Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jeff's Birthday

Wow this kid loves anything! Today is Jeff's birthday and Sara had his gifts laying out on the table so when he got up there they were. You would have thought we had given him the whole world when he saw the gifts. We got him several books about cars, two posters, a door hanger that holds his Hot Wheels, Nike shoes and Nike sox's (he really loves Nike), some walkie talkies and a little MP3 player (have not figured out why he wanted that).

The Walkie Talkie's and MP3 player are sitting on the table but the cars books are the big hit. for the last hour and a half he has been sitting on the couch looking at this car's books.

He has told us thank you about a dozen times. What is sad is that this is probably the most stuff he has ever gotten for a birthday. In fact, Anne and he visited their mom yesterday and when they came home I expected to see him with some type of toy or toys. He walked in with a card and a little stuffed animal. The card came from his mom but the little stuffed toy came form the center where they visit. So all he got was a card. It really broke my heart because I wondered if he had ever gotten anything else from them other than a card.

Anyway, I know he had a great birthday and several adults from church have been amazing about wanting to get him stuff for his birthday. One of our elders and his wife got him a Gift Pack of Hot Wheels (10 cars). He was bouncing around the building with the wraped present in his hand and then we finally told him he could open it and his face lit up like a beacon. I think he thanked them over and over and even that night at church he yelled back to them how much he loved his present and thanked them again. You just got to love this boy.

Back Home!

Well I have been home from ICYC for several days now and I'm still tired. It was a great week and I always enjoy catching up with old friends. Of course Lori Beth and I had the greatest sports team there with a strong record of 0 and 8. I am not a very competative person and could care less about winning (Sorry Lori) but instead I would rather see the kids have a great time and just enjoy theirself. I believe our kids had the most fun. Unlike some of the kids that I saw playing who were being yelled at by their team captians. I mean come on, some of the guys at camp take sports way to serious and get carried away with it a little to much. There were a couple of times that I thought kids were about to get killed by the way they were yelling. I honestly believe some of them need to take a chill pill, relax and realize it is just a game and have fun and do not be so concerned with winning.

In fact, our team was down to our last game (vollyball) and both teams had won one game each and we were about to play the tie breaking game (a game to 5 points). I gathered my team and ask them if they really wanted to win and have a record of 1 and 7 or go for the perfect record of 0 and 8. Believe it or not they were all excited to just go ahead and throw the game and keep the perfect record. Now there are some kids who were just there having fun and I so glad chose to do that.

The other great thing was getting to catch up with some old friends. Some of the kids their I remember from when they where just babies so that made me feel old. I got to see Chad and Teale (and Mojo - lol). Of course I cannot forget about Crystal and Nathan too. It is always great to have time to catch up with those you love.
Now let me tell you how happy I am to be home with my family. I missed my wife so very much and hate being away from her. I really missed the kids too. They are so a joy to my life and love to be around them. My wife is so amazing. She took care of these kids, kept the house clean (mainly cause i was not here to mess it up) and worked several days (with the kids at work with her). She is Superwoman! I am really lucky to have so a wonderful woman.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Journey

OK it is 1:30 AM! Ever since I have gotten back from Portland, Oregon I just have not been tired until about 2 AM. I was reading every one's latest blogs and they all just made me really think about a great deal of things. Plus I tend to get more philosophical and think about things more this late at night.

I have been thinking a lot here recently about this journey of life. Seriously, what are we all doing here? I have to admit I love this world and probably love the things about it to much at times. Am I really doing the will of God in my life? The teachings of the New Testament are very clear about our relationship with the world (Romans 12:1-2; James 4:4; I John 2:15-17 - just a few). I know we cannot just crawl in a hole and leave the world completely, there is a medium where we can live in this world but give our entire life to God. The problem I see and struggle with myself is the world is like a black hole, it just keeps sucking you in until something happens and you realize your mistake and struggle to crawl out. I know God does not give us any temptation that we can not handle and even provides a way of escape. I believe that escape to be Christ. But have you ever gotten to that point where you just wonder why? Yet, you push forward only to find a glimmer of light ahead.

OK so I'm just rambling but sometimes I get so crazy thinking about all those people who are lost and what have I done to try to save them. Some might say, "God does not expect us to talk to every single person we meet." However, is not this what the disciples and apostles did in the first century. Do we really even care about the people we see everyday who are going to hell?? Why does it not hit us in the gut and cause of to groan and put forth a stronger effort? Hey I'll be the first to admit that I do not like going up to strangers and talking about God. Why? Very simply put - FEAR and yet a part of me is torn between caring and not caring.

Then there are our personnel demons we all struggle with everyday. As my wife's blog is titled, "Mad World." It comes from the song off Donnie Darko (never heard of the movie), just like the song. We do live in a mad world and man can it reek havoc on our spiritual lives. In the five years I have been at Munford, I have seen more families leave the church than I can count on my hands and feet (that would include all the area Church's not just Munford). We question why they would do such a thing, especially if they know the truth. Yet, until we walk in their shows can we really understand their thinking. I know, I have wanted to throw my hands in the air and say I'm done. How much can you take of fake Christians? I mean when people walk around calling themselves Christians and yet they cannot even make it to all the services (understanding there are situations that may keep us every now and then). Even those who come all the time and fill the pew yet, try to get them to do something and it is like you just ask them to jump off a cliff! I am sorry but I sometimes question why do we continue to do it? Oh, I know the answer and it is the reason I am still here.

I started this talking about a journey-the journey of life. Everyday for a Christian is a journey because we never really know what the day holds for our spiritual life. If you are a Christian where has your journey taken you? Have you grown from your journeys or are you still the same as the day you were baptized? Unfortunately, I should be more spiritually mature than what I am, because I know I do not put the effort into my spiritual life that I should. I am not exactly sure why I wrote this blog other than I guess to vent, confess or simple just because...! I would be interested in knowing what some of you think. While I have given a negative impression, do not be mistaken, I firmly believe that we must remain faithful to the Lord and serve him all the days of our life. It is just the living part that can be hard.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Surgery is over! Yeah

Ok so Anne and Jeff have both come out of surgery and are doing great. I am so glad this is finally done and over. Mom is still here and Sara and I are about ready to throw her out the window! NO REALLY! These little guys are tough. Anne had one pulled, six teeth capped and three fillings. Jeff had eight teeth pulled, three capped and six fillings. No I do not know many adults who would enjoy having this done.

I have been around a lot of children when they come out of surgery and boy sometimes it can be a big ordeal because they are so shocked and afraid. Anne was a trouper even when they took the iv out. I on the hand did not take it very well. In fact, I got a little sick to my stomach just knowing they were doing it. Hey when it comes to needles and that stuff I'm a wimp to the core. Blood makes me pass out. Better yet just the thought of blood makes me get weak in the knees.

I am so proud of them and am excited when they get home and are able to experience what a normal mouth feels like.

Please keep them in your prayers.

The Game

Ok this one is for Justin Key! Thanks I just lost the game!

Many of you who read this know Justin Key and last summer at camp i had the honor of staying in the same cabin as him. He told me about this game that he or someone had came up with and honestly has to be the dumbest game I have ever heard of and here is how it goes.

The object of the entire game is to not think of the game. If you think of the game you lose and have 30 minutes before you can start to play again. When you lose you must let someone else know that you lost the game. They cannot lose when you tell them because they will immediatly think about the game and they are given a 15 minute grace period.

While setting in the hospital room I thought of the game and lost. I have to say that every now and then I lose the game because I think about camp and it reminds me of this really silly game. You are more than welcome to join the game but before warned you will lose!

Just a few more days

Ok can I just tell you how excited I am because in just a few more days we will be leaving for Portland, OR. While it may be a couple thousand miles away I really miss living there. I know that lifestyles can be very different there and life in general is really different there is just something about it that i love.

I want to eventually move back there, do not know when but at some point. I doubt when I do it will be to preach full time. I will probably work with my father-in-law at the congregation for which he preaches.

Not sure if Sara has already blogged about this but we are going to host a VBS for Sara's dad's congregation. I am looking forward to it and am praying for it to be a success. Please pray for us in our tavels and for the success of the VBS.

Loving Others - tougher than it seems!

Jesus was very clear that we are to love God first and second to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:37-39). In addition, Jesus also told us that we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). I have always been able to teach that this is the attitude we are to take toward our neighbors and enemies. However, living it has been much harder for me especially today. As Sara has already blogged about, we are in a hospital room waiting on Anne and Jeff to go into surgery. It would be all fine but their mother is here. Ok let me paint the picture for you. (I think Sara has already talked about some of this) She is only in her mid to late 40's but she looks like she is in her late 60's early 70's. She could be a poster child with the caption "This is what drugs can do to you." She treats this children like they are helpless and babies them as if they are infants.
It is hard for me to find it within me to love this woman. When I stop to think of what she has done to these children it lights a fire within my soul that I want to hate her so bad. I believe in forgiveness when it is asked for (go to http://oabs.org/Archives/Lectures/msop2008.htm and listen to the lesson by Dan Winkler on "The Heart that Shows Mercy"). She thinks she has done nothing wrong but DCS and the state have been on her case since 2004 and yet there is no fault on her side (in her eyes). I believe there will be a special place in hell for those who abuse their children (no matter what type of neglect). I know she will have her day when she stands before God.
I experienced the same feeling when we had Alyssa (4yrs old) and her parents had sexually abuse her (do not get me started on what should happen to those people). There is a part of me that wish bad things on her and then I have to remind myself that she has a soul that is precious to God. I have discovered that preaching is easy but the living part is so much harder. There is a part of me that does wish she would change, clean up her life and get right with God but reality tells me that there is a 99% chance she will never do it. I guess because I see her making no change that it makes me want to hate her.

If I have learned any greater lesson from being a foster parent is that it is easy to say we should love our enemies but it is something completely different to actually live in a world and love your enemies. May God help us all to live what we teach and preach.