Are You Married?

I have heard some interesting responses to the question, are you saved? I think I’ll switch it up.

Are you married?

I’m a good person. Better than a lot of guys.

Are you married?

I go to her house once or twice a week.

Are you married?

I believe she exists.

Are you married?

I think there are lots of women I could be married to and aren’t all women the same?

Are you married?

I deny the existence of all women.

Are you getting where I’m coming from?

Marriage is more than token acknowledgement, intellectual nods, silly blindfolds. It is commitment, passion, focus.

And God wants to be married to us.

So are you married to Him?

A Victimless Crime

Urgent need: Mom and new baby in Indonesia need help to get free. Trying to raise $2100 to pay hospital bill and airfare to get them out of the situation. Can’t share tons of details but they really need our help. Go to: https://donorbox.org/donate-to-unstoppable-love-international

I have often heard people say that pornography and even prostitution is a victimless crime. The women know what they’re doing. It’s a way they can make money. They like it. Things that infuriate me, even though I know I once said it.

Help!

That’s what I’m calling for RIGHT NOW! There is a girl who wants free. She has a baby that she wants to change the future for. It will impact generations if we let God move us.

Follow the link.

Thank you!

Holier Than Thou

I have been reading a lot of history, thinking a lot about marriage, considering “saints” and “normal” people

What I’m finding is I’m getting kinda peeved.

It’s not just the priests, nuns and saints of the Catholic church. There’s this hierarchy within Christendom that Jesus never addressed.

Single is more holy than married. Priest or pastor is more holy than layman. Paid clergy has God’s ear, speaks to God’s heart more than regular people. And saints!

Whoa! Saints!

They can do miracles, see visions, all that kinda stuff.

And I’m calling b.s. on the whole thing.

The privilege of sainthood is available to a factory worker, a mom, (gasp) possibly even a bartender! Miracles, visions, wonders come from a relationship with the Almighty and everyone of us can own that.

Oh but we like it the other way. The pastor prays, special people see miracles, evangelists and preachers are called to the higher standard.

I’m just me so set your expectations low!

The call to be holy is not a religious mandate set apart for a select few. It is for all of us.

But how can a potty-mouthed paper mill employee hope to be holy? I think so.

The first step to working this out practically is to remind yourself OFTEN that when people look at you they’re supposed to see Jesus.

And remember, you can never cuss at all and still be full of hate. You can go to church every Sunday and be arrogant and mean.

The trick is look at how Jesus acted and act that way. Pray like your Father is there and cares about being with you. Value others. Believe that you are called to be different, special, holy. And move like you have a purpose.

It’ll change your life.

God, call your people out to love and live miraculously. Show us how to cherish each moment, value each opportunity to let You be seen in us.

The Wolf

I have been blogs, seeing videos, hearing the stories of human trafficking.

Shout out to Secretangel and Unstoppable Love Int. There are more and they are huge heroes in the Kingdom.

Along with this, I am studying Scottish history.

Wait…. What? How are the two related? Well, let me tell you.

Men are horrible!

What we, as men, have done in so many situations is deplorable, despicable, inhuman, no words are adequate. Animalistic, except that animals wouldn’t do some of the things we have done.

So many have become predators, seeking the weak, the isolated, the vulnerable. We have become wolves.

Why does a wolf do what he does? In a word, survival.

I ask myself, by why the cruelty? Why the preying on the young, the innocent? Why is there nothing holy, no boundaries we won’t cross, nothing we value more than our survival.

That is where sin infects our need.

I have seen first hand the evil, the hatred, the horrible meanness, and known the men who acted it out. We would see them as monsters, and really, a few of them are. But most, and this blows my mind, are nice guys.

They are businessmen, teachers, pastors, priests, coaches, politicians, you name it. They are dads, grandfathers, brothers.

And the snake of pornography, the poison of the “high” lie to us and say what is good, what is tantalizing, what will fill my need.

And so the mechanisms of survival, food, shelter, love, are traded in.

As someone who has come out of an addiction to pornography, I can say with some authority that predators of this nature should be shot, hung, decapitated, emasculated or all of the above.

But since we can’t kill them all, and it would decimate the male population, can we choose rather to pray.

He trap of sin, that we all face, is deepest for the predator, the wolf. He knows what he is and cannot fathom any different way to survive. And the best way to save his family, his victims, is to save him.

Pray for his healing, that he would see himself through God’s eyes. And, that he would know he was made for something far greater, much more than what he has been told.

And pray against, pray binding and confusion and destruction over all the forces that seek to keep him trapped.

God bring your healing, your touch to these victims of sin. Bring life and freedom to those who are hurt and those who hurt others. We need You.

To the Loser

I have this friend. Great guy! Really nice person. Great worship leader. Great musician.

Super competitive!

His drive to win has probably helped him to be successful in so many areas.

My son has played basketball with him a few times and often played on his team. They both like to win and can actually help each other win.

I never get asked to be on anybody’s team. At basketball, I don’t usually help anyone win.

I’m a loser. I don’t have the drive or the confidence. I accept defeat pretty readily.

And I think that’s about to open some doors for me.

We all love winners. We love success and wealth, popularity, fame. The problem is there are a whole lot of losers and just a few winners.

And I think it’s time for the losers to step up.

We believe that winners can do whatever they want. If you’re tall, good looking, young (most certainly young), then the world is yours. If your old and ugly, short, fat, lame and broken, well…

But God!

Yeah, but God.

He’s calling me out. I believe He’s calling you out.

Do we really believe that miraculous things can happen because a loser acts according to God’s word? Do we believe that God can speak through those who are not eloquent, not charismatic, simply to show His greatness? Can I believe that my voice, my experience, my heart can reach those that the winners can’t touch?

I’m starting to think so.

“To the victor goes the spoils.” But when I look at our lost and dying world, the “spoils” of human lives, there is plenty to share with us losers too.

God, use us.

Use me.

Start a fire in my heart, a desire that burns, not with self confidence, but an assurance that you can use someone like me. Help me to silence the voices that say I can’t and simply believe in my God who can.

What A Ride?!

I feel like I’ve used this title before.  And yes, I know it has been a while since I’ve written anything.

Tough season.  Yeah, I’ve said that before too.

But this morning, after about five hours of sleep, I woke up to the question/challenge, “if I  am going to write, can I write like my life depends on it?  Will I say something like it’s the last thing I will ever say?”

Now part of the fun of a blog is that sometimes you are only writing for fun. But that isn’t sustainable.  When the only thing I am doing is speaking to hear my own voice, I probably should just shut up.

So here I am again.  I wanted this blog to show that God is in control and worth living for no matter where He takes you.  I wanted to face disappointment and confusion, doubt and fear with a shout of triumph because I know Jesus is all that matters.  I wanted to worship without regard for my circumstances.

I now work in a paper mill.  I make good money but it is hard, exhausting, sweaty work.  I work a lot of hours, sleep schedule ruined, no time for music, writing, anything.  I am about the oldest guy that I know of there (in my area), starting out, trying to prove myself to them.  I catch myself cussing in frustration.  I make mistakes and still can’t seem to do much right.  But God’s favor has been with me.

And there’s no place I’d rather be.

I hear the songs about dreams coming true.  I’ve seen the movies and read the books that seem to say that if we don’t give up, we can live the life we want, we can succeed.

And I think God puts many of those dreams inside of us (though certainly not all of them – yikes).

I just don’t believe anymore that I need to pursue them.  I need to pursue Him.  I don’t mean to trivialize this.  We all to often find our dreams and lose sight of our King.  That’s a tragedy.  If I never get to sing in front of a crowd, if I never get to pastor a youth group, if I die from heat stroke working in a paper mill, I will have succeeded because, despite the stupid things I’ve done, because I sit on His lap, in the presence of the Holy King of the Universe.

I hope that some of the guys I work with find Him because of the light that shines from me.  I hope that my children and grandchildren see that life lived for Jesus is worth it.  I’m not giving up on my dreams, though I am almost fifty-seven years old.

Jesus, hold on to me harder than I hold on to you.  This ride is crazy so I need you.

Pushing It

I’m sick.

No, I’m really sick.

Breathing is difficult.  Head is spinning.  Photophobia.  Coughing.  Influenza.

How did this happen?  I rarely get sick.

I’ve been working as a janitor, a custodian for a church.  One of my jobs is to clean the carpets with a big extractor (carpet cleaner).  It is self-propelled.  Pull the trigger and steer basically.  Only trouble is it doesn’t go very fast.  I can’t tell you how many times I catch myself pushing it.

And do you want to know how much effect my body has on pushing a heavy machine that is set to go a specific speed.

Zero.

I have been doing that with God, with my life.  Pushing and pushing to see things happen.  Working really hard to get some where, to make things happen.  Trying to be a good husband, a good dad, a good servant, a good man.

Pushing it.

Influenza.

Broken immune system.  Fatigue.  Depression.

Today, I picked up my guitar and sang for no one but God.  I played, not to practice, but just to spend time with Him.  In my impatience and scattered thoughts, I had about a fifteen minute window with Him.

It was good.

I’ve been pushing too hard and too long against a life that won’t “get better”, circumstances that I can’t change, a past that won’t go away, a God who is immovable.

Here’s what I can do.  Be grateful for the good life I have.  Accept the circumstances of my life as a product of my decisions AND the Grace of God on me.  Forgive my past and let it go.  And ask what He wants instead of telling Him what I want.

And I can rest and cough and shiver and ache…

And heal.

The Stinky Kid

I’ve been practicing something for several days now but I’m not sure if I’m improving.

Bob Sorge (if you don’t know him, get to know him) does a seminar on “Secrets of the Secret Place”.

Well don’t watch it now.  Listen to me first!

Anyway, in one of the sessions he talks about asking for the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood over yourself so that we can come boldly before the Throne.  He asks you to imagine it and then imagine yourself crawling up between God and Jesus (who is at the Father’s right hand).  Highly recommend all of Bob’s stuff.

So, like I said, I have been practicing this.  I wake up and say, “God, sprinkle me with the blood of Jesus Christ.  Wash me, clothe me in your righteousness.  Now I come boldly to you.  You move people out of my way so that I can come up and sit with you.”

The funny thing is, I feel like the stinky kid.  You know.  The one you went to school with who didn’t take baths often enough.  The one whose clothes were old, out of style, torn and dirty.

See, I crawl up next to my Dad but then I turn around and cuss at somebody.  I still get angry and selfish and pout and whine and throw tantrums.

I wonder how I can have the audacity to do that when I’m sitting right next to the Holy One, the Righteous One, the Majestic One.  But, I still do.

I was talking to God a couple of days ago.

I said, “God, if you want, I can just go.  I know I’m stinky.  I know I’m bad.”

I just felt His arms wrap around me and heard Him say, “I don’t think you’re stinky.  I have washed you.  I have clothed you in righteousness.  And you’re mine.  Just stay right where you are.”

OK, if you really want me to, I’ll stay.

“I really do.”

Do you want to be healed?

We all have a sin sickness.

That thing that, despite our best efforts to conceal it, proves to us how messed up we are.

No one gets to escape it without the blood of Jesus Christ covering us.

No one.

It’s not enough to get saved, to find Jesus.  I’m sorry if you think it is.  I found Jesus and really all it did was open my eyes to my desperate need for more of Him, more of the Spirit, more of God’s leading and power.  I needed Him to HEAL me.  And I found, we have to want healing.

Not want like, “I want a breakfast burrito.”  More like, “I’m suffocating and I want air.”

In the jails, there are so many that from youth have been told the lie that they are just bad people.  In the bars, there are so many that believe they are not worthy of love, incapable of commitment.  The druggies, the prostitutes, the gays, the gamers that all believe that they can not hope for anything different.  That is just who they are.

Yep I lumped all those together.  Addictions, struggles, issues, whether society accepts and approves of them or not, have similar obstacles to overcome.

Oh, and in case it’s not obvious, porn, alcohol, affairs, work, temper tantrums, hate, control, arrogance are just a few of the others that fit into the same ideas.

The story in the Bible (John 5) goes that there was a pool where an angel would “stir the waters” (whatever that means) and the sick person who got in first was healed.  Jesus comes along and sees a guy who has been there for thirty-eight years.  His question hits me.

“Do you want to be healed?”

Jesus offers healing.  We offer excuses.  I want to be better, stronger, healthier, problem and struggle free.  But if solutions are presented, we see only impossibilities.  I’m not strong enough.  I can’t do it.  I’m just a failure.  It’s who I am and I don’t even need to change.

Jesus offers healing that comes in the form of wholeness, peace, joy, strength, victory.  And no addiction, no chosen lifestyle offers anything that compares.  And I know I need more of those things.  I want healing.  Now I just have to want it bad enough to submit myself to the authority of the one who offers it.

I’m tired of the sickness.  I sick of being sick.  I’m tired of the fight against my selfishness and self-actualization.

I just want Him.

He’s Moving!

In Exodus 33 there is a scene where God tells the people of Israel to go into the promised land.  He even says that He will send an angel ahead of them to clear the way.  But, He also says that He will not go with them.

Moses gives the right response in saying that if God doesn’t go with them, they will not move because it is God’s presence in their midst that distinguishes them from all other people on the face of the earth.

That has been my cry as I have gone through the years of barreness, where no doors have opened.  No promises have come true.

But that begs the question, what if He moves while I’m waiting.

See, I want to lead the way, praying that God opens the door for me to pursue my dreams and aspirations.  But, what if His presence in my life moves to something I didn’t dream of, or even see coming?  What if He leads to a new church, a new job, a different ministry and the only thing I know is that His presence is no longer in the midst of what I am doing?

This is not easy to see because my flesh, my own will gets in the way so much.  I hear my heart in rebellion against Godly leadership.  I feel my impatience and know my propensity for charging blindly “where angels fear to tread.”

That’s why I’ve been waiting.

But, right now, in this season that I’m entering, I sense God calling me forward.  “Come with me,” He says.  And I find I’m just as fearful of moving as I was of not being allowed to move.

And, I think I might not be alone.

Do you sense God moving to an area you are uncomfortable with?  A calling you have been afraid to pursue?  A relinquishing of control?

I see it in the church, not just my church, but The Church.  He is calling us out of a defensive posture, out of trying to justify our King, out of making excuses for why He does what He does.  He is calling us out to move in miraculous ways, to believe for more, to be a voice for truth and justice and life.

He is moving.

And I’m going with Him.