Archive for April, 2008

(Note — I had prepared this post last September on an airplane, but never did actually publish it.  I just saw it in my drafts folder and felt it was worth posting, so I am publishing it now, 8 months later anyway!)

I am writing this from probably 20-30,000 feet in the air.  I am on vacation, exactly where I want to be right now.  I have been having really great conversation with my wife, which is an absolute joy.

In the world’s eye though, this should not be a happy moment for me.  I should be mad, frustrated and upset.  You see, the journey thus far has not been a joyful one if you look at it from a certain perspective.  We had a 3:30 p.m. flight to Cancun.  We were on our way to 7 days of all inclusive sunny Caribbean happiness.  Sound like fun?  Oh yeah.  I have been looking forward to this for weeks now. 

Bad things tried to happen to us.  Our originating flight was delayed by weather for 2 1/2 hours.  We only had 45 minutes to make our connection in the first place, so it was looking pretty ugly.  Who cares?  My wife and I decided we would be together, exactly where God put us, no matter what physical location that ended up being.  We prayed that God would just give us joy as we watched the frustrated people around us sink into depression.  That was a huge victory for us.  Long story short, we arrived at our connection point and had 6 minutes to make it to our connection. For some reason, that flight had been delayed as well (and was waiting on us), imagine that.  We made the flight.  Thank you Lord.

So now we are on the final leg of our journey, and will arrive at our destination just a couple of hours late, but relaxed and thankful to God not just that we got there, but that we managed to somehow have a God experience, just in the simple process of flying in an airplane.  Is it a miracle?  NO.  It is a God thing, and they happen every day.  I honestly think God honored our attitude, our prayer, and gave us a fun journey while people around us griped and complained.

God things are all around us, and I am so grateful that he has given me a hunger to look for them, even when MY plans seem to go awry.  An even greater joy is that I got to share it with the partner God gave me, and who I love dearly — my wife.  Thank you for her Lord.

As you take your next step, and I mean the VERY next one, look for God.  He’s there — I promise, it is a 100% guaranteed event.  Look for Him, he will make himself visible, and you too will then know the joy of my day today.  That joy comes from knowing that not only was God there, but I saw him.

Thank you Lord.

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Click to view clipartThis is not a blog post with answers.  It is one with questions.  Help me with your thoughts please.

I struggle at times.  I struggle to stay near God, and the warmth of his fire and his presence.

As I move through each day, I have my moments when I talk to God, moments when I listen to God, and then there are those moments when I cry out for God.  Regardless of which of those it is, I stay warm when in those moments, because I am near to God.  Then I am ashamed to admit that I have those moments when I am not thinking about God at all.  I know why — it is because I am walking away from His fire, and I lose the “moment”.

When I am away from God, I feel cold.  I feel alone, frustrated, and easily defeated.  When I am with Him, I feel warm and empowered.  Yesterday in church we were singing “How great is our God”, and it felt so warm.  Then when I was on my way home, I was playing the Casting Crowns song, “Between the altar and the door”.  The song talks about how we lose our follow through between the promise we make to God at the altar, and the door when we leave the church.  That is when we walk away from the fire.

Stay with me here a minute.  The warmth comes from being next to God’s fire and the incredible warmth we get from being there.  But when we walk away from the altar and the fire (and into the world), we lose that warmth.  I believe it is because we step out of the moment (where God is), and begin to depend on ourselves.  Consider this verse:

Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth.

Staying in the moment means staying close to the fire.  It is easy to leave the moment (and God) behind, and step out of that warmth.  When I shift my thoughts to the next thing, I start depending on my own ability.  That always leads to trouble.  When I step out of the warmth, I step towards sin and things not of God.

So how do we take the moment (the altar, the fire) with us?  How do we move forward through our day and not leave God behind.  How do we “Be still”, yet keep our life moving?

What are your thoughts?

My friend Tito…

Posted: April 22, 2008 in My Life

I just got back from a mission trip with my church to Honduras, but that is not what this post is about.  When I got back, I had an email from an old friend.  It was a very nice surprise.

Tito was a guy I worked with at MAP International probably at least 10-12 years ago.  Tito and I had this passionate and fiery relationship that I describe as one of my best working relationships ever.  Half the time we laughed and had fun, half of the time we argued voraciously.  Regardless of which it was that day, we walked out of the room passionate about our relationship and with a healthy ability to keep “duking it out”.  The passion we both brought to the table on the projects we worked on was pretty intense.  We did not always agree, but we did agree to disagree pretty well.  As I look back on my now 25 or so year working career, I have had a couple of these relationships, and they are the ones I enjoy the most, mostly because they seemed to stay pretty honest.  If I felt Tito was being an idiot, I told him so and vice versa.  I am ashamed to admit there was one time (okay, may two) that he was probably right.  We had the passion of youth, but lacked the maturity of experience.  But the bottom line was, we respected each others passion, committment and ability to get the job done.

In the last couple of days, Tito and I have had a great exchange of updating info, and it is very nice to see that we have both matured and see things in a different light.  It would be interesting to see how our working relationship would be different considering the life experiences we now posess.  I would be surprised to see that Tito had lost passion, but if he is like me, the things we are passionate about are vastly different than they were years ago.

I am thankful for relationships God has given me in my life, and Tito definitely counts as one of those.  Thanks Tito, for reaching out to me again.  I am sure you are still idotic about a few things, but my ideas could have a few flaws in them still myself…  🙂