Friday, January 27, 2012

Clothing and Binary Code

Who knits?  In a Walmart world where clothing can be cheap there are few who have grabbed this art form.  And those who have do it for fun, or craft, or to fuel their creative bone, not out of need as it was birthed originally.

There is a difficulty here, as yes, I was sort of taught as a child but have long forgotten in my immediate consumption mindset.  It takes time and skill.  It takes planning and preparation.  The result is treasured though, even with its blemishes and mistakes it is treasured.

Perhaps today's analogy of this is Binary Code.  The infinite combination of 0's and 1's to create, to produce.  It is ultimately what you read now, what you see in every aspect of our computer age.  No one ever started typing 1's and 0's and birthed a page.  It takes time and skill.  It takes planning and preparation.

And in this perhaps is a better way to understand something that has seemingly escaped our view.  The grasp of a truth that is used to both protect and destroy.  An attempt to eliminate condemnation and give us the sense of control.  But there is only pain in selfishness.

What if Psalm 139:13 read like this, "You had formed the most delicate, inward parts of me.  You had written the Binary Code of my heart and soul while I was still in my mother's womb."

Would this make more sense today?

If abortion has affected you there is hope, healing and forgiveness.  Life and love began long before conception.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Dull Ache

I recently hurt my back.  I know it sounds old and terrible, it wasn't that bad.  A slight wrong twist, a pull, and then the dull pain of a damaged body in a broken world.  By the end of the evening I was stuck in bed doped up on ibuprofen laying on a heating pad.

I did not realize the depth this tiny little injury would reach.

Sleep evaded me for the night but I felt better in the morning.  Worked, played, fought (if you know my son you get this) and at bed time used a heating pad and did not sleep well.  For 4 nights barely visited the REM stage.

I have never been one who needed much sleep but the next day showed how this lack had compounded.

I had a knee ache, old battle injury flaring up.  I was hobbling down my stairs, slipped, crashed, and busted my other knee and both forearms.  It was certainly a spectacular spectacle I was privileged enough that no one saw

I had the illusion I was fine, just tired.

I'm good now, that night I slept great and I have caught up.  Sleep is like a bank by the way, you can take some out but you then need to pay it back with interest.  I was at a rate of about 20% I think!

This morning I look back through my journal of time with God.  My lack of consistency is staggering.  This, the primary way that my Savior has decided for whatever reason to reveal Himself to me and I don't seem to be able to go a day without skipping a day, go a week without missing a week.  It has grown better as I have loved Him more and me less, but it still lurks in the shadows.

This compounds in every area of my life.

How I treat my wife, my kids, my job.  How I lead my groups, my responsibilities.  There is a trickle down effect that is difficult to see in the moment is obviously revealing.  My love for ME and MY time trumps the One who loved me first.

And this is a resolution, a focus this year.  To know Him, not know the Bible or know His Word or what to do or how to live, but to know Him, His character, His love.  To let this compound over time.

He is most glorified when I am most satisfied in Him, in simply who He is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Etch - Green Paint and Compassion

Etch - To Impress Clearly / Clarifying words and phrases we use, hoping to nullify argumentative semantics

I recently heard a story of green paint.  The soft kind of green, designed to be welcoming and open to those who enter its realm.The kind of green paint a man would coat his living room with to create a trusting, hospitable atmosphere.  The kind of green paint the God of the universe would instruct me to purchase to fulfill this endeavor.

Wait . . . Huh???

That was my response at least, why would someone pray about the color of their house?  Admirable, the desire to live out the call to hospitality down to the detail, but really?  "Dear Lord, The 'Bring Em Back Olive' has a nice tone but the 'Go Mango' could be both calming and fun.  Please illuminate the color You would desire my humble abode to be."

My initial reaction - God doesn't CARE about the color of my house, as long as it's not black with a deep red trim like some heavy metal band album, right?  He does CARE though about where I live and what I do, right?

Time to Etch:  "Care" as it relates to God.

We use this word to portray depth of importance or meaningfulness.  Does He CARE whether we are obedient to His Word, His Scripture, His leadings.  Yes, John 14:15, and the following speaking of the Holy Spirit helping us to obey, because we love.  He cares, it matters in the scheme of our relationship with Him, it is important.

Does He care about who my spouse is.  Don't hate me here, but our romantic comedical culture says "the one."  My wife is perfect for me, she is beautiful, exciting, fun, & I look forward to spending each moment I can with her, she is the one, she is perfect for me, because I married her.  Because we chose each other.  (This could be a blog itself, and it may be!)

Does God care about the color of my house.  Here's the point, it does not matter what I choose here so I can say that God does NOT CARE about the color of my house in that sense.  But saying that seems to take away from His love for me, right?

No, and this is why, because of how we used the word CARE.   IT doesn't really matter, it isn't important.

God DOES CARE about the color of my house in this sense . . . He created the colors for me to enjoy, he designed certain greens to be calming so when I thought through them I would see His love, His caring nature for me.  He cares in the sense that He wants me to joy in Him through His gifts, and this is one of them.

Now I know there is a depth I'm not touching here, I'm not writing a book, but the concept remains.  His love is beyond what we can imagine, beyond the vasts of creation, He loves us and desires our joy in Him, through His creation.  God's favorite color isn't green, but He loves if yours is!

So as we argue about words, try to etch meaning into each confusing part of our language.  He does care, but possibly not the way you are thinking.  I will not argue semantics in this way anymore.

Etch:  To Clearly Impress


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Backstory - Of Mice and Mickey

This is backstory on me, on some of the reasons why I think the way I think and some of the people and events that have helped to shape that. In other words these are the who's and what's you are to blame for me being me!

The English language is moronic!  We have all these letters that don't mean anything, or mean more than one thing, and some that are there to just look good.  That is where this embarrassing story begins!

As a child I heard people say Disney, I said Disney, and I read Disney.  But look at the picture, it doesn't look like it spells Disney does it?  Come on, be honest, I always believed that P at the end was silent.  Look at it!  Disnep!!!

I had several conversation, that I remember about why this spelled Disnep but pronounced Disnee!  I was distraught when I realized that the letter I was so sure was a P was only disguised that way to make me look dumb, I was the real life comic relief character in all of their movies.  Thankfully this happened before I took my trip to their world in Florida.

This trip happened during High School over an Easter with a group from church and a local school with a man who coached the HS football team and was the Youth Pastor . . . Coach A, Micky Atkinson.

While we were in the park once I got distracted, focused on something else (as if that ever happens) and the next thing I know I am alone in the park, the group had wandered away without asking me!  No problem for me, I knew where we stayed, I had a great day in the park.  When I met back up with them by chance later I learned that Coach A had yelled my name everywhere they went, continually searching for me.

This man did this for me far more often than I realized in the time we were together in church.

While there were others, this man directed me to think like a minister, he recognized in me that I would lean towards Strengthening the Souls of men (Acts 14:21 & 22) and pushed and encouraged me to fight for that.  It has played out differently than I expected but I can trace my heart for discipleship back to Mickey and that is where I will continue to focus.

No matter the circumstance or position this is where my passion lies and this is part of the reason why.  This is why I have coffee with guys, love small groups, believe in discipleship.  This is why I think the way that I do.  This is my backstory.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Backstory - The Fairness of Grape Jelly

This is backstory on me, on some of the reasons why I think the way I think and some of the people and events that have helped to shape that. In other words these are the who's and what's you are to blame for me being me!

As a child there are few things I remember clearly.  I didn't have much focus or need to think intently on the moments so as to hold them deeply in the scrapbook of my mind.  No, my minds scrap is well unorganized.  I do remember one specific lunch though, very clearly.

This day my brother and I watched as my Dad made us some Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches!.

I feel as though I must have been standing on a chair as I can vividly see the peanut butter being spread on the bread smoothly, with the skilled hands of my craftsman father.  Then the jelly jar appeared.  There was a hue around it, a glow that screamed out, "I declare this sandwich, dessert!"  Probably just the reflection of stickiness around it but I envision heavenly grape jam.

The jar tilts, the knife is inserted, and a blob falls - like jello, formless but with shape, it splatters on the two pieces of bread awaiting its arrival with joy.  My keen eye spots a difference in the mass and my heart begins to race, what if I get the less jelly!  I become truly fearful that my lunch will not be as dessertish as my younger siblings!  So I speak, in my wisdom:

"Father, it appears that more of the delicious jelly has fallen on the one sandwich, I will gladly partake in said sandwich if it pleases you."  My dad responds, "So you want that one?"  "Yes Father, I will devour the greater sandwich."

My dad grins and hands me the sandwich.  My glowing eyes watch it approach my salivating mouth.  As my teeth dive in to the gloriousness, I witness something that changes my enjoyment.  Mounds of jelly are scooped out on the other sandwich, far more than my measly "more" that once was.  I am horrified to the sound of my younger siblings yips and yeas as he receives his deliciousness.

My father in his infinite wisdom looks at me after a chuckle, smiles and says, "Son, life isn't fair" then gives me a hug and cleans up after the lesson he just made out of jelly.

I hold on to that to this day.  I comfort in it, I joy in it, and I stand content in it.  What I realize is I only want life to be fair when it is beneficial.  I can be happy when others receive because life isn't fair.  I can enjoy benefits of certain things because life isnt' fair.  I can LOVE to LIVE where and who I am because life isn't fair.

Ultimately life isn't fair, but it's not about me anyway so who cares if it's fair or not, who cares if I GET what I DESERVE or not.  I only want what I deserve when it is beneficial.  Love God, love people, forget myself.  I want Linc & Mason to know life isn't fair and that is good, and I want to explain it like my Dad did, in a fun way they can understand.

The truth is, I could not be more thankful for the fairness of Grape Jelly.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Touchdown Tuesday - Is There Light at the End?

There is a song by a musical giant that utters the phrase, "Then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel was just a freight train comin' your way." (No Leaf Clover Metallica)  That pretty much sums up my feelings about the current sports situation.  Admittedly the NBA finals are bringing in some interest and playoff hockey is always exciting but the sport for this man is football and it is year round, usually.

Lockout - Just as a note, this entire lockout section has been re-written this morning, it is still so fluid.  Does it matter, no, there's still no football!  I NEED PLAYERS!!! Teams need guys!  Now, just to understand me correctly here, I don't care how much money the players make, the coaches make, the owners make or the secretaries make.  I suspect when it comes down to it most would agree with me here, we just want to watch football.  The core of the issue seems to be that the owners want to put 10% more of the earned monies back into the organization, NOT necessarily their pockets.  Ok, fine.  I'm no financial genius, but both sides are going to have to give up their pride to end this on any happy terms . . . BOTH sides!  The players took a serious hit yesterday though, and there goes 3 more weeks of free agency down the toilet, what about hold outs from rookies, or players?  At this point the season is affected, and I don't like it.  

Everyone involved needs to man the freak up and realize they can do what they want to do because of us, without the fans there is no football and we are starting to get a bit upset.

18 Games - I've needed to speak to this for a while now but haven't had the chance, so here goes.  Give me 18 games.  This argument from the players whining about "we'll get hurt if we play more games" or "Our careers will be shortened" (hopefully you inserted your very best whiny voiced for those) is garbage!  Are you telling me that there is a player in this league who doesn't prepare and hope to play 18 games?  They better be hoping to play 19 games (20 if wild card)!  So there are 4 teams a season playing 2 extra games - hog wash, get over yourselves there!

Ocho - I love that he is trying stuff, because he can!  I wish he would have made the soccer team, I really with he would have ridden for 8 seconds!  He has no team, whether he plays for the Bengals or not, he has no QB if he stays, he has no rep lately (again probably the teams fault, but still) what does he have to lose?  Here at Touchdown Tuesday we are with you Chad, perhaps try Rally-cross next, or the paper rock scissor association, or even better, put together an NFL dodgeball team! Get 'em 86!

Ding-dong, the draft is dead - It's over and now I've got nothing football related to talk about.  I despise Andrew Luck for staying in college but happy with Cam.  It can't be worse that 2 and 14, except that 1 year we were 1 and 15!  I am very curious to see how the QB situations turn out though, Arizona and Cincinatti especially!

Game-Time - Who would have thought the massive guns of Peyton Hillis would beat out Vick for Madden?  I guess people love their dogs (insert animal loving or hating statement here).  What's the odds on him getting hurt, Madden curse anyone?

Finally Fantasy - Well, my only real statement here is that I would sure like to play this year, don't let me down Roger.

So that's it, that's where we are in the realm of the NFL.  We get excited about court rulings because it is news, we dream about trades that won't happen, and we hope for a season.  I never thought this would actually hurt football, I figure people will come back.  But with nothing grabbing me in the offseason, when that Thursday night comes along and I can play outside instead of watch, my interest is not as peaked as it should be.  When that Sunday comes and it's eat out or take home, a nice seat at a restaurant seems a nice alternative to a league that doesn't care about me, it's only source of revenue.

So this is Touchdown Tuesday signing off, and hoping for something fun to talk about soon . . . You stay classy, Planet Earth.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bear Hands and Hero's

I was reading a story to my son recently, a story filled with anger, lust, selfishness and deception, a story that he loves!  I came to the part where Samson kills a lion with his hands, his bare hands in the road.

Linc looks at me and says, "You be va lion and I'll be Samson and defeat you with my huge bear hands!"  He raises his arms at me showing the claws and the pads his imagination has now cloaked his tiny hands with and yells with a William Wallace style groan, "Veese are my bear hands and I will defeat you lion!"  

After a moment of composing from my laughter my explanation began, "Samson didn't have hands like a bear buddy, it's just an expression (oops, big words just come out sometimes)."

With a voice that trailed up from the start he asked a question, "So the lion had bear hands?"  I'm not going to lie, the image popped in my head of a lion walking around on its back legs with the paws of a bear, that's a serious animal!  I love the logic of my son - Somebody in this story has hands like a bear because that would be freakin awesome!

After a disappointing conversation and a weak explanation of bare vs bear we continued the story, and yes we played Samson and the lion.  Of course I held what a miserable failure Samson was, the same way I hold on Noah's drunkenness, David's adultery, and the rest.  

Ahh the tempered story of death and disaster that we tell our children to teach them the Bible.  I'm not against it, I am the chief of it!  My son's favorite game, other than 'battle' is David and Goliath.  I bet a day hasn't gone by in the last year that I haven't fallen at the hand of his sling.

But everytime as I crash to the ground I wonder when I will shatter his hero, that David does not represent him slaying the giants that will arise in his life.  That Samson is not a story to teach me I can be strong in the Lord, but a picture that even with the gifts I've been given I am a failure and need a Saviour in Christ.

So tonight, as usual, I will take a stone between the eyes, ask him by whose strength he was able to defeat me, and then land on top of him with squeals of laughter and tickling fingers as he tries to shrimp out - hoping with everything I am that he will be a man after God's own heart and not just a hero in his own mind like his father.