Juice Box Christian

I’ll have to be perfectly honest, and say that the premise for my blog this morning wasn’t original.  I came across an absolutely hilarious video, that speaks an absolutely scary truth about our church culture.  (I’m even going to try to link it, but since I’ll probably botch that the video title is the same as my blog post, and it is done by Shift Worship… it can be Googled, like everything else in the known universe).

Here’s my attempt at the video link:

 

We’ll see what happens.  Now, the whole point of the juice box deal is not to comment on wine vs. grape juice for Communion, or to try to run Hi-C out of business.  It is about spiritual growth.  The whole premise of a 20-something staying in his 1st grade Sunday School class is absurd!  But don’t we do that when we resist things that will push us to grow?  This is true of any aspect of life, but Paul talks about it as he is discouraged by believers (that have been believers for a while) content on baby milk instead of progressing.  Although it’s not quite the same as milk, I drank an ounce of formula on a dare once and it was nasty… like liquid chalk.  Yet these believers were OK with that.  Yuck!

Check out 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and see if it hits home.  If it does, then try to tear down whatever wall is keeping you from growing in your walk with the Lord.  It could be a Bible-reading thing where you don’t read because of ___________ or that you can’t be a part of worship because the music is too ______________.  Or it could be some other excuse that is totally silly.  Change it and grow!

Until next time!

The Yellow Jacket of Distraction

I was at a stoplight today and a yellow jacket landed on the driver’s side mirror.  Before you panic, I had the window rolled up… and I’m not allergic, although I don’t like to be stung by those little things.  He wouldn’t fly away, and right as the light changed, he crawled from the top of the mirror to the back- shielded from the wind that would knock him off.

I thought nasty thoughts about him.  I used my Jedi mind control powers on him saying, “This is not the car you’re looking for.”  I thought about rigging a MacGuyver-esque contraption to crack the window and shoo him off.  I looked over every 1.3 seconds to see if he’d lost interest or gotten motion sickness and fallen off.  In essence, I did just about everything except pay attention to driving my car.

I know my life is like this sometimes almost all the time.  I have one little thing that gets me sidetracked and I take my eyes off the things that are really important.  Is this how God wants us to live our lives?  I don’t think so.  I think He wants us to be clearheaded and not prone to worrying about little things.  Jesus uses these kinds of words about worrying- “These things (worries) dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you what you need.” (Matthew 6:32-33 NLT)

Ouch.  I was so worried about that little yellow jacket that I’m not even allergic to…with my window rolled up, that I forgot to focus on a pretty major thing.  Like driving.  I became one of the crazies that I always fuss about on US 220.  Another topic for another time.

But really, we worry all the time and get so distracted by things that don’t matter.  As the writer of Hebrews states it in 12:1-2, we can run the race (a Christian life and walk with the Lord) not because of unneeded things, but because we keep our eyes on Christ.  We let Him matter more than the distractions.

So, to finish things up.  I got into the church parking lot, yellow jacket still hanging on for dear life.  I focused on parking the car and, you probably guessed it: the yellow jacket flew away.

Until next time!

Yardwork and Spiritual Battles

OK, I admit.  I don’t have much time to do a lot of work in my yard.  I have about 8 blades of actual grass, and the rest of the .75 acres that I mow are weeds.  When it is really short it can give an illusion of looking nice, but maybe that’s another devotional thought altogether!  I am actually thinking of my backyard which part of my property is forest.  It’s not a large portion, .05 acres, but it is dense and takes a lot of time to control.  I’ve found that if I don’t actively control it and try to push it back some, it will creep into my yard and take it over.  If I had some awesome power tools, it would be one thing.  Alas, I have a machete.  One little blade against a rainforest.  Well, maybe a little hyperbole, but you get my drift.

Where’s the spiritual analogy?  I was reading today in Acts 6 and the part after the beginning of the deacons caught my attention.  The Apostle Stephen was proclaiming God’s Word and the gospel.  Obviously, there was some opposition.  It came from a group called the “Synagogue of the Freedmen”.  I found out that this group was comprised of former slaves (good) from areas heavily influenced by Hellenism (bad).

Hellenism could easily correspond to our secularization of society today.  In a nutshell, the two cultures are very “go with the flow” and “do what you want” in nature.  This mentality and worldview encroaches on the Christian worldview in much the same way as my backyard forest does to the rest of my lawn.  It tries to take over.  We read in Acts 6 that the Freedmen couldn’t out-do Stephen in his arguments, so they took the low road.  They started to spread lies, twisted truths, get the officials involved, and make a mess of the whole thing.

Isn’t that what those who are opposed to the faith do today?  Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t Christians who add fuel to the fire… but the secular worldview is that Christianity is just plain wrong, just because.  They can’t provide real evidence against it, so they try to twist it to their advantage.  The truth of God’s Word and the message of the cross is worth standing firm against the trickery of the world.  Even if you’re just armed with a little machete, you can help keep the forest at bay.

Until next time!

Cat On My Lap

Cat on my lap,
Purring away-
This is how I could spend a day.

He could too,
I’m sure.
Since a lap’s the perfect lure.

It won’t last, though
The calm won’t have won.
I’ll have to go and get things done…

In a minute, though,
No need to hurry.
Getting up, making cat scurry.

All in due time, yes,
It can wait.
It’s not that I procrastinate.

No, the answer is simple.
It’s really quite clear-
When a cat’s resting he wants you near!

(OK, still very nervous about posting any of my writing- even light fare such as this! Until next time.)

Getting (Re)started

OK, it’s been a while.  No, that’s not accurate… it’s been an eternity, a blog-ternity, since I last posted anything here!  (Sigh)  I have to get in the practice of keeping up with this thing, and I promise two things:  I will do it, and I will still let the blogging community down from time to time.  OK, I said it… hand has been slapped.  Now for a short devotional thought on doing some Bible reading.

Last year (you know, the one in which I didn’t even blog?), I endeavored to read through the Bible.  I’d never done this before, and thought it was a worthwhile thing to do.  I found out some things about “read thru the Bible in a year” plans… they mean well in trying to get us to read Scripture, but the focus for many people, myself included, becomes “check the box” rather than spiritual growth.  One instance was a day in which I had to read something like 6 or 7 chapters of Isaiah.  I got to Isaiah 58, and went back and re-read it.  Then I read it a third time.  The next day, I started, not with chapter 59, but with 58 again.  It was hitting me squarely between the eyes, which is the effect God intends for us to have- not just reading to say we’ve read it.

I can read any number of works of fiction, poetry, biographies, political essays, or whatever to just say I’ve read them.  The Bible, which God has given to us as His holy Word to grow our walk with Him, shouldn’t be the same as a Harry Potter book, or a book on Abraham Lincoln.  Even books by our favorite Christian authors shouldn’t replace reading the Bible!

I’m trying different approaches on reading now.  One thing I’ve done is to take one chapter or Psalm and read that one several times a day.  It’s helped it sink in a bit.  Another thing I’ve done, to sharpen up the Spanish also, has been, starting in Genesis, to read a chapter of the NLT and then read the corresponding Spanish NTV.  There’s been a day or two, where reading the Spanish (which takes more time and makes me more deliberate) has produced an “Aha!” moment.

So, what are some of your approaches?

Until next time… (which won’t be a year!)

Serving For A Conviction

This is going to be a controversial post.  (Ooh, I can just feel the traffic coming to my blog- Bwaa Haa Haaaaa!)  No, I’m going to unveil the spiritual content now, give my little illustration, then get back into the application.  It’s different than most of my posts, so my readership will have to get out of the routine.  This won’t be too earth-shattering, since it’s like, one person!  I’m going to talk about how the Holy Spirit has the power to convict us of things and how we respond- even when it’s an unpopular thing to do or when it’s one of those, “Well, I guess it’s not ALL bad, but not ALL good,” kinds of things.  You know, the percieved gray areas?

OK, burning a CD without paying for it is against the law.  I’m not talking about you bought an album on iTunes so you make a CD copy for yourself.  I’m talking about, “Hey, so-and-so has the new Flibberty Giblets CD… I’m so going to burn that.”  It seems like no one, youth or adult agrees with me that this is stealing.  I didn’t think so either for a long time.  I had literally hundreds of burned jazz, classical, blues, rock, bluegrass and other CDs in my collection.  It wasn’t until I came across a forum for youth pastors where I first felt a little tug from the Holy Spirit telling me that burning CDs that I didn’t own and then calling them mine was… wrong.  If you don’t like it, then imagine what I was feeling at the time!  I, the youth pastor, had even burned a few Christian artists’ CDs.  I got rid of them, either through the trash or by deleting them from my iTunes.  It stunk at first, but then I realized I had done the right thing.  That was about three years ago.  I just did the same thing this week when I realized I’d let myself get complacent with it again.

So, it begs some of the following questions:  What is conviction?  What about things that are commonly accepted in the world around us?  How do I respond to conviction?  It is a tough thing to deal with.

I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul was addressing the food sacrificed to idols.  It, since the idols weren’t real, was just food.  But there were some people that could get spiritually tripped up by this and sin.  So, he tells us, that if we partake of it, we could cause them to sin.  I think of my conviction by the Holy Spirit (whom Jesus calls “Counselor” in John 14:26) as a way of letting me see that there are things that I need to avoid.  Maybe it’s to abstain from an appearance of wrongdoing.  Maybe it’s to let me see that I can trust in Him through trials- and dumping a lot of great music is a trial for me!  I don’t totally understand this topic, but have to be willing to let the Counselor counsel.

What are some ways that you have been under conviction and had to respond?

Until next time!

Shedding Light

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I should attempt to do with this blog.  Hopefully you’ve noticed some things have changed as you entered the site just now.  Yeah, that’s the whole “attempting to do” aspect!  I’ve called it “Dave’s Blog” for a while now.  While it may be true that it is my blog, I wanted to do something to make it something a little better than that.  I know, it was a lame title– I’m sensing that you are relieved because I came to this realization and you didn’t have to tell me!

When I started thinking about what I’ve been using the blog to do over the last several months, it became apparent to me that I needed to make it some tie in to the devotional quality I’ve aimed for.  The “light” of course is the light of Christ, who is the light of the world. (John 8:12)  But it’s also a play on words in that, hopefully, the posts are shedding some light.  See what I did there?  I also thought the graphic at the top of the page with the sunshine was snazzy as it was juxtaposed with the darkness below.  This is symbolic of our world walking around in the dark without Jesus.  I take no credit for the theme of the blog– I just found it and applied it.  But it’s cool, though.  Tell me it’s cool.  Or at least it’s better than the awe-inspiring “Dave’s Blog”!

I’m 100% on the devotionals being the focus of the blog.  They may or may not remain titled “Dave-otionals” as they have been.  I like the name because it’s pretty slick, but I want to make very sure that 0% of the glory is for me so I’m in prayer over that at the moment with that name.  I’m open to some suggestions, all of you loyal readers.  As far as other posts, I’m going to limit the content to that which points towards Christ.  My personal life is boring.  It definitely doesn’t merit entire blog posts.  I think Facebook and Twitter might be the better mediums for personal stuff.  I’ve still retained the links to those places, and the Twitter feed is still up on the blog.

Hope you enjoy the new look!  (And let me hear some feedback!)

Read the Fine Print

I ran across a website with some tips on blogging/writing the other day- www.jonacuff.com  He is the blogger of “Stuff Christians Like”, a very funny parody/satire of modern Christianity.  His tips were interesting, and I’ve been thinking about them and how to implement them into this blog.  One thought in particular was that there is an unwritten contract between the blogger and reader. 

To take it a little further (and paraphrased a bit) he mentions that in randomly blogging about whatever on whichever days, the blogger breaks the contract that the reader understands, which is “this is what I expect from your blog”.  If that’s the case, then I’m in for some major lawsuits!  I’ve been in a state of wondering lately about exactly what my blog should be.  I’ve noticed that I have my own little style of devotionals, quirky and weird sometimes, but still applicable for Scripture guiding our lives.  I am going to call them “Dave-otionals”.  Not to bring any focus towards myself, mind you.  I just think the name works.  If you can come up with a better one, I welcome your suggestions!  The next idea I have is the whole running/diabetes/dieting thing.  I am seeing in my life that I am becoming passionate about fighting this thing for real.  I really do need some help with a name for that one, though. 

I guess, then, here’s the official (but not legally binding in a court of law) contract for my blog:  I will post an aforementioned “Dave-otional” each week.  I will post an entry into the not-yet-named running/diabetes/dieting category each week as well.  If, by some chance, there is a random thing that just has to be shared it will be done… most likely by Twitter or Facebook, but it could be blogged.  Maybe.

So there it is.  Did you read the fine print?  Made sure that you knew what you were getting into?  I did… I think.  Better get cracking on the next post soon!

My Views

As you read this title, I’m sure you were thinking, “Oh, great… here comes another political viewpoint/ rant!”  Maybe you thought I was going to give a theological dissertation of some sort.  How silly of you- I haven’t even finished the master’s degree yet (and no plans for the doctorate, by the way).  No, the point of this post is quite simple: I am trying to learn how to upload pictures to the old blog.  So I figured I would make a few people jealous with some scenery from my running.  These are all taken from my phone, and the location is pretty much just on my street… not bad, huh?  I am a mountains geek, much more so than a beach lover.  These were taken (I think) in October, if it happens to look a bit unseasonal.  Hope you enjoy (and that it works- it would make this paragraph a whole lot better!)

 

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Until next time!

Slaying the Dragon

I’m trying to determine what my blog is, exactly.  I want to do something to make a difference. I’m trying to do that in some of my more devotional-ish posts.  My post today is different, but still meaningful to me, and I hope to someone else out there as well.  This post came to me as a result of fixing my breakfast of natural peanut butter and sugar free cherry preserves on bread.  Honest!

I’m sure someone else out there knows of this phenomenon, but I got the one knife that’s actually different than the others in the drawer and far surpasses them in quality… at least as much as any butter knife can do this.  It was early, pre-coffee, so without really thinking I used my movie-voice (you know, the one that’s whispery with imaginary reverb and echo, and done with a terrible English accent) and touted this blade as “Excalibur!!” 

Now that in itself is, quite honestly, pretty sad.  It also merits WordPress emailing me to inform me I’ve been stripped of all blogging privileges.  But it doesn’t end there… thank goodness!  I’m sure some of you who know me may know that I am a type 2 diabetic.  Yesterday, and for the past two weeks now, I’ve been on a mission.  After running away from the truth and letting my training, weight, and consequently my blood sugar get away from me, I have gotten back into running (a sport I enjoy even though I’m pretty slow) and I’m starting to really care about the things I eat.  I’ve seen the ugly beast that this disease of diabetes is.  I’ve seen what it has done to my dad and it scares me.  I’ve had to realize that this is not the road I want to go down.  I’ve seen what it can do to me, falling asleep behind the wheel after indulging on some sugary stuff… with my wife and kids in the car.  I’ve been making some changes. That brings us to this post. I ran yesterday. 2.5 miles.  It’s just a short run for most people but a long one at this stage in the game for myself.  During the run, I laughed at myself for the “Excalibur” incident, but then I realized something:

Diabetes (and the host of things that go along with it, are exacerbated by it, etc) is like a dragon that I’m trying to slay.  I can’t kill the whole beast at one time, especially not with a butter knife- even a good one.  It’s scales are thick and it’s skin is tough.  The diabetes dragon is a formidable and stubborn foe.  It will take all the determination, will-power, tenacity, support, and stubborness of my own to keep it at bay.  With each needle prick, I hope to subdue the dragon and keep it from breathing its deadly fire. 

This morning the dragon cried out for a change… my blood sugar was down!

Until next time!