Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Letter

As I think about this Christmas season and all that it means I am reminded that often there are those to whom this is a very difficult time of year. Maybe this is your first Christmas without one of your parents. Maybe it’s a first without the one you have loved and shared your life with for so many years. Possibly you lost a child or your much loved child has gone a direction that you don’t agree with. So many ways that this time of year brings sadness and hurt. So many times when the family gets together we are just reminded of past hurts our current differences. How do we cope? How can this year be an improvement on the Christmases that have past?

I have found personally that when I am down or regretting the times together that the best way for me to overcome this attitude is to give myself to others. Rather than to look at what I am missing out on I try to focus more on what I have been given. The list is long and when we focus on the things we have to be thankful for we should be overwhelmed at the extent of our many blessings. Spend a week in Ethiopia and you will return with a new look at your life.

Here are just a few of the significant things I would like to share with you and maybe this will encourage you to be more thankful this season.

This morning we celebrated our first Christmas with John, our new 14 year old Chinese son. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his head this morning as he dressed up as our family Santa to hand out the gifts? Never has he known the meaning of Christmas. Never has he received a Christmas gift.

Kimmy and Ian came home from NC, where Ian is in seminary, and joined us for their first Christmas as a married couple. We were all there once, without much money and living on love more than anything else. But they made the trip to be here with us and to give us what must be the best gift they could ever give us- a grandbaby, due in Aug. We miss having them here close to us, but we also understand that this is the reason we raised them- to go and make a difference in the world. What a blessing for us.

We have many things that have happened this year; a trip to China, a wedding and a trip to NC. Our lives are filled with material, emotional and spiritual blessings that are too numerous to count, but we must look at or lives and recognize their abundance.

Our greatest Gift is the gift from our Father who loves us more than is earthly imaginable. I would never have given one of my sons to save my enemies and yet this is what God has done for us. He devised the plan to win us back to Himself and that plan included the life and death of His only Son. I pray that this Christmas we would understand the depth of His love for us and that each would follow His leading. He desires that we love Him more than anything else and yet I find myself often looking to the temporal gifts and blessings that are in front of me each day; how fleeting they are. He is worth more than any gifts or blessings we have here.

Have a Merry Christmas as you celebrate the greatest Gift we have ever received.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Maybe this is YOUR first Christmas

Maybe this is your first Christmas like it is our first Christmas in some way.

This is our first Christmas...
With an adopted son.
With all of our biological kids graduated from HS.
Without the same church family we have had for 16 years.
Without being small group leaders in a very long time.
Without being in the worship band for a very long time.
With a married daughter.
Without Kimmy living in our house all the time.
With a son-in-law.
With an inside grand-baby.

This is NOT our first Christmas...
Not really having any idea what the future holds in terms of PG and work.
Being completely dependent on God's provision of all we need.
Looking forward to Heaven's glory with great excitement.
Having friends and family who love and care for us very much.
To be following Jesus.

The Christmas celebration is about the greatest Gift we have ever received and we should not take for granted the words "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

That is the Good News we needed to hear and without those words we would have nothing to celebrate. Look around you and tell those you love that you do. Tell someone you know does not believe the Good News what is so good about it. Share the Hope that is in you with one who has no hope.

What a privilege we have to celebrate.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 partners in prayer

I just want to say "thank you" to those who have prayed for us so much in 2010. Every time I talk to my dad he tells me that they pray for s every day and that is such and encouragement. What better gift can be given than to pray for someone? God loves to be asked and He loves to give. May we believe this in every aspect of our lives.
Thanks again.

Not my will but Yours

As I sit here and listen to the ticking of the clock and wait for the phone to ring, I was compelled to write some thoughts on the page by an old friend of mine. So here they are.

There have been many times in my life that I have come to what seems like a decision that has no clear answer; all directions seem plausible yet I know there is only one way that would be most pleasing to God. How do you choose and how do you know you are mot making the wrong choice amidst all the options? Right now I am in a few of those on various fronts, so will I make the right decision? When there is no verse that tells us which way to go then what do we do?

Here is my process.
I try very hard to take my own will out of it. This is difficult as we are sinful/selfish creatures and we want our own way first. We must endeavor to take this out of the equation and I believe the best way to do this is to be like Christ when He said, "Not my will but thine". I have had to force myself to believe that whatever I am looking to do may be completely lost and force myself to think about my life w/o whatever it is. A REAL reality check.

Once this is done I then try to look at where I am with or w/o the particular item and force myself to look through the lens of who I am in Christ. Will I be better off with this or w/o it? More often than not it makes not real difference in light of eternity; which is the only thing that is important.

The decision gets easier when this is played out even further. If we know that God is sovereign and He gives what is best for us in every situation then what do we have to fear? If we have worked as unto the Lord to achieve whatever we are after then God can either give or take these things away and the choice is His. This is really freeing. He can close whatever doors He knows are best and open the ones He knows we should go through.

We are left again saying, "Not my will but Yours Father". To fight for "our rights" is foolish. Work hard, study hard, pray hard and leave the choice up to God. He will give and take away but never will He forsake us or withhold any good thing. If we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, then He will add all the things we need. What more can we ask than to have all we need?

Hopefully this is both helpful and encouraging.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Glorious Tattoo

SKH taught last week on Abram being a man of faith and yet back and forth he went in periods of great belief followed by periods of seemingly almost no faith. I can relate, irritatingly enough. I think if others could see into our "faith tanks" they would look to see them over flowing and maybe even the next minute being dusty dry. I hate that about my own faith and as I read today's Morning and Evening I was reminded of how the Israelites were and how I am. Maybe you can also relate.

‎"Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." --Isaiah 49:16

"The word "behold" sets this statement apart from the previous sentence where the people of God cried out in unbelief, saying, "The Lord has forsaken me, and my God has forgotten me." How amazed God seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God's favored people? The Lord's loving word of rebuke should make us blush; He cries, "How can I have forgotten you, when I have engraved you on the palms of my hands? How dare you doubt my thoughts for you when I have placed your memory on my very flesh?"

Unbelief is a very strange thing! We don't know which to wonder at the most-- the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually troubled with anxieties and disturbed with fears as if our God were a mirage in the desert.

We ought to "behold" with admiration the very thought that rebels like ourselves should have a place so near the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of His hands. God doesn't merely say, "I have engraved your name," but, "I have engraved you"-- your very person, your image, your circumstances, your sins-- everything about you, all that concerns you.

Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has engraved you on the palms of His own hands? "[

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anger and Patience

Life on earth is so...

Last night, actually yesterday, was a day that reminds me of my sinfulness and of the work that God is doing in my life and those around me.

I was asked to speak for Grandparent's Day at GA and I talked a bit about Kimmy's growth and the encouragement to lead a godly life that she, and our boys, were able to watch in the lives of the staff and teachers at GA. I talked about how important it is for each one of us to live in such a way so that others may know that we love Jesus and this would give them the desire to live for Him as well.

Then I went to work and there was some drama here that is reminiscent of Jr. High girls and then to John's soccer game where I was once again reminded of the way that I don't want to live and parent. I was frankly pretty discouraged by what I am seeing in some of the lives of the students. And then, even though Teresa tried to protect me from this, I went home to a house full of Jr. High girls and their silly, selfishness.

This is the thing that irritates me; I just talked about living like I love Jesus and then was impatient with the girls. It doesn't matter that they have little respect for others, it doesn't matter that they are not often serious, it doesn't matter that tomorrow they may not take a breath, what matters is that they see Jesus in me even when I am less than excited about how they are living. "Irritated noise" here.

I want some much for our students to get it and I want even more for me to get it and it is so irritating that we both are so sinful and selfish. I can't save them from themselves and I can't make them understand, by talking, that they are going the wrong way, I can only live it out in front of them and their parents to show them that there is a better way and yesterday I totally blew a great opportunity. I am sure that God will give me more opportunities at patience and I am sadly sure that I will fail again.

Oh to be in Heaven where this will be all behind us and we can just worship perfectly the One who is our perfect example of anger and patience. Pray for our youth leaders- we, especially I, need it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Prize

Here is a good reminder from Thomas Brooks. What is our prize? For what do we run and strive? Earthly pleasure often take our focus off of Heaven and sometimes it takes the diminishing of those things, or the thought of it, to refocus our gaze on the eternal.

"Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail--but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:25-26

"God sometimes strips His people of their nearest and dearest earthly mercies--that they may the more prize, and the better taste--of spiritual and heavenly mercies!

God takes away uncertain riches--that His people may the more prize certain riches!

God takes away natural strength--that His people may the more prize spiritual strength!

God takes away the creature--that His people may more prize their Savior.

Spiritual and heavenly things can alone satisfy the soul. The language of a godly man is this, 'Ah, Lord! the good earthly things which I have from You, though they may refresh me--yet they cannot satisfy me without Yourself!'"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fancy Feast

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love!" Song of Solomon 2:4

This thought is from John MacDuff and I just want to highlight a few of the things he brings out in his devotional on this verse.

Imagine the buzz around this banqueting table. Have you ever been to a really fancy banquet, the kind that has too many pieces of silverware to know exactly which fork to use? This is the kind that has the fancy napkins, a bunch of glasses and stemware, staff walking around making sure you have everything you need almost before you need it.

There's coming a day when we will be feasting at the table of the King of all kings and this will be a banquet like we have never seen or tasted before. The very best of food, and what will that be like? Maybe we will know exactly what we are eating, maybe we won't know at all, maybe it will be so delicious we won't care what it is. The Father has the best chefs and the best ingredients.

When I go to a fancy dinner I have to pace myself because I know I can't eat too much because I will get too full too soon, and I also don't want to gain 20 lbs in one meal. This, somehow will not be the case. Teresa said the other day that people want really good food without the guilt when they eat it- well in Heaven this is precisely what we will have.

So, back to the table. Sitting around the table talking about what life was like on earth, maybe those talking about first century martyrdom, the few from the dark ages talking about how they got saved, the Reformers talking about what trials and hardship they went through, our grandparents talking about the Depression and maybe us talking about "The Economy". If the trials weren't here we would not long so much for those coming days. If our life here on earth was just one fancy dinner after another we would not be looking forward, with such great anticipation, to the days that are coming.

Think about no guilt in eating, but also that there will never be a "good bye", never another sickness or lost to talk about from today's news; it will all be in the past and the future could not look brighter. There will be no more wondering about what tomorrow holds because it will be the brightest and cheeriest of forecasts.

And maybe best of all- we will no longer be distracted by our own sinfulness and pride. There will be no sin to fight. Imagine, no wrong attitudes, no lusting after the wrong things, no jealousy or gossiping, just pure worship and enjoyment of the King in our new Home.

"What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be"
Author unknown to me.

Maybe the first meal will be today. I am so excited to see the glories of Heaven and leave the heartache and cares of earthly life, but until He takes me Home I have some work to do here for the King.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trust, Hope and Wait- along with prayer and work

Ezra 8:22 "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him."

Dan. 3:17 "If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king."

In both of these narratives there is a strong trust in God to save His people, so much so that they were willing to lay it "On the line" to follow Him. Ezra had told this to the king and then they fasted and prayed that God would do what He had promised and they had told the King. What would it have looked like if they had said they didn't need protection because God would take care of them and then they had asked, or had not asked and then been attacked? Wouldn't that put God in an unfavorable light to the watching world?

In the case of the young Israelites, they completely trusted that their God could bring them through the furnace, though they didn't know exactly how, and yet they also knew that if God did allow the furnace to consume them that God would care for them beyond the furnace.

I find myself in this kind of area more than I would have imagined a few years ago. If I am telling people that God can carry us through this time, and I completely believe He has the power and ability to do that, then what will happen if He doesn't? There will be those who will say, or think, that I trusted the wrong "thing", or that I should have gone out and asked for help from outsiders.

As I consider what He wants me to put "On the line" it is difficult to discern the extent of what that might look like; how much to put down. His ways are not our ways and His thought are not our thoughts and that is so apparent to me as I try to figure just a little of this out.

I am also unsure of where my part ends and His part starts. It is hard to know when "wrestling with God" over an issue is the right thing to do, or if just resting in His care is best. Much pleading and entreating, followed by working my side is all I can do, but how long to we ask before we are nagging? Paul asked 3 times, but I have asked more than 300; has He already answered and this IS His answer?

One thing I do know is that I am truly confident in His ability, but I am not sure of His will. If He wants to turn this around I completely believe He can do that today and it will not be hard for Him; does He want to do that?

So I continue to pray that He would show Himself strong and faithful, as I know He is, because I don't want the world to say, "You trusted in God, that He would deliver you, now let Him deliver you". This of course was directed at Jesus, Who is our perfect example of putting it "On the line", and the world has been debating this for the past 2k years.

I still believe Father but help my unbelief as I trust You to care for our needs. There is no doubt in my mind that You can do all things, but I am not sure if you will. You have built my faith to trust You and Your Word and I can only hold up my cup of salvation and ask you to fill it again. You filled it everyday for me and You must fill it again if it is to be filled. I rest in Your care. Don't let the world think that I have put my trust in the wrong place. Show Yourself as You truly are to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

God is Rejoicing over His People

"I will rejoice over [my people] to do them good."
--Jeremiah 32:41

"How encouraging to the believer is God's delight in His saints! We have no reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us. Indeed, we too often can take no delight in ourselves for we have to groan being burdened, conscious of our sinfulness and deploring our unfaithfulness. Other Christians seldom delight in us either; too often they see our many imperfections; they would rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces." Spurgeon- Morning and Evening

It's always interesting to me how God does these kinds of things. As I was walking and praying this morning I was thinking about why would God bless me/PG. I have no goodness of my own, in fact often I am the opposite of good. My heart it deceitful and desperately wicked and here I am pleading with Him to bless us more than He already has. Even as I worship and pray I am often distracted and forget where I am and what I am doing and just go through the motions. How could I say that I really love Him when I do these kinds of things? And, why would He then want to bless me when I act this way?

And then I come back and read this morning's topic and I am reminded that it doesn't depend on me for Him to love me, it only is because He is gracious. The rest of this morning topic is about how He doesn't rejoice over creation like He does us, He doesn't even rejoice over the angels; we are unique in all of creation because even as fallen creature, who often do the wrong thing, He delights- He shouts for joy- over His children.

So, as we get irritated with our own fallen state and how we so quickly run to other affections and sinful things, as we look at other believers and see their lack of righteous living and dwell on their faults rather than the spiritual gifts that God has blessed them with we must remind ourselves that God loves His children and He longs to do them good, including us personally who, maybe in our minds, are the least deserving to be blessed.

Why should He love us so much? Well, humanly speaking, He shouldn't, but we are not talking in human terms when we are talking about God's love for His creation. Rejoice in His love- so undeserved- for you today.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Can Losing be Best?

2 Cor. 12:7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

For most of my life I have wanted to win. It didn't really matter how small the item was, I could make myself play/work much harder if I could convince myself I was wining. For example; I like to can all kinds of things because it seems like when you're done that you've got away with something; like you're "cheating" in some way because now you don't have to pay for that.

But now that I have been through probably, and hopefully, more than half my earthly life I am finding that I am really not "winning" much these days and may not "win" much in the future. The economic signs are less than promising, business for PG is congruent with that and that has been the measure of much of my previous success; if business is good, I am "good".

These verses are a good reminder to me that this is exactly where I am supposed to be in God's economy. Paul, seemingly, had the same issue as many of us; the tendency to think more highly of himself than he ought, and it seems like at least a portion of that came from success in his endeavors. God had placed him in those situations of success, so he clearly was doing what God had planned for him, but there was a tendency to boast in those same victories. His greatest strengths was also his weaknesses.

When he asked the Lord 3 times to remove whatever was his thorn in the flesh and God left it there as a reminder that he was weak and since God left it there Paul would have to rely much more on Christ with it there than if it were gone. I guess I can relate to that better now. Maybe I am closer to that place in my own life than I want to admit. If being weak forces me to admit that I'm am losing, I am not so excited to do that humanly speaking.

But, with Paul, I must also say spiritually, that if being weak keeps me in the right place spiritually, then I want to "boast" in my weakness, because now I can say that this is where God wants me to be, even though it is hard and scary. I told Jim Martin, more than a year ago, that as hard as it is, I don't necessarily want to get out of the hard times because they are the same things that have brought me closest to Christ.

So, as I am awake at much too early in the morning, because I am not sleeping too well thinking about what might be coming, I am at least excited to watch God work all this weakness out into the open so He can be made glorious as my own weakness is displayed. This is not where I would put myself if I were Him, but where I am content to be because I am not Him and I know that He will give only what is best.

This also is a good reminder that maybe the state of weakness and "losing" is going to be where I am for a long time; maybe even until I go Home, and I have to learn to be content in that. In "Morning and Evening" the other day, Spurgeon gave this idea and I paraphrase; It is also a great comfort to know that since He has me right here, He provides the strength for me to go Through each and every trial, not to get out of them. He allows the thorn to stay, but in each little poking of the thorn there is also the reminder that He gives the perfect amount of grace to endure that same poking.

Please pray that I would remember these things and be continually praising Him for the trials that He allows, even though they are hard. I need to figure out sooner, rather than later, that this is where I am going to be probably for quite a while and maybe I should quit praying that God would take me out of this place. The answer to the post heading I think is, "yes, if God is most glorified".

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Its Been a While

Ps. 40:16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

I talked to someone the other day and they said that it had been a long time since I had posted- which is very true. This is not my regular form of writing now, as it seems many have moved from blogging to FB. I also must admit that often I am very discouraged with the topics on FB.

Well, as I look back at the last 2 years, almost to the day, the Lord has carried PG this entire time of extended recession. As I read back through some of my old posts I can see where the very lean times have been for PG and I am encouraged to note that God has brought us through each of those times to this place today.

As a serious planner, it is difficult to wait on the Lord for His provision at every turn. He has put me in a place where I can only wait and hold up my cup for Him to fill it each day. he doesn't promise prosperity here on earth, in fact He said this world would be trouble, and it certainly seems as though I have found my share, and maybe someone else's as well.

I am both encouraged and humbled as I look where He has brought us, where He has allowed us to succeed and where He has picked us up along the way. Today, as I try to figure out where He is leading us now, and if He will allow us to continue long into the future or not, I am comforted with the fact that He knows what is best and even if He doesn't give us a "loaf of bread" or "a fish", He promises to give us what is better.

Please pray with us that we would know His care for us and that we would be able to wait patiently for Him and not try to run ahead. He has something amazing planned but that something amazing might be super hard. He brings allows the trials and gives the strength. I must be reminding myself of this all the time.

I would say that it is more fun to be watching the roller coaster than to necessarily be on it, but I am on and so hopefully you can enjoy watching us ride:)
Great is the Lord.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cup Holder

I am currently on Face book much more than I am on the blog, but there are some who are not FB-ers so I figured I wold at least put in an update.

I was reading through some of my older posts and God truly has taken me through some deep water, but maybe none as deep as today's, other than maybe Grant's event. The economy is taking it's toll on many businesses and PG is no exception. I believe we have a great business model, but there are times when it gets really tight and God must work in order for us to continue.

I think the hardest thing for me in all of this is that I am not deserving of His grace and mercy to work on my behalf, and yet I have to ask Him to work because He is the only One Who can change the situation. No banker has the power to change our situation, no one person can make us enough sales to get us out, no one can make advertising work, it is all up to Him.

So as I often say, All I can do is trust that He will provide, work as hard as I can and leave the rest is His hands. That is difficult for one who wants to be working all the time and contributing. I truly am the beggar who holds up his cup over and over again for the Lord to fill it and He always has, so I have no reason to believe that He will not again, BUT it is difficult to wait on Him and His timing. It is perfect, and I can write that here, but it is quite another thing to rest.

Please pray for me that I would really trust.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Prayer Requests

I have a couple of things I would like to bring before you for you to bring before the Father in your prayer time.

I am going to have a meeting with the bank again this week, its been a while since this was necessary. While many business are hurting in America and the banks are no exception to that, we are very dependent on our relationship with the bank. With sales not as high as we feel like we need them to be, God knows and gives what we need, this makes it difficult to make our budget numbers. I always want us to be doing so well that all our business partners are excited, in a good way, to do business with us. Right now we could look a lot better. Please pray for wisdom for me to know what to say and for their understanding. We are all in this together and we need each other to be successful, but most small banks now have added pressure to make their numbers look better with profitable, growing companies and there are not very many of them out there right now.

As always, please pray for sales. Just like in your home budgets, more dollars coming in gives you lots of advantages that are only afforded by that level of income coming in. PG, and all businesses for that matter, are driven by cash coming in. Sales currently are not bad, but we need to really turn that around the last half of the year and make it a great half.

On a non PG note, please pray for Kimmy and Ian that the would find employment and in that employment they would have ministry opportunity. They both have numerous applications out, but need to find the right place to land. God has it perfectly planned and they need to wait on Him, but we also must ask Him to provide that.

Please pray for the heart of the students who just returned from our summer retreat. I think they were challenged but it is easy to return home and have it go back to being just like it was before they left. May this have been a life changing time for them.

We have not because we ask not and often we ask with selfish motives. When we pray for others it is much harder to be selfish, both in the request and in our daily lives. Please do pray.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ponder the Promises

I want to live like this more each day. Lord make this real in my life. I hope you are encouraged.

"Exceedingly great and precious promises."
--2 Peter 1:4

If you want to experience the preciousness of God's promises and enjoy them in your own heart, then meditate on them a lot. Promises are like grapes in the wine-press-when you walk on the them the juice will flow. Thinking over His words and weighing them carefully will often be the prelude to their fulfillment. While you ponder them, the breakthrough you've been seeking will come to you.

But besides meditating upon the promises, seek in your soul to receive them as being the very words of God. And remember how important it is to give weight to a promise according to a man's ability and character. Your eye shouldn't be so taken with the promise itself and the greatness of the mercy-which is staggering enough-but you should focus on the greatness of the Promiser Himself. It is God, even our God, that can not lie, and HE is the One speaking. His work is as true as His own existence. He is a God unchangeable. He has not altered His word, nor called back one single consoling sentence. He lacks no power to fulfill His word either; He is the God who made the heavens and the earth. In His unfailing wisdom He even knows the best timing to give His gifts to us and when to withhold them.

Therefore, seeing that God's word is so true, so unchangeable, so powerful, so wise, I will and must believe His promise. If we meditate upon His promises like this and consider the Promiser, we will experience their sweetness and obtain their fulfillment. [M&E]

Please pray

As with any house hold, there are times when cash flow is good and it seems you can rest easier bc all the bills are paid and you still have a little money in the bank and there are also times when you look at the check register and the bills that need to be paid and you wonder how this will ever work out.

Right now at PG we are in the second spot. We not only have all our normal bills but we have had some pretty significant, unexpected (by us) bills come into play. All this is no surprise to The Father and He promises to supply all our needs and so as usual we can turn to Him, we must turn to Him, and ask that He supply those needs for us.

Please pray that He would supply those needs, that He would go ahead of us in the banking situation and work all the details out. There are so many things that are completely over my head and right now it could not be more true. Please pray that I would have wisdom to know what to do and what not to do, that I would have patience to wait on Him and strength to work where it is necessary.

God is big and I have seen Him work in amazing ways, in my own life, on PG's behalf and in the lives of countless others around me. Now is not when He will forget or neglect to work for our good and His glory. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trial are Good, Not easy

I would have never thought that I would rejoice in trial; not just when they are over but maybe even in the midst of them. This can only be God working in me, as this can't come from me.
As I read this Spurgeon post I could not help but think how much richer m life has been since He has added trials to it. The world would think this is crazy talk, but God's economy is much different than our own. We can only live this way if we live on unseen things. He has something better for us- we must believe Him.

"The Lord has shown us His glory."
--Deuteronomy 5:24

"God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory; any lesser goal would be unworthy of Him. But how will He show His glory to fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not naturally focused on God; he is always glancing away towards his own honor, has too high an estimate of his own abilities, and, therefore, is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord. It is clear, then, that self must get out of the way so that God can be exalted.

This is why He so often brings His people into trials and difficulties-- that by being made conscious of their own foolishness and weakness they are more prepared to behold the majesty of God when He saves them. If a person's life is one, even, smooth path, he will see very little of God's glory for he has few occasions of self-emptying and, therefore, little preparation to be filled with the revelation of God. Those who navigate little streams and shallow creeks know very little about the God of the storm.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road for it has given you an experience of His greatness and loving-kindness. Your troubles have made you wealthy with knowledge that can be gained by no other means. Your trials have caused you to take refuge in the cleft of the rock where Jehovah hides you so that you can behold His glory as it passes by. Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have produced, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have seen the outshining of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you." [M&E]

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Spurgeon Encouragement

I read this in tears this morning. What a good God we serve.

"Don't forget all of His benefits."
--Psalm 103:2

It is right and good to consider how God has benefited the lives of ancient saints-to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them. But wouldn't it be even more interesting and profitable for us to reflect on God's hand in our own lives? Shouldn't we look upon our own history as being at least as full of God's goodness, truth, and faithfulness as the lives of any of the saints who have gone before us? We do our Lord an injustice when we suppose that He performed all of His mighty acts in the past, but doesn't roll up His sleeves and go to work for His saints who are now living on the earth.

Let's take a moment today to review our own lives. Surely you can think of times when you have received benefit from the Lord. Haven't you known His deliverance? Haven't you passed through rivers while He supported you with His divine presence? Haven't you seen His hand at work for you? Hasn't the God who gave Solomon the desire of his heart, listened to you and answered your requests? Hasn't He who satisfied David with good things, satisfied you with plenty? Hasn't he led you into green pastures, and beside still waters?

Surely the goodness of God has been the same to us as to the saints of old; so, let's sing songs of mercy and make Him a crown of thanks and praise. Let our souls give forth music as sweet and as exhilarating as came from David's harp, while we praise the Lord whose mercy endures forever.

From "Morning and Evening"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

Think about this when you are having a bad day, when things aren't going as well as you would have hoped, when your marriage is a mess, your kids are rebellious, your life is falling down all around you. If the Father did not spare the Only Son of His love, to come to earth and be our sacrifice, then why would He leave us without a way of escape in the situation we are currently in? He wouldn't.

What an encouragement this is to my heart today, and many days. All I have He has given, all I need He will supply and all I have is need. This is the beggar holding up the cup of salvation for the Savior to fill.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Up Date

It seems like I don't post as often here, and I don't, but you can find my shorter thought on Face book now.
It also seems like the only thing I post about is what's happening at PG. I wish I could report that much more is happening. The economy is taking it's toll on us, as well as many others, and we really need to get some closed deals in. We need to finish the year very strong as we have a pretty big hole to dig out of. I guess this is a place where God alone can erase the deficit and it will take His work to take us out of it.
Sometimes I think that God lets us get this low in order that there is no other way out. So, please pray for sales. I don't want us to not have because we did not ask. I know He can do this for us, I just am not sure if He will. I guess we will find out soon enough. I cherish your prayers on our behalf. God is good.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Declaration of Dependence

As I think about what the 4th day of July means to most Americans I am reminded of what the founding fathers may have been thinking about when they penned this.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is what I think about. Fair representation and proper taxation, being a subject of a tyrannical leader and his son, forcing brothers to fight with brother and friend against friend are just a few of the things that our forefathers wanted to get out from under when they were writing this.

While this was a noble undertaking, and there is much discussion as to whether this is what a Christian should do, this is what formed the foundation of our nation and sets the freedom in motion that we enjoy today as Americans.

There was a cost to this freedom. Many lives were lost, many families split forever and the battle for American freedom still rages today, but with a different look. We are taxing ourselves to the max, we are sending our own sons, and now daughters, to fight for those freedoms, our government may be as corrupt as the one our forefathers fled from, but now we can decide who we will fight with and who and how we will pay for it.

But what about the true freedom that we have today and what of the dependence we have as Christians? We were once slaves to sin with the master tyrant, Satan, whose sole aim was to inflict pain and abuse onto his subjects. We could not get out of sin’s hold on us without a Deliverer. We could not do anything we wanted to do in this state except what the tyrant master called us to do, we were powerless. We were slaves.

Unlike the prince our forefathers were under, The King of King’s Son is the Prince of Life. The Father would devise a plan to bring us, who were once His enemies and slaves to sin, back into perfect fellowship with Him. But how would He do that; how could He pay the price for our redemption and yet still be just and righteous; only by giving His perfect Son to be our payment. What a cost for our freedom!!

So on the day when we celebrate our national independence I can’t help but think of my spiritual dependence. I am so dependent on Him for all that I am and have. I can only love Him because He first loved me. I can only love others because He permits me to love. I can only forgive because He first forgave me and showed me what that might look like. He who was perfect gave His life for the sinful. I can’t imagine being independent of His strength and sovereignty. I need Him for every breath I take and each heart beat that beats in me. He is my all in all and He holds all things together. I want to celebrate this 4th day of July by giving my Declaration of Dependence to the Son and the Father Who sent Him. I have no boast but Him. I exist for His glory only. May I remember the cost of this freedom from sin and to Whom I am dependent. May I be quick to tell others of His kindness and grace toward me. May I live in such a way that others are compelled to ask me of the Hope that is in me. I fall so short of this calling and yet He gives grace and continued opportunity.

God has blessed America and yet that blessing pales in comparison to how He has blessed His children. May I be truly thankful of this blessing today and everyday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Heavy Heart

Today started with something that is not m norm- chatting with an old friend on FB. This particular friend is now divorced, even though I had tried to keep them together. I am not sure of either of their spiritual state but I do know they are both now very lonely and maybe would rather be in the messed up marriage they were in than to be where they are now; I can't say that with all certainty.

This is something that I have heard plenty about, getting divorced, or having a hard time in the marriage. It seems there are too many people going through difficult times and the world is attacking them from all kinds of directions. I just keep thinking that it would be so much better if Christ came back tonight. I can't help but think that if life were really good here on earth we would never want to leave and we would always be happy to just stay here and keep living.

One of family friend is having surgery today for mouth cancer. Just another reminder of all the pain and suffering that people are going through. I haven't heard what the results are from the surgery, but life is so short and fragile- we are grass that grows today and is gone tomorrow. When will we ever really admit that we are that frail?

My heart is just heavy tonight because there is nothing I can really do about any of these situations and yet I can take it to my Father Who is ale to save marriages and restore health. He is the only One Who has the power to keep His promises and He can give to us whatever He He knows it will take to bring us to Himself and bring Himself glory.

I want to have a tender heart to the needs and cares of others, but I know that this is not my normal tendency. The Holy Spirit can do this work in my heart if I stay in the Word and ask Him to make me the person He would have me to be. May we have the heart of our Savior. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, but He also loved perfectly and hated sin and its effects.

Maybe tonight. Maybe tonight.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here's the Plan

Christ left Heaven- where He was the center of unending, perfect praise- to come to earth to be the center of all out rebellion and enemies trying to kill Him from the time of His birth until He gave up His life to die on the cross. That was the Father's plan and Christ was the agent of that plan. There is no way that we gain Heaven or eternal life without that plan. How often do we really think about that?

So, since that is the plan and Christ was willing to lay down the comforts of Heaven and equality with the Father, to have the Father turn His back on Him, what should our response be?

All too often I find myself stuck in the seen things of this world; stuck living as if all that is around me is the most important while neglecting the truly important. What will it profit if we gain the WHOLE world and yet lose our souls? If that statement is correct- and it is- then what will it profit if we gain the smallest fraction of the world and lose our soul?

We will only realized the disparity of our existence completely when we reach Heaven. We can't even begin to comprehend how much better it will be there as compared to where we live now. We can have a dream job, amazing spouse, incredible kids and grand kids, live in the most beautiful place on the planet and when we reach Heaven we will have to say that we lived in the ghetto compared to what we have just been given.

Every relationship we have now will pail in comparison to the one we have for all of eternity with Christ. The best of times with other sinners will be as compared to enemies when we hold it up to having a perfect relationship with Christ for all of eternity.

So today, we must live as if it is our last day- because it might be- and we must love each other enough to encourage and exhort one another to love and good deeds, no matter what others say and we must live in light of eternity; we must live on unseen things.

May The Holy Spirit give us a glimpse into what Heaven will be like and may He give us the faith to trust that it will be that good. Talk about Heaven, think about it, encourage one another with it and know that it is coming sooner than we might imagine; maybe before today is done. Oh that He would come back today.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Reminder

2 Chronicles 20:5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 6 and said, "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 'If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.' 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

A couple of interesting points, to me, in this passage.
It seems like the Israelites always go back to God's deliverance of them in the past as a reminder of Who is really in control. I am not sure how long after the the wilderness this was, but it seems like it has been a good length of time and they are still bringing it up to show how faithful their God is.

I love the last line of his prayer; "For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." Shouldn't this be our daily understanding of who we are and Who God is? I also love that God delivers them even though they are not perfect and they had sin issues, He still keeps His promise. He knows our frame, that we are but dust, and He still loves and cares for His own.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Are you Praying?

Many of you prayed for a beautiful sunny day for the wedding and God answered amazingly. Now I need you to go back to praying for that amazing provision of sales for PG. We have had a bunch of people who are interested, they come in, get some ideas, tell us they are excited and then they don't sign up. We need you to pray for signed contracts, and projects that can be installed soon. this keeps the staff busy and keeps the bank happy.
I am positive that God can bring this to us, I am just not sure that He will and you can aid in this process by asking. I don't want Him to say to me that we didn't receive it because we didn't ask Him. Let's ask in a big way. We would love to be buried with sales and for Him to show off- like with the weather- that He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. Please pray we me to this end.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heaven or Here

Yesterday at small group we asked the guys if they were given the choice to immediately go to Heaven, or stay on earth to collect billions of dollars for just another year, which would they choose. The answers were mixed, but there was some good discussion as to the reason and thought behind the answer. I often pray that Christ would return today, even if His return comes before the wedding and even if I never get to be a grandparent, I want to go to Heaven right now. But if God chooses to keep me here He must, and does, have a plan for the days I am here. Here's something from today's Morning and Evening that fits right in with that thought.

"If we live, we live unto the Lord." --Romans 14:8 "Why then are we here? Would God keep His children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battlefield? Why are His children still wandering here and there through a maze when a single word from His lips would bring them into the center of their hopes in heaven? The answer is that they are here in order to "live unto the Lord" and to bring others to know Him as well. We remain on earth as farmers who scatter good seed. We are the "salt of the earth" to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life." [M&E]

I believe it is completely Biblical to long for Heaven and to frequently pray for Christ's return, but it is also Biblical to be left here on earth to complete the work that He has started and planned fr us to do. We must not grow weary in well doing, but we must serve the Lord for all the days He has ordained. We should be looking for every opportunity to serve and taking every opportunity to ask if others are ready to meet the Savior. What a day that will be and what a life that can be, if we just keep our eyes focused on the eternal rather than the temporal.

What are you doing with the moments you have left here? If today were your last day, would you be happy with the way you spent that day? Are you ready to stand before the Father? What an amazing day that will be.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Have I REALLY let go?

It seems I pretty frequently have the opportunity to tell Grant's story, which is often the first part of the story of preparing me for this time in my life. I often say something that includes the idea that until we really let go of the things we are holding onto, we can't really say that we are ok with God taking them away from us. I use that with regard to my kids and with regard to PG.

I thought I had come to a place more than a year ago where I could say that if God took away PG I would be fine with it because I was coming to grips with the fact that I am not in control and He would have to make it work if it were going to continue. While I think I truly have grasped that it is completely God Who provides and that I am 100% dependent on Him, I still am not sure that I REALLY ok with Him taking it away.

Maybe this is where we are supposed to be in the first place; I'm not too sure of many things anymore. If God wants to take something away from us what is the point in fighting Him for it? There is no way we can win against the One Who can't be beaten, we can't change His mind, so should we just be content to have our hearts changed to match His heart?

Not all who read this are business owners, so maybe I need to place this more to the kid side of the argument. IF God wants to take our kinds away from us, what can we do about it? He has promised that everything He does is for our good and so if He does take away our kids, then this also is for our good; right? Isn't it a lack of trust if I don't believe that if He takes them away that it is not for everyone's good and His glory? Shouldn't I just trust Him and like Job say "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord"? Isn't this the right attitude?

We shouldn't put our kids in harm's way, we should take them to the doctor when they are sick, we should make them wear their seat belt, but if God decides that they have been our stewardship opportunities long enough, then when He takes them back we should only be left rejoicing.

I realize that kids and a business are 2 very different things, but often they swap places of concern in my own heart. Am I really ready to give up either one right now? I can't say that I would have the same attitude as Job right now. Maybe PG is more important to me than I am willing to admit to myself. There are many families who are either very dependent on PG or pretty dependent, for their livelihood, but in the end they are not really dependent on anything but Gut to supply all of their needs.

Please pray for me and for PG that God would bless us with much needed sales and with those that are ready to be installed. Pray that He would provide for all our needs as He has promised. Pray that I would know what it is that He would have us to do in the future. Much of what is happening right now is from working the things we have implemented in the past. This is all too big for me and is way over my head. I am completely dependent on Him to keep us going. Please pray that this would be His will as if it is, nothing can make that not happen. Pray for my own resting in Him. He is good to bring us thus far, I can only hope in the Great Hope. It is all I want to hope in.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Impossible Weight to Carry

To continue the personal purity thought some more; I was thinking this morning, as I lay in bed knowing it was time to get up, that often I compare my own personal purity, or lack of is a more accurate view, I am quick to compare myself with others. This is also a dangerous place to be.

There will always be someone that is potentially falling more short than we are, but this is not the attitude that God wants us to have. My desire should be to live as pure a life as I possibly can and with the aid of the Holy Spirit scrutinize every speck of action, motive, speech and attitude through the lens of God's Word. I must be praying that the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin so that tomorrow I would be holier than I am today.

This is such a frustrating place to be because I know my own sinfulness and I know that tomorrow I will potentially fall in the same areas as I did today and yesterday. God requires that we be holy, which is an impossible requirement for us. How can I be holy in my entire life when I can't even master the sin in one small area of my life? The frustrating and yet real answer is that I can't and that is why I so desperately need Christ.

So passages like 1 1Peter 3:8-12 become both more frustrating and more exciting. 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

"Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

I am not naturally drawn to unity or to being sympathetic. Brotherly love is not the normal vein of my wicked heart. To be tender and humble is not how most people would quickly describe me and yet this is what God is telling me to do. My first instinct is TO repay evil for evil and TO revile when someone reviles me. My lips and my tongue are quick to speak evil and deceit and it is not my normal tendency to seek peace and to then pursue it.

This is just a few verses in a small chapter and yet I can't even get this right, how does God expect me to be holy in all He tells me to do? The encouraging part of this is that when, for even a brief second, I get part of this right, it is so unnatural for me to do any of this that I know the Holy Spirit working and He has given some measure of victory, even if it is tiny. Only through His power.

Look what He promises to do for those who live this way; His eyes are on the righteous and His ears hear their prayer. I want God to be on my side. I can't afford to have against me, which is where He will be if I do evil.

Ps. 24 gives the answer again of who is able to stand in the presence of this Holy God. Notice that there is no comparison to others here. The possibility of standing before God is based on our own personal purity; not the difference between mine and my neighbor's.

3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

I want so much to be blessed by God, and He has given much more than I deserve already, but I don't want to be the reason that God withholds His blessing from others around me and the only way that this can be ensured is my own personal purity. Trust me, I feel the weight. Much too great of a weight for me to carry on my own.

May the Father look at me and see me clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness only. May He see a child who desires to be more holy today than I was yesterday. May He be delighted to bring me to a place of more purity each day and in turn be a more pleasing sacrifice to Him. I am so inadequate for the task and yet He knows my faults and yet still loves me. There is the example we are to follow in every way. May we be conformed into His image more each day.

Here is how amazing God is. I JUST finished writing this post and I opened up my Morning and Evening entry for today and this is what is written for THIS morning. Don't tell me that God is not kind!

"Behold, I am vile."
--Job 40:4

"Here is an encouraging word for you, poor lost sinner! You think you can not come to God because you are vile, but know this-- there isn't a saint living on earth who has not felt the same way. If Job, and Isaiah, and Paul were all compelled to say, "I am vile," will you be ashamed to make the same confession? If God's grace does not clear the sin from your life, how else do you plan to get rid of it? If God loves His people while they are still vile sinners, do you think that your vileness will keep Him from loving you?

Jesus is calling you in your vile condition, so trust Him today. Right now say to Him, "Lord Jesus, you have died for sinners; I am a sinner; sprinkle your blood on me." I tell you that if you will confess your sin you will find pardon. If you, with all your heart, will say, "I am vile, wash me," then, you will be washed now. Even though you woke up this morning with all kinds of sins on your account, you will come away from this reading with your debts forgiven, and you can rest tonight accepted by God in Christ. The rags of your sin will be exchanged for a robe of Christ's righteousness, and you will appear as white as the angels.

Listen! Don't delay! Now is the right time. Trust Jesus to make you clean, and you will be saved. Oh! May the Holy Spirit give you faith in the One who makes even the filthiest sinner clean."

God's timing alone has to make you shake your head. I did not read any of this before I posted and yet how could God bring these words to me this morning? WOW- He is good.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

PG Personal Purity

We had a pretty bad month last month and this week was pretty pathetic as well. We have containers coming in with new material and it would be awesome if God decided to let us have a bunch of sales to pay for them.

It is so hard to wait on Him for all we need, but in reality it is only Him that we depend on for all our needs. Please pray that He would allow us to have some contracts signed this next week, that people who have already signed up would be ready so we can install more rather than less. Every day that goes by that the schedule is not full is an install opportunity that is lost forever.

What does this Great God have in mind of us as we try to do what He desires for us to do?

On a similar but different thread, I have been thinking much lately about personal purity. As I read through my Bible reading plan I am in Solomon's life and of course recently past David. I am struck by the fact that God punished the entire nation of Israel for David's personal sin. As a leader, of PG and other things, it makes me realize that if God would punish an entire nation for the sin of a man who was after His own heart, He would certainly not spare those around me for my own sin.

Maybe God is punishing PG for something I have done. This is such a precarious place to be in. There is no way that I can ever be holy enough to not deserve to be punished, there will never be enough purity on my part for me to deserve to be blessed and this is so difficult to carry. God knows our weakness and He has created us to be like we are and yet I am still responsible for my own actions. If I do what is right it is only because God has allowed me to desire it. If I do what is wrong it is completely my responsibility.

May He allow us to lead holy and blameless lives so that He would want to bless us. please pray for that for me.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Lots of things going through my mind right now.

We just returned from Garrett's state track meet. He finished 8th in the 100 and they were DQ'd, for a lane violation, in the 4x100. All in all they had a great time and the boy's team, which Garrett was on both the golf and track team, were the top academic team in the 1B state. Smart and athletic. As I was there with the students I realized again that we are so blessed to have such a great collection of young people. Zero issues while away, no relationships to watch, no bickering, just a group of kids who, for the most part, love Jesus and want to be good teammates and friends to those around them. God is so kind.

On a different note, but sort of the same, the entire relationship issue is back on my front porch. While I do not claim to have all the answers for all of life's questions I do have some history with young people and their struggles. In some ways it was a long time ago that I was young, though it seems like just yesterday, and in some ways I can't believe that my 3 bios are now grown up. T and I have been involved with the youth ministry of our church for some, I'm not exactly sure- maybe 13-14 year- and we have seen many similar things take place. Girls chasing boys and boys chasing girls. Sometimes parents pushing more than the students. I was a boy who chased a lot of girls and this makes me realize how hurtful this will be to these young men when they are old like I am now.

I have seen so many relationships turn out poorly that it makes me sad when I give a warning and the warning is discarded. I am not saying, again, that I have the corner on the market of wisdom here, I am saying that I have seen many, many of these relationships and almost every single one turns out the same way; student's hearts broken and parents no longer talking to each other because they think that it is always the other parent's fault that this has turned out poorly.

If your student is going through school, don't push them to have a date all the time, don't push them to always have a "special friend" that they can be exclusive with, don't rush the process that God can bring into focus perfectly if we just wait on Him. When the time is right, HE, not me or you, will bring it perfectly into place. When we rush ahead and try to make our own program, it seems like someone always gets hurt.

As a youth staff person, my "job" is to partner with parents who are trying to raise students who love Jesus more than anything or anyone else. It would be awesome to always have great partners in this process. That doesn't always happen and I am not always the best partner either- sin often gets in the way. I want to be open and available to assist in the process that so many desire to have more insight into. My dad always says that you can't help but get smart if you hang around in school all the time, and I guess that's the way I feel with the length of time we have spent with students- I can't help but learn something.

Bottom line- I want the young men in our ministry to love Jesus right now and until they go to Heaven. I want them to be able to resist temptation that so easily get them side tracked and girls are generally in that mix. I want them to set their affections on things that are above and not dwell in the lower lands of "Vanity Fair"- to keep their eyes fixed on the prize and run the race that is set out for them. I want them to be leaders; as there are lots of followers looking for someone to lead them. I want them to be Christ like men. That's what I want for me and that's also what I want for them.

Ours is a serious battle for the hearts of our young people and we must be taking that battle seriously. Many are trying to steal the hearts of our students and we need to watch and pray for their souls. Parents- that's your job and it's my job as a staff leader as well. I love my job:) Especially when we can hand them off to the next ministry and they are well prepared for what is coming.

Please pray for our students and the clay pots who are leading them.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PG Update

Life is so crazy; one day we are really busy and the next we are desiring to have more work. Our month thus far has been one pretty full of leads and many seem to be good leads, but quite a few of them are just not ready to commit. This makes our install schedule lighter than we would like because there are not as many jobs to choose from.

Please pray for signed contracts- people who are ready to install and for God's continued gracious provision for PG and all those who are connected to us. He has brought us a long way and in difficult times and He can continue to do the same and more if that is His plan.

Waiting patiently for His provision. He is an amazing Provider- I must not try to run ahead.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Senior Chapel

Today was senior chapel- meaning the seniors all stood up and briefly told what they had gleaned from Grace Academy and what they were going to move toward after next week's graduation. I try very hard not to miss these kinds of days.

Since I entered after the start I was sitting toward the back and could see many of the parents and families of the students poised with cameras and big smiles awaiting their student's turn. I know many of the students because of Garrett's involvement in his class and from being around GA for so long. There were not too many moments that were different than I expected as I sat waiting for the next to get up; the silly are still pretty silly, the sober are just that and the typically gracious are still gracious.

In my mind, just yesterday I was graduating from high school, though it has been almost 30 years now. The students in this senior class are a great bunch; many really and truly love the Lord and are committed to serve Him. As I thought about the ones I know more about, tears came to my eyes. God has done such an amazing work and I was just sitting back there rejoicing in His kindness to so many.

One that started the entire tear thing was a young lady whose parents were right in front of me. Just over a month ago she was not saved and God answered the prayer of so many who were petitioning Him to have mercy on her soul. Garrett told his Bible teacher that he had been praying for the salvation of 2 people and before he could turn in the paper God had answered that prayer in both of their lives.

As a dad I am especially excited that my high school senior would be praying for the salvation of others- God has worked in an amazing way in his heart.

AS an aside; the students named teachers who had really impacted their life and many named the same couple of teachers. It is interesting that those who impact student's lives are not necessarily the really fun- "I want to be your friend type"- but the ones who are a godly example and bring them back to Scripture. There's a pattern to follow after.

With the big day right around the corner, with much gratitude in my heart for what God has done in Garrett's life and in the lives of so many of these students, I wait with excitement to see what He will do in the lives of those students who truly want to live for Him and serve Him, whatever that may look like.

God is so AMAZING!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It seems like people are worn out right now; tired from all the things that are on their plates. While I do understand being tired and am currently irritated with the amount of sleep I am requiring, I also know that God is on control, even of our task list.

Ps. 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Before we were ever created God knew exactly how each one of us was going to be, even that we would be tired right now. He knew May would be a busy month and that we would be unseasonably cold here, that there would be graduations for some and weddings for others and both for yet others.

All these things are opportunities to give Him praise and to delight in who He is and what He is doing in and around us. The God of the universe cares for each one of us and we should spend our days in praise to Him for His steadfast love and care for people like us.

I think it's ok to be tired, but not if it takes away our joy in the process and not if we are agitated with God over how He made us. He planned from eternity past the work for us to do, Eph. 2:10, and He gives the strength to complete every single task that is on our list, Phil. 4:13.

As SKH spoke about in 128 this past Sunday, we are each one members of the body and the body is dependent on each member, to show up, to do its part, and to rely on Christ's strength working in us to carry out that task. Be tired, but be about the Father's business, while it is still called today and you still have breath.

Monday, May 17, 2010

PG Update

I haven't given you updates as often as I should have been and this weekend our internet was out at home, which is probably ok, since I need a break from my computer every once in a while.

It seems like there are many people who are interested in getting bids and talking about doing something but not as many who are actually pulling the trigger. Sales have been more quiet than we would like and of the ones we have signed up, many are not ready to go right now.

Please pray that God would bring in a good amount of signed contracts and that many would be ready to go on the board for install, as this allows us to keep the guys working.

I read Is. 40 this morning and was reminded that it is God who provides and gives strength as we trust in Him. He knows exactly what we need and He promises to supply that need and I must JOYFULLY rest in His control. It is easier to rest in His care when we know we can't do more than we are doing already.

He is SO kind.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Exciting News

I'm going to post this on both blogs, since it has to do with both.
This afternoon John and I went to watch Garrett compete in districts in track; yesterday was his district golf day. On the way home I decided to ask John some questions.

He had told me that he got a 97% on his last Bible test and so I would like to know where he is coming from.
Q#1- Do you think the Bible is true? A#1- Yes.
Q#2- How do you know? A#2- Because God wrote it. I like that answer.
We talked about Heaven and Hell and what would happen if he died tonight on the way home, about having to be perfect to get into Heaven, that there is only one perfect person, and he said it is Jesus- who is God- I think the Trinity is a bit hard for him to fully grasp right now, but I guess that is kind of the case with us all. I asked him what Heaven is like and he didn;t really know much about that or anything about Hell. I explained bodies that doesn't die and living either in eternal pain of no pain and he certainly seems to understand all that. I asked him again what would happen if he dies tonight and he said he would go to Hell.

Then I asked him if he wanted to change that and he said "yes". I tried to take it away a bit and told him he needed to come home and talk to Teresa about what he was thinking about doing. He really seems to know what I said and of his need of a Savior. We talked about praying to ask Jesus into his heart, how Jesus could make his heart clean and how being a Christian means you read your Bible and obey it as the Holy Spirit works in each one of us to make us love him more. I think he gets it.

we prayed together and he asked Jesus to come into his heart and make his heart clean and to help him obey. He thanks God for his new family and he is a new person- as easy as that. I then asked him if he dies today what would happen. He said he would go to hell because he is not perfect. It's hard to imagine that the redemptive work of Christ can take place in 1 minute and w/o a bunch of work, but that is God's plan- how awesome is that?!!!

God is so kind to us. He brought us a new son, and then as you all prayed for him He answered those prayers. What an awesome day!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Surgeons and Anesthesiologists

My random brain was bouncing around this morning as I was walking and this is what I was thinking about.

In light of Kimmy's recent successful surgery and also in light of Sean's messages on Sunday about truth, think about this. Would people line up to have a surgery if they didn't use anesthesia? The scalpel is a very sharp instrument made to cut precisely where the surgeon applies the blade, but without anesthesia there would still be extreme pain and many would die from shock before they could realize the benefits of the surgery. On the other side of the patient there is the anesthesiologist. What good would it be if he just put you to sleep and you woke up with all the same preexisting conditions? Sure, you would have slept, but there would be no long lasting benefits from his work.

Here is where I connect this to Sean's message; I hope. Truth and love go hand in hand. The Word is sharper than any 2 edged sword, or scalpel, and yet Jesus, the master surgeon and anesthesiologist used both perfectly together. He, like no other, had the corner on truth, as He is Truth revealed. He could have wielded truth like a giant sword, flaying open all who came near to Him, and in certain instances He did that. But He also used the "anesthesia" of love and kindness to administer truth as He went, It's His kindness that leads us to repentance, Romans 2:4. He had every right to slice people with the truth and hold them to a perfect standard, but He knows our frame, that we are weak and but dust.

If we are Christians, like Christ, then we must endeavor to be more like Him each day. We must balance truth and love together so that the world will know we are His and give them a reason to ask us about the hope that is in us. If we don't give truth, or if we give truth without love, why would they want what we have.

May God grant us the wisdom, strength, courage and humility to be balanced in this area; souls depend on it. May our lives be both extremely sharp and filled with compassion as we walk in obedience to His calling to make disciples. Disciples won't follow someone they don't view as one they want to be like and they won't follow long one who is too harsh in their approach. I think this is why Jesus calls us to be servants and leaders.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Who is Garrett?

The son that used to be our youngest is graduating soon; Garrett. Since Garrett didn't go into cardiac arrest and he is not as outspoken as Kimmy, many don't know him that well.

Garrett is a very special young man. Yes, he is like his parents in that he talks too much, but the nit generally doesn't fall too far from the tree. So who is this Garrett guy and what is he like.

Garrett may be one of the wittiest people I know. It is dangerous to get into a verbal spar with him because his brain is very quick. He is a very good athlete, but like his parents, he will never be exceptional at any, just pretty good at most. He currently is playing golf and do multiple track and field events; maybe the first person at Grace Academy to do that. I think he will go to districts in both and we'll see about state. He's good at basketball and soccer as well.

But past sports who is he? I told him when he was in the 10th grade that from here on out he was required to get a 4.0 and he has done that, even while taking advanced courses like calculus.

He loves people. Garrett is the person who keeps in contact with all the kids who leave the school to go to running start or public school; he always makes them feel welcome. He takes interest even in the younger kids. It is not uncommon for us to have a few seniors at our house and some freshman as well. Garrett also loves our cat.

He is not afraid to ask hard spiritual questions of his friends. He shares what he is learning and desires that others would also grow in Christ. He is one of the most disciplined people I know. I told him in the 6th grade that he should do 20 push up and sit ups every night before he went to bed. 2-3 years later I asked him how he was doing with that and he told me(with some coercion) that he had not only never missed but he had upped him reps to something like 200 of each.

He is very quick to serve others. Last Saturday his small group leader- not me- needed some help moving 7 yards of pea gravel, with a shovel and wheel barrow. I told Garrett he needed help and he went over and worked at it until they had completely finished. When we asked the kids about getting John, even though Garrett would have to share his room and share his senior year activities with a new brother, he was quick to say that we should do it. He has not complained one time about having us dividing our time with he and John.

Garrett is tender hearts, fun, loves people, bright, caring, ripped and a friend to many. If you don't know him, I hope you have the opportunity to talk to him and get to know him. God has truly blessed our family by giving him to us.

We love you Garrett and can't wait to see what God does with your life as you give it over to Him.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A New Challenge for YOU!!!

Ps. 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

SKH made mention, sometime on Sunday, that we are to encourage one another of God's goodness as we rehearse what He has done in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I hope this blog is a place that shows off God's goodness and faithfulness and I would like to invite any and all to make this a place that you can publicly post God's goodness. I would love to have this be the doorpost on which others can come and nail up their praises.

For all of you "non-bloggers" you can post a comment here and I will make a post for your praise. We must encourage each other with God's awesomeness as He works in or lives. What did God do for you yesterday that we all need to hear?

I'm going to go first. On Wednesday night Teresa and I were in Orlando at a tradeshow. My phone rang at around 11pm and it was Kimmy's phone. Se was going in for surgery the next day so I figured she was calling to give us an update. It was her phone but not her; it was Amanda. Amanda is in Kimmy's small group and I have been talking to and praying for Amanda for about 3-4 months about the health of her soul. I often would walk up to her and ask her "How is your soul?" since she has not been shy to tell me that she was not a believer. I use the word "was" because she called me to tell me that she had gotten saved the night before.

Many people were talking to her and praying for her and God chose to answer our prayers and water the seeds that had been planted. How awesome is that. God is still saving people and we need to be witnesses for Him and also give Him praise when He graciously acts.

Not all our praises will be this life changing, but we still need to make them known so all will be encouraged. If you are too reluctant to post here you can email me at

I'm excited to hear what God is doing in your life. Read this entire chapter and fill in what Gos has done for you personally.

PG Update

April is finished- how quickly time flies- and I thought April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, not more showers.

Our record setting pace in March gave way to more normal sales in April. While I love to be really busy at PG and have lots of sales coming in, I do know that it is God Who brings each one and He knows our needs, which means I must trust Him to supply exactly what it is that we need each day and month. I am so thankful that He is in charge of all these things.

Right now we are in the throws of the 127 Adoption fund raising event, coming on the 15th of this month, to be followed by Kimmy and Ian's wedding in just over 6 weeks, so there is plenty going on in our lives right now. All very good things and all with their own set of needs to be attended to.

Please pray for PG sales, for safety for the crews as they labor, for wisdom for us to know exactly what it is that we need to do in each situation and for God's continued blessing in all of these areas.

Also, please pray for 127 Adoptions and the fund raising event, for wisdom for all who are working on the team and for God to make it abundantly clear where we are to take this as we follow His leading. Pray for the more than 140 million orphans in the world.

Please pray for the wedding planning and for Kimmy and Ian. Pray for Ian as he starts to make decisions for the future with regard to housing and employment in NC, that he would finish well in school this week, that Kimmy would continue to gain strength after her surgery and that we would be ready to celebrate the union of these 2 with all we need to do, since the wedding and reception are at our house. Fun times to watch God work.

God has richly blessed us in so many ways and I don not want to be one who forgets what He is doing or one who forgets to give Him praise for what he has done. We must be a thankful people.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I have been wrestling with all kinds of things, traveling and traveling again. I look at the blog roll of One128 and there isn't much activity. Is everyone so busy that they don't have time, or did I miss the memo that blogging is no longer something that people do?

If you are all sharing your hearts with others in person- awesome- but we are not made to hold it all in. How can we pray for each other and rejoice with victories if we don't know what's happening in their lives?

How is your soul? I know many are heavy, but there are some who are flying high- please let us help you carry your burden and let us exult our Great God as He works.

"My love"

Morning & Evening,
by Charles H. Spurgeon

"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away."
--Song of Solomon 2:10

"Listen! I hear the voice of the One I love! He is calling for me! The springtime weather has come, and he calls me to "Rise up" along with it and come away from this world. He is risen, and I am risen in Him. From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations of this world, I want to rise toward Him.

He calls me by the sweet title of "My love," and thinks of me as beautiful. I must go to Him, getting further and further away from everything selfish, worldly, and sinful-- away from mere outward religion that does not truly know Him or the mystery of the higher life.

I welcome His call for me to "Come away" for what is there to keep me in this wilderness of emptiness and sin? But how can I come away? I live among thorns and can not escape from them as I would like. If it were possible I would get rid of my eyes, and ears, and heart for sin. To come to You, O Lord, is a call to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging sea, to come to rest after long labor, to come to the goal of all my desires.

But Lord, can a stone rise by itself? No! You must raise me and draw me. Only Your grace can do it. Send Your Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will leave life and time behind me and come away.

[M&E]Revised and edited by William C. Neff, ©2003-2009

Oh that my heart would only have eyes for Him, that my only love would be Him, that the weight of sin would be gone and I would fly to Him and rest in purity forever. Until that day, there is a fight for my affections and I will fight, as He gives strength and will to battle.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Please- Love- God

Thinking about- Are working to please God and working because we love Him equal? I believe they are close but are they perfectly equal?

From a thread about always having to be doing spiritual things- I am convicted that I am often pointed in the direction of "Is this really a spiritual thing" vs. "Do I love God more than anything else and am I loving and pleasing Him in all that I do and say?" kind of direction.

Just something I have been pondering/wrestling with.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birth Defect

We spent part of the day at Children's hospital today- John's consult for future surgeries. Of course John has some birth defects- but as I sit in the waiting room and watch parents come in and out with their children, his seems like it is small compared to some. I find myself trying to figure out what might be the issue, but then does it really matter?

If I switch from physical to spiritual thoughts, we are all born with a spiritual birth defect- a sin nature. As people walk past us on the street some have "defects" that are much more obvious than others. Lives spent in dependence on drugs or alcohol, slaves to one vice or another. I can look at some and think "Their life is sure a mess", but w/o Christ all our lives are a mess. There is no shedding the sin that so easily besets us w/o the power of the Holy Spirit, just as there is no way to repair a cleft lip without surgery.

Back to the physical. It is hard to imagine all the pain and hurt that people have gone through and are going through with all the birth defects-alone- that we just saw today. Born with no arms, legs, holes in hearts, brain issues, seizures, blood problems and the list goes on and on. Why does God allow it- maybe to draw people to Himself, maybe it is a lack of blessing for not following closely to Him- only He knows why.

We must be thankful for things like health, because there is no guarantee it will be there tomorrow. God is good to allow us to live as He does and to provide for us in such amazing ways. What a plan He devised to give up His Son for our rescue from our sin. What a day to look forward to when all our pain is gone and we can worship Him perfectly. Are you ready?

PG update

I didn't post an update for last week and so here you go. After a huge month in March, the traffic seems more quiet this month. We have had decent sales but it seems like many are pretty small projects, compared with last month, and we don't have the volume, thus far, that we enjoyed then. The month is not over yet, but I like it to be really busy, not just sort of busy. He knows what we need and He has always provided so I must trust Him for all things.
Please continue to pray for signed contracts, dollars to come in and His provision of all that we need, even when we don't know what that is yet.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dippers and Drops

I was watching "Nova" the other night, and while I think that many of their views are WAY off base, there are things I can glean from it that I wouldn't know myself. I am taking the good out of the bad. Like, I don't believe there was a big bang, except if when God created the universe He said- "Bang- look at that!"

Anyway- the Novaians were talking about the stars and galaxies. Picture a clear night in a dimly lit place and you are looking up at the millions of stars. Sometimes there is a "hole" in the stars where we can't see a light in a small space. Because the Hubble telescope is out in space and of course is much more powerful than our naked eye, they are able to see into the black spot and look beyond it. Remember how much of the sky it is taking up. So they look beyond that little hole and find that there are 100,000 GALAXIES just in that little space. Of course it is not a little space when you get closer to it.

I try to walk in the mornings- it gives me time to think and now that my shoulder is doing better I can move around much better. Often when I am walking it is raining. If you only walk when the weather is nice here, you are not going to walk much. I was thinking the other morning that every single rain drop is placed perfectly by God. If you wear glasses you understand this- even the one that hits the rim of your glasses and then explodes all over your face. That drop could have fallen 1/2" in front of you and hit the ground, but God ordained it to hit your glasses. Every drop that falls where, in our opinion, there is too much rain, every drop that doesn't fall where in our opinion there is not enough rain and every drop that falls where we think it is just right. Every drop is controlled by God.

These are 2 completely different displays of God's power, one with gravity and one without; one is tiny in comparison to the other, but that tiny one is immense compared to us. God controls them all.

If God can create and sustain life on this planet, in a relatively small galaxy, if He can control where each rain drop falls, can He not also handle what might happen today? Does He not completely know what happened yesterday? Can He not renew our strength when necessary? Will He not care for His children and protect them from those who would do harm to them?

If you're struggling today with where God has you, for whatever reason, remember that He controls all things, He promises to use every situation for our good and His glory and He cares personally for each one of His children. I need reminding of this often and often need encouragement- encouragement that only He can give.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Must Read

Please read this when you have a couple of minutes to take a deep breath, relax and think about all that this is saying.

I guess I can relate in more ways than one. God is good!

The Easy Life

I was talking to a friend, recently, who told me that they used to live the "easy life". By this they meant- their life was really a mess, they never talked about any of the issues, they knew they should but it was just easier not to say anything and just go on with their life.

They have now come to the conclusion that their life is still a mess, there is still a lot to work on, they want it to change and it will never change if they don't do the hard thing and talk about those hard things.

How are we to love people and irritate them on to love and good deeds if we never say anything? As difficult as it is to hear that we are wrong, we must allow others to be in our lives enough to have the liberty to say something, and then we must be willing to hear it, receive it and understand that it was not easy for them to say the hard thing in the first place.

God created us for relationships; relationships to help us be who He would have us to be. We need to hear the hard things and say the hard things- in love; Gal.6.

Here's a good reminder- for pastors, but we can all take something away- from Tim Challies.

The following is an excerpt from a sermon by Matt Chandler.

"Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. (1 Timothy 4:15)

It seems that if we’re not careful, our faith can retard. What I mean is that Paul tells Timothy here that you are to be ever growing in these things. You are to be ever growing to the point that from year to year your people can notice your growth.

Can I plead with you? It seems to me that I meet a pastor whose heart is on fire for the things of God, and his brain when it comes to doctrine is just non-existent. Then I meet a pastor who has a gigantic head and they have this tiny, shriveled little soul. Some of that’s dispotion. I get that. But Paul is pleading with Timothy to let your growth be evident to all.

I think you should know your Bible a little bit better than you know your football team. I think that’s basic. People say that they’re not a good reader but can give me football statistics. They’re brilliant when it comes to 18-year-olds throwing a ball, but they can’t devote themselves to the Bible.

Paul says to pay attention to yourself and your teaching.

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16)"

A good reminder to those of us who have followers- including our own children. Can they see the growth in our lives?

Here's another good one to read.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Looking Upward

I have not posted as much as would have liked in the past month or so. I have been wrestling with a few things that have caused my heart to be heavy- ministry would be perfect if it weren't for us imperfect people. I can't share them right now, but I do know that God does work ALL things together for my good and I can trust that these things are no exception.

Isn't it amazing that He can take what seems to be a place where there is no way out, or the outlook is very bleak and turn that into a way to show how truly amazing He is?

Please pray for my own heart to not become cynical.
Please pray for the orphans around the world.
Please continue to pray for PG- sales, guidance and wisdom.
Pray that the Lord would return quickly to gather His Bride to Himself!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bit Random

In my daily- chronological- Bible reading plan there were a few things that stood out to me today.

1 Sam. 4- The Ark was not going to save the Israelites if God didn't want that to happen.
Chp. 5- the Ark didn't need the Israelites to protect it.
I love that the Philistines were trying to get it and as soon as they took it they realized that they really didn't want it.
Even the Philistines knew that if the cows took it back directly that this was the hand of God.
I laughed when I read about the Ark making their god "bow down" before it. Can you imagine what must have been going through their minds? Finally it just ends up to be a trunk- no arm and no head. And then they want to go back and worship that god? Talk about settling for "second".

Chp 8- Israel wants a king so they can be just like every other nation. Samuel knew this was wrong but he inquired of God and God told him to let the people have what they wanted. This reminds me of America- right now. We have the health care reform bill and maybe it is because we want to be like all the other nations in the world- we, supposedly, are the last major nation w/o this type of health care program. I don't want America to be like the rest of the world.

Interesting reading.

Then something a bit more random. How does John Piper endorse Rick Warren as being Biblical? Piper is giving his time and energy to some people who- in my opinion- should not be getting it; like Driscoll and now Warren. Is Piper paying attention?