the reign of God by manifesting the sacrificial character of God, and in the process, it reveals the most beautiful, dynamic, and transformative power in the universe. It testifies that this power alone — the power to transform people from the inside out by coming under them — holds the hope of the world. Everything the church is about, I argue, hangs on preserving the radical uniqueness of this kingdom in contrast to the kingdom of the world.

the rest of the article here

For some evangelicals, the kingdom of God is largely about, if not centered on, “taking America back for God,” voting for the Christian candidate, outlawing abortion, outlawing gay marriage, winning the culture war, defending political freedom at home and abroad, keeping the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, fighting for prayer in the public schools and at public events, and fighting to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings.

I believe that this perspective is misguided, that fusing together the kingdom of God with this or any other version of the kingdom of the world is idolatrous and that this fusion is having serious negative consequences for Christ’s church and for the advancement of God’s kingdom.

I do not argue that those political positions are either wrong or right. Nor do I argue that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. While people whose faith has been politicized may well interpret me along such lines, I assure you that this is not what I’m saying. The issue is far more fundamental than how we should vote or participate in government. Rather, I want to challenge the assumption that finding the right political path has anything to do with advancing the kingdom of God.

read the entire article here

P.O.D. in concert at the Marquee Theater

Join us for a night of Christian Hardcore Music. So far it is Dr. Howard and I going. Join us if you can. Warning to those who have never been to a hardcore show before...You will sweat, you will need ear plugs if loud music bothers you, and you will get bumped and shoved around a bit if we choose to head to the front of the stage. Join us if you will.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The saga of my friend has not ended, but may be heading in a better direction now. He apparently was kicked out of the detox unit because he snuck out for a drink. Then he ended up at Mesa General Hospital and walked out of there. As my wife and I were eating dinner this evening, the phone rang and it was his girlfriend calling me. She had arrived home and he was at her house waiting for her. He had been told not to come back. She called the police and asked if I would come over. So I did. One of the officers was very familiar with my friend and had dealt with him in the past. He was served with an order of protection and told not to come back to the property or he would be arrested. He was very intoxicated and agitated but in my heart I think that maybe he has finally hit his rock bottom. The police officers asked him if he was feeling suicidal and he said he was so they finally took him away to a place where he can get evaluated. He is very good at "playing the game" with the shrinks. I was good at it too when I was deep into my own addiction.

At this point he really has nowhere else to go so I am hoping and praying that he will stay in a rehab place and get sober for good and receive the help that he needs. If he does come back to his girlfriends house, he will be arrested and was advised so by the officers. I had a brief chat with him before they took him away and prayed with him. It was nice sitting in the back of a patrol car for a change and not be the person going away in it. It did bring back some bad memories, but I am blessed in that the Lord brought me through all of it and molded me into the person I am today. I pray that my friend can come to a relationship with the Lord and that he can turn his life around as I did. With God, all things are possible.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Just as i finished my last post my friend's girlfriend said she had dialed 911 so I went right back over to find 3 Gilbert police cars, an ambulance and 2 firetrucks. They have taken him to Maricopa County Medical Center where I presume he will be held in the psych ward for 72 hours. Just continue to pray. He was in very bad shape.

The sickness that is addiction

I just got back from my friends place after spending a wonderful lunch with my wife.

I arrived and his girlfriend answered the door. She said he was passed out upstairs on the bed. What I saw and smelled when i walked up there was very sad and very sickening. He was passed out cold and had messed himself (urine and feces). I tried to wake him up. Nothing, absolutely no response at all. I did determine that he was breathing and did have a pulse. I then recommended to his girlfriend to call the ambulance to come and get him. That is all I know now. I left because there is really nothing more I can do at this point except to pray for him. Please agree with me in prayer for his healing and for this demon spirit of addiction to leave my friends body. Amen.

Shannon and Zac, Prom 2006

Shannon and Zac, Prom 2006

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Back Home Again!

I got back home tonight after a very tiring roadtrip for work. I had major problems with one of the rain guages at El Centro California. Wasn't really a major problem, if the batteries that I ordered were any good. I won't go off on a rant about the government at this point. I happen to work for them, but I don't really have to agree with the way they run things.

So I was done with all of my inspections and spent both nights in Yuma. I decided to run back out to El Centro again to check on things. Well I was headed back home on Interstate 8 and was in the area of the Imperial Sand Dunes. I'm driving 75 mph in my government truck, a Ford F350 with a Storage shed on the bed when my left front tire literally EXPLODES! Luckily there was no traffic around me because the vehicle immediately jerked to the left while my heart missed about 2 beats. I thought I was heading into the median and into the westbound lanes of I-8. But I did not panic. I did all the right things. I didn't step on the brake or jerk the steering wheel. I let up off the gas pedal, gripped the steering wheel tight and the truck started slowing down and I was able to guide it to the shoulder of the highway with chunks of rubber (the tread) flying everywhere. Now came the dilemma. It was on the drivers side which meant that if I were to change it there would be semi's and automobiles flying by me at 75 to 80 mph. I was not comfortable with that, so I called GSA to get help, however, this being a governmant agency, I could not get through to a real live person and all the representatives were "busy". For 30 minutes, and STILL no live person. I then gave up and used my own personal AAA card and within another hour I was fixed and on the road again.

Then came the real fun. I ended up at a Discount Tire Store in Yuma and tried to get a new tire. I did not want to drive all the way into Phoenix without a spare. Well after I finally found a tire and they were ready to put it on, GSA informs me that Discount Tire is not an authorized vendor. They told me to find a Goodyear Tire center. I was a bit miffed at this point and just left and drove back home without a spare.

Anyhow, not the most pleasant of endings on an otherwise okay trip. But I survived and God protected me during the blowout.

My friend is not doing so well. i am going to visit him tomorrow. He has been drinking continuosly since the last time I wrote about him. Keep praying for this guy. Thanks!

Monday, April 17, 2006

I just got back from seeing my friend. When I went over and rang the doorbell his girlfriend said he had left a bit earlier on his bike and guessed that it was to go out to get some more booze. She invited me in and I sat and waited for him to come back. I didn't have to wait too long, because about 5 minutes after I arrived he came back. His girlfriend guessed right. As a matter of fact it was kind of strange watching him become more and more intoxicated as I was talking to him. Apparently he goes out, gets it, and chugs it before he comes back to the house. He was talking okay at first when he came home, but as we sat out on the porch, the alcohol started taking effect on him and he started slurring his words. I talked to him for awhile and then his girlfriend came out and they started arguing with each other. She is another story in itself. she is a "classic" case of a codependent and enabler. He blames her for his drinking which is wrong. She tries to "take care of him" which is wrong.

I ended up kind of pissed off when I left and told him to call me when he sobered up. He started talking smack to me at one point and he was getting agitated, so the best thing for me to do at that point was to leave before it got physical. So here I am now. Back at home. He may not even remember I was there. Lord, i ask You right now, to heal my friend. take away this desire he has to slowly kill himself. I pray for his girlfriend too Lord. That you would comfort her and give her the wisdom in what she needs to do in this situation. Thank You for allowing me to be a friend to this guy. Give me peace and wisdom Lord.

So how was everyone's Easter Sunday? I do believe that it was the first Easter in a very long time that I did not go to church. But Patty and I actually did something important and that was go out to eat with her sister and her husband. It was very good fellowship and after that I got to go to work at 1 pm. So all in all it was a good day.

I am off today and head out on the I-8 portion of my roadtrip for work tomorrow. It will take me West into El Centro California and back and some points North and South of I-8. I'll leave tomorrow morning and come back to the office Thursday afternoon.

Easter Sunday was not so good for my friend. I have talked to him every single day, several times a day. I spoke with him yesterday right before I went to work and he seemed okay. I received a call this morning from his girlfriend. It was bad news. They cooked a rotisserie chicken on the grill yesterday that he was in charge of cooking. While it was cooking, he stepped out to get a bottle of booze and proceeded to drink himself into oblivion. The chicken on the rotisserie turned into a burnt crisp and was ruined. I am letting him sleep it off a bit right now and will head over there to see him. Hopefully he'll be able to get on the right track again. I'm just afraid that he will need to go through the withdrawal process all over again which is pretty miserable. But he did it to himself. pray that he gets through it okay. I'm still going to be his friend, but he needs to get off this stuff or he will die. I don't really know how much he drank, nor does his girlfriend. But my guess is that it was a fifth or more because she said she could not wake him at all and he was incoherent when he came back to the house. addiction is a vicious cycle that only gets worse every time you slip back into it. Sobriety has to be a way of life for an addict to stay well. She also said he has been mixing it with pills which is even more dangerous. Lord, heal my friend. Cast the demons of addiction from his body right now. Let him seek You when the temptation to drink or use comes upon him. Give him peace, grace and mercy Lord.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Newest attraction at Episcopal service: U2

Friday, April 14, 2006

This article really moved me. It is about loving messy people, just like Christ would.

Poverty-The Relationship Factor

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bits of Life

Measured in Love

Shannon has a dance recital this evening and I have to be at work. Bah humbug! Anyhow, my parents are driving up from Tucson and Patty and them are going out to eat, then going to the school for the dance routine. I think Patty's sister is going too so Shannon will be well represented.

My friend is still sober and has made work each time he was supposed to be there. I talk with him daily at different times. He seems to be doing well so far. Please keep praying for him though. He is off today and tomorrow and that is when I worry about him the most. It is not good to be idle when you're trying to stay sober. Pray that he finds something to keep busy so that his mind doesn't wander. Pray for the Lord's peace and comfort when he is being tempted or when his mind starts to think about using again. Also, he is very depressed at times. Pray that the Lord will lift the depression from him and that he would turn to prayer and seek the Lord when he is struggling.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The new addition to the family!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

So after church today I came home for a bit to check on the dogs. Patty was still at church helping with the rootbeer float fund raiser. There was a message on my answering machine from my friend. I had invited him to church but he said he slept in. Anyhow, I called him back right when I got home and he asked if he could come over for a bit. I said sure, or that I could go to his house. He said he would ride his bike over.

He came right over, and I have to be honest, the last time I saw him he was coming off of that bender and he looked really bad. well today he looked much better and the shakes had toned way down and his face and eyes looked much improved. He had talked to his ex-wife earlier while I was at church and they had a not so nice conversation from what he told me. He was just needing someone to talk to as he felt like heading out and getting ripped. I told him that he did the right thing by calling me. It is good that he is able to recognize the triggers that set him off.

We spent about an hour in my house just shooting the breeze and sharing with each other. I learned a lot more about him just through our conversation. I asked him if I could pray with him and he said sure. I told him that prayer is a powerful thing. He says he does read his bible and prays. He has a Catholic background, but hey who cares? God is God. He doesn't care if you're Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, or whatever. As long as you have a relationship with Him, that is what matters.

I am so glad the Lord has brought me into this guys life. He really is a nice guy when he's sober. He has not had a drink in 8 days and that is great. If he continues to abstain, it will get easier for him. I remember trying to convince myself that I could drink and control it. However, it never worked for me. Every time I tried to drink, it turned into another bender and they were usually worse than the binge before.

He has lost most of his friends and family due to his drinking. I have the opportunity now to be his friend. I have a chance to bring the Kingdom to him and show him Christ's love.

Another very cool thing that happened today was with Patty. She was talking to Bonnie at church this morning. Bonnie is such a sweet lady. She is Pastor Mark's wife and works in Hospice. She knows about Patty's mom's situation and Patty was telling her that she was struggling with whether or not to go on this Ireland Mission trip. Bonnie told her to go ahead and ask her mom what she thought, so she did. Her mom told her that she wanted her to go to Ireland. Patty took that as a confirmation and now feels better about going. Should her mom pass while she was in Ireland, she would just have to come back. Her and Shannon are planning to go see her right when school is out for a visit.

We are also thinking and praying about moving out to Higley near where the Amadeo Church plant will be. We're going to talk to Ben who has his Realtor's License now and he should be able to hook us up with a deal. We're going on the church plant regardless, but it really would be very cool and appropriate I think to live in the community you're trying to minister to. Plus, we'd be much closer to Ben and Mandy and would be able to get together more often.

Godspeed to all of you. Peace Out!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Encouraging Words

Scripture encourages us to be strategic in the use of our words. When we speak, let's make our words count for something! Let's use words that build and encourage.

Ephesians 4:29
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Well I had a very good trip and had no problems whatsoever. All of the equipment was functioning properly and I had no repairs to make. I like this trip the best because it takes me up through Parker along the River and the scenery is awesome.

I actually arrived back at the office yesterday at noon so I had some time to prepare for the meeting between the bargaining unit and management. The meeting actually went very well and everyone held their temper in check. We finally walked out with an agreement which was the goal of the meeting. We had been at an impasse for awhile now and this needed to get done. One thing that did happen during the meeting was that management admitted something that I think the bargaining unit wanted to hear and that was a good thing as far as I'm concerned as the union steward and in my mind that was the straw that broke tha camels back so to speak. After that happened the negotiations went smoothly. So after a 2 and a half hour meeting, we walked out happy for the most part. I think both sides compromised a little bit and that is what it took. I kind of enjoy the challenge of being the steward, but at times it can be a pain, because when there are problems going on, the steward is the one that hears about it. It has drawn me into the reality of what management goes through too. Well enough about work.

I did talk to my friend on a daily basis while I was on the road and I am very happy to report that he has NOT had a drink. He sounded great the times that I talked to him and his girlfriend said so far he has done okay. He has even been going to work. I am trying to get him to go to church with us on Sunday. I invited him, but don't want to be pushy. He seems open to the idea, but I'll leave it up to him and continue to be his friend.

Big night tonight for Shannon. It is Prom night. This is her first Prom and she has been preparing for it all week. She has a beautiful dress, had her nails done, and will be getting her hair done at 430 this afternoon. We will definitely take pictures when Zac comes to get her and I will post them on my blog. They are actually doubling up with another couple from school.

Tomorrow is training for my trip to Camp Barnabas. I look forward to that. And I love Sunday anyhow as I get to see folks that I haven't seen all week and I really love my Vineyard family.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I am happy to report that my friend has not had a drink since bailing from St. Lukes late Saturday night. He had a very rough day yesterday and was doing better today. He is such a different person and overall nice guy when he's sober. He actually called me a few times today seeking me out instead of me checking up on him which is a good sign actually.

He is supposed to go to work tomorrow (yes he still has a job so far) and it looks like he's gonna make it. Just continue to pray for him. Prayer is a powerful thing and our God answers prayers. He even heals today, as I am a walking, living testimony to that fact.

Patty's mom had that procedure done today and it went well I was told. Although the cancer is terminal, we're continuing to pray for a miracle for her and for her to come to Christ.

Tomorrow is the last home game for our local minor league hockey team, the Phoenix Roadrunners. Patty, her sister and myself are going. Nothing like minor league hockey in my opinion. Guys that play their hearts out for the love of the game, not the money. And families can actually afford to go watch them. Imagine that!

Wednesday morning I will be heading out of town on a 3 day work trip. I'll be back Friday afternoon and will walk right into a negotiation meeting between the union and management. I am the Union Steward in our office and I'm a little worried about this meeting because emotions are high, and the potential for fireworks is there. Please pray for me for wisdom and for the meeting to go well. Guess I won't be blogging at all until late Friday. Catch ya'll then.

Blessings on all of you!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I write this with a heavy heart. The guy I have been writing about this past week left the hospital last night at around 11:30 pm and the girlfriend allowed him back into the house. The entire situation is absolutely dysfunctional. He comes back, swears he'll never do it again, she allows him back into the house, and then the cycle repeats itself over and over and over again. I recommended to her that she not allow him back into the house until he has been sober at least 6 months and is trying to stay that way.

I know myself, from past experience, that he will not stay sober unless he WANTS to. I played the game a long time and knew exactly what to say to the head doctors what they wanted to hear, and I was good at it. Addicts always are. You lie, you cheat, you steal, you do anything just to stay high or drunk. You lose your family, your friends, your job, and in a lot of cases your life. Maybe my new messy friend has not hit his absolute rock bottom yet. I don't know. He's awfully close though.

I will continue to be his friend, and I will continue to encourage him, pray for him and offer any advice he may want. He has to accept that advice and go with it. He cannot ever take another drink if he is to beat this demon.

Lord, I ask that you speak to my friend right now this very moment. That you would allow him the will to stay away from that booze that makes him a totally different person. Everyone has filters in their lives. For addicts, it's their alcohol filter or their drug filter. For us, these filters are broken. They don't work and we can never drink or use again. I pray my friend will seek you and that You will heal his mind, heal his body, take charge of his life Lord. Continue to give me the words to say to him. Lord, to be quite honest with you, I was pissed this morning when I found out he left the hospital. Forgive me Lord. Allow me to bring Your kingdom to my new friend. Keep me from feeling frustrated with this situation Lord. Thank You for all you have done in my life Father. Use me to reach out to the hurting, especially to my friend, who needs Your presence right now.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Good news, after a pretty rough morning. I did get a good nights sleep last night and was able to get a full 8 hours in. My lovely wife got up with the new puppy this morning and let me catch up on some much needed rest. Thank you sweetie!

Well as I stated last night, my friend was in pretty bad shape. I received a call from his girlfriend this morning around 1045 while I was lounging on the couch. I actually had not even shaved or showered yet and had to be to work by 1 pm. She said he was threatening suicide and was very intoxicated. So I went right over there and calmed him. He was on the phone with some mental health people and I asked him to hand me the phone. I explained who I was and that he needed help now. He could not be alone in the condition he is in. They referred me to either Maricopa County Hospital or St Lukes in Phoenix. I have been in both facilities in the past. I then instructed his girlfriend to immediately drive him to St Lukes and have him admitted to the detox and behavioural health unit. He could not walk very well, let alone stand on his own, but we managed to get him in the back seat of her Suburban. I could not go as I had to get to work which is where I am at now.

I did receive a call from the girlfriend and he is now in St Lukes detox unit. So the praying is working folks. Keep praying. I plan on visiting him sometime either tomorrow or Monday. My guess is, based on the condition he is in that he will need a week to detox. I am going to try and get involved with his treatment counselors at St Lukes to get him into an aftercare program when he is ready to be discharged from the detox unit.

The problem with the aftercare is that it is strictly voluntary. He can walk out at anytime which is what he has done in the past. Pray that he will want to get well and to stay in an aftercare program. I've been in his shoes before and it is an endless cycle. I would go right out of detox, try the aftercare, get thirsty and then go get a bottle to drown my sorrows. So he needs to want to get well, and I will be there to encourage that and to pray for him. I had the priveledge to pray for him and his girlfriend right before we loaded him into the back of the Suburban. Right now he is being cared for well I am sure. It's the aftercare I am concerned about now. I will pray and I ask you all to pray for him and for wisdom for me in trying to get this man some help. Thanks again prayer warriors. You're all awesome and you know who you are.