Jun 30, 2007

A Prayer and Meditation

Originally posted 7:10am Friday, Nov 24, 2006 on Facebook, yet quite applicable now

Sorry... it's a very rough 1st draft, but its straight from the heart!


Send your Spirit to comfort me, in this moment of weakness
Hold me in your arms, and let me feel your presence
Calm my spirit, and still my mind
Heal my heart, as only you can

Tell me you love me, and that I am your child
Bind up my spirit, and give me your strength
Give me clarity of vision, so I can see your will
And purity of heart, to follow in obedience

Help me to seek you, more every day
Help me to love you, with all that I am
Teach me restraint Lord, as I wait on you
Help me be a servant, who loves you so

Fill me with your Spirit, as never before,
With your love, with your joy, and with your peace
So that in being filled, I overflow
And others you touch, through my life

My father I love you, and I thank you too
For using one entirely unworthy, and deserving to die
Thank you for your patience, and your tender care
For the way that you love me, and stand near by!


Proverbs 30:2-3 “Surely I am more stupid than any man, And I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.”

Jun 25, 2007

A sloppy springboard from John 10

Originally posted 11:39pm Sunday, Nov 26, 2006 on Facebook

John 10:10-13 0 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. 12 "He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 "He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd”… wow what a statement and a teaching!!! This should be the motto and heartbeat of ALL of our ministry and personal / interrelationships. We need to stop looking at things and people through self-serving vision and truly, earnestly be concerned with their well being above our own. Self-sacrifice is the model here (John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends). It is only when you come to the point that you totally abandon all concern for yourself and your own well being, for that of another person, that you even begin to catch a GLIMPSE of what it means to love in Christ (and I do not claim to have arrived). It means laying down all rights (and especially pride), at all costs, so that the other person can be built up in Him. If that means allowing them to step on your back to reach the next step, or even costing your own life, so be it! A shepherd is one who loves and owns his sheep. He knows them by name and protects them at all costs, they are dear to his heart. A hired person is only there for the money (insert other random self-serving things here) and has no investment in, commitment, or loyalty to the sheep. Thus, when trouble comes, his own wicked, self-preservation takes over and he runs, leaving the sheep unguarded and lost!

I must reflect and sadly admit the number of times I have been a hireling. No, not for money, but for equally selfish reasons. When we talk to someone or interact with them, what is our motive? It should be to see them brought closer to Christ, at any cost. If their personality or mannerisms bother us, of what eternal significance is it, compared with their spiritual edification?! If a misunderstanding, why must I be right? Note: I am not talking about matters of scriptural truth here, I am speaking of people’s interactions. Is it not better to “give ground” for the sake of their spiritual growth? Or are we so weak in faith and love, that we are willing to let our pride and EVIL ambitions prevent the other person’s growth? Do we lift ourselves up, on their back? God forbid!!! This is the antithesis of love in Christ!

Colossians 3:12-14 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

Or are we so short-sighted that we don’t even realize what we are (or aren’t) doing? Do we see through our eyes, or the eyes of Christ? Brothers, we must bear with one another, building each other up, for the sake of the kingdom, with a PURE motive of LOVE IN CHRIST. We must CRUCIFY that evil, arrogant pride that destroys, and through the spirit, receive a new heart of love and compassion, which builds up eternally!!!

Ezekiel 11:19 19 "And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh
Matthew 6:19-21 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

May God grant us eternal vision and blind us to ourselves!!!

2 Corinthians 4:18 …we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Are you as jealous over God’s flock as He is?

May God grant mercy and forgiveness for our manifold failures and transgressions against each other, and ultimately, against Him, as we throw ourselves at His mercy, trusting only in the blood of Christ!!!

Jun 20, 2007

What is a True Martial Artist?

Originally posted 2:21am Saturday, Jan 6 on Facebook

Honor, integrity, respect, and especially humility accompany any true martial artist. Beware of the one lacking in these things. Outwardly consider him a plague to be avoided, yet treat him carefully when you cannot. In your mind consider him an enemy; a viper waiting to strike that cannot be trusted. He is puffed up, deceitful, and dangerous above all. He is a volatile bomb waiting for any chance to demonstrate his own perceived power. He is no better than a bully in a schoolyard. To the one lacking in these things, beware the one who boasts not in himself!

Remember, a man boasts not in the things in which he is the most confident, but rather in the things he lacks!

A few related scriptures…

Matthew 23:11-12 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

Psalm 20:7 Some boast in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the LORD.

Psalm 34:2 My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.

Psalm 94:4 How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

Jun 14, 2007

Calling all Prayer Warriors

I am in desperate need for prayer. I am under MAJOR spiritual attack. I can’t go into too many specifics, but will give a few below. I am under attack from every perceivable angle and am not sure whether the bullets are flying from without or within. Every possible area of my life is being attacked right now, including the most important one (aside from the obvious), my relationships with a few key people. There have been a number of misunderstandings and I’m not sure whose perceptions are altered, or both. Please pray in general, but especially for my perception. I am not sure if the attacks are all external, or if I may be self-deceived in some way and causing some of them myself. Any time that someone is on the move for Christ, Satan and the powers of darkness attack. That is true and trustworthy, but is it because I’m on the move, or am I the cause of my own downfall / troubles?! I have focused mostly on the latter part, but the other areas are under just as much attack, please pray for me, especially over this weekend as I am dedicating it to this issue.

Thanks! Love in Christ!

Jun 9, 2007

Sweet Wine

Originally posted 6:30am Saturday Dec 30, 2006 on Facebook

Meditation on Sweet Wine

So many conversations around here (here being the Seminary) stem around marriage and singleness. This one goes out first to myself, and then to all of my single friends. Also, please forgive me if there are mistakes in here (logical or technical). It’s late and I’m tired, so I may have to come back and revise later.

One of my constant meditations is that of God’s salvation. No, not salvation in the eternal sense, though that is certainly worthy of constant meditation. Here, I mean in the sense of preserving my physical life. One of my favorite things to focus upon is traffic lights. I wonder how many times the Lord has preserved my physical life with the simple device of a traffic light. The number must surely be astounding (yes, for the theologians, I realize that he is doing so every moment of every day, but I speak here from the temporal perspective). I think about this sometimes, especially at traffic lights as they are something so many tend to curse (if not in the literal sense, in the sense of being aggravated by them). I must admit that I find myself annoyed by them sometimes too, but am immediately reminded of this meditation. How many times has the Lord used the timing of the traffic light to preserve my life from some unknown danger that lie ahead and would have taken my life, had I been there a second earlier (or later)?!!! The key is timing. God’s timing demonstrates his infinite wisdom, power, and glory. Even in something as simple as a traffic light, this can be seen.

So often we speak about God’s timing being absolutely good and perfect. We glory in it and say that we agree with and are thankful for it. In the ‘little’ things I think that we probably do. It’s easy to step back and think of a traffic light being used to demonstrate God’s timing, yet, as we so often do, when it comes to things that are dear to our hearts, we seem to think that we know best. We become impatient and discontented. We then ‘take’ things out of God’s hands and try to handle them ourselves. Then we read the story of Abraham and Sarah and condemn them for laughing and for their actions. We can trust God with the ‘little’ things, but not the ‘really important’ things. Do we really believe in his timing?

For those that are single, we must realize that timing comes into play in the second most important way of our lives when we discuss relationships and ultimately marriage. The first, is obviously salvation. Nothing else can compare to that. However, God’s timing for our marriage (if indeed we are to marry, as some are not), is the next most important thing in our earthly lives. It involves the right person, the right preparation, and the right timing. While we are single, we should be focused on being content, yet looking to the future. We must also focus on serving Christ during this special time of undivided devotion and growing as close to him as possible. During this time we must be meditating on him and allowing him to refine us for our future spouse. We must constantly be watching and growing, especially in terms of the qualities needed for marriage. Most importantly, we must be in prayer, sincerely asking that the Lord would prepare our future spouse for us and us for our future spouse and bring the two together in the fullness of time, in his time and in his way. It’s all about preparation in the proper timing.


What do you think of when I say ‘timing’? Are you a musician, a dancer, a martial artist, so on and so on… How important is timing in these things? Do we really think that we can master these things better than God? Do we really think we can orchestrate things in such a way as to bring about good? No, my friends we must realize that the master of timing is infinitely wise and trust in the giver of all good gifts! How devastating to the musical score it would be if the notes were not given the proper timing. How devastating to my health if my timing in the martial arts is not correct (as my recent ankle injury has proven). How devastating to the dance (and the dancers) it would be if the timing was not correct. You get the point. Without proper timing, there is only devastation. I think back just a few years ago when I believed myself to be ready for marriage and thank God that he preserved some young woman from being bound to me (this is hypothetical, as I have never dated, for those that might wonder about inconsistencies in my speech). I was not ready and devastation would have been the result. We must also refrain from comparing ourselves to others (as always), thinking, they are younger than I am, why are they married and the like (or God forbid we be so arrogant as to think ourselves more ‘ready’ than they are). It is not for the thing made to say to the maker why, but to submit, rejoicing in his wisdom. We must realize how fatal a mistake in this area can be. If not, we prove our ignorance of the gravity of such a decision (and our ignorance of the nature, power, and wisdom of God).

Now we come to the inspirational illustration that sparked this entire note… sweet wine. The thought came to me randomly (the randomness is no surprise to those that know me) that I was being aged and prepared just like sweet wine. Now, for the record, I’ve never tasted wine and don’t really know anything about it (alcoholic father), so I had to do a little research here (and still don’t know why this, of all things, was the illustration contrived within my mind). I found that ‘sweet wine’ is really the most popular and desired wine. It contains alcohol, but its content is much lower than ‘dry wine.’ Sweet wine is made when it is aged ‘just so.’ If it is too soon, you have grape juice, not wine. If too late, you have more alcohol than wine (dry). Thus the desirable sweet wine, is attained when the aging is properly timed. Even in the aging process there are many factors that affect getting ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ sweet wine. The type of grapes used, the specific fermentation process, and even the way in which the future wine is stored contribute to the quality and ‘fullness’ of the wine. Again, preparation and timing.

If we truly desire God’s greatest glory in our lives we must realize that only his timing and his chosen person will do. If we truly believe this, it will be evident in our conduct and our attitudes. We will overcome all discontentment and impatience, and be joyful* when things we view as good fall through, since it is simply further evidence of Christ’s preparation and timing in our lives. If not, then it is not marriage we seek, but a selfish fulfillment of our own desires!

*Note: I am not talking about being joyful FOR a heart being broken or being joyful if we have been mistreated. But even in these things we can be joyful that God has preserved us from going further into these situations and from even worse ones. These also serve to remind us to seek God in our decisions and not our own desires or what seems good to us (ever heard of Samson?).

Jun 8, 2007

Another Riddle

Riddle: Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!!!

Comment: I’m dying here!

Jun 2, 2007

A Broken Down Truck and Jesus

Hey, it is going to take me a little bit to set this one up and it may seem like pointless rambling, but PLEASE bear through til the end… God is SO good!

Well… as some of you know (and many of you don’t), I am back in SC for the summer working for my old company Palmetto Residential Electric. I love this job and especially this company. God is SO good to have given me such a wonderful, Christian boss. It is also SO good to come back after a year and a half of working elsewhere and be received with (literal) open arms and still held in the same respect (or better) as you left with (at least from those that are still there, the other don’t know me). Simply being able to be “acknowledged as” and “held in esteem as” an electrician is refreshing. I know that I know my stuff, but in KY that doesn’t matter unless you are a part of the “good ole boy” system… but that is a rant for another day :) Anyway, on I ramble… One of the great blessings of coming home (and the purpose for the above rabbit chase) is that my boss ALWAYS makes sure that I have a truck right away. We drive these company trucks home and to the job site, which means that we don’t pay gas or have to worry about nail-holes in our tires.

Now to get to the point of this whole fist section… I have been driving back and forth from Charleston to the Hilton Head, SC / Savannah GA area where my company has a new shop (and thus needs help). So, I’ve been driving “my truck” up and down the highways. The other day I was bragging that though that truck is one of the worst on gas, it is one of the best trucks mechanically… that it had served well for a long time and was still running strong.

Well… as you may have guessed, we broke down. It was Friday and I had a helper with me and we were heading back to Charleston (under time constraints) in order to be able to pick up our paychecks before the weekend. Now, for the record, this truck has been reliable mechanically, but other things (such as the a/c, the gas gauge and so on, quit working some time ago - and also BTW, I don’t know what it is with me and vehicles that don’t have air!). That said, I have to keep track of the mileage in order to know when to fill up. I usually fill up at 350 and the trip meter was as 289. As we passed a gas station (it was the grace of God that this happened at the only gas station within about an hour and a half), the truck started revving down and we coasted to a stop. I thought it was way too early for gas, but walked to the gas station and got a gallon… still wouldn’t start. Anyway, to skip the details I have been told I include way too much, it would have been a three hour wait (at least) to be towed or picked up. Yet, God is faithful and another mechanic was heading our way (also to go back to Charleston). Thus, he picked us up and we were on our way.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m boring you with all of this stuff… Ok, I could tell you about being a witness in the way that I handled everything and so on, and it is true. However, the long ride back provided some interesting conversation. I listened and tried to be interested as they talked of Mexican dancing bars and drinking and so on, and once in a while chimed in where it was appropriate (such as dancing – thanks Bryant). We dropped off the helper and went to the shop, loaded some wire, and so on. Then, he started asking me about myself (since he had started since I left) and about school (yes, we (seminarians) all know this awkward moment as we wait to see how they will react). He then started asking me all kinds of questions from Christian history to sin issues. I was so excited and surprised. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but rarely does the Lord “hand me someone on a silver platter” that way (hah!, take that Herodias!!!). Anyway, we probably sat in that truck for about 2 hours and he was SO close… he was peering into the pool, but just not quite willing to jump in. He was hung up where so many are, thinking that he must first clean up his life and then come to Jesus. He had no problem admitting that he was sinful and that he didn’t follow Jesus, per se (though he didn’t want to seem worse than anyone else). He felt that Jesus was real and that he was probably the answer, but he wasn’t sure if he could “give up” the “guilty pleasures” in life. There was the bottom line. The beautiful thing to this is that he realizes that there is obligation and duty (which is something that we Christians could sometimes learn from), that commitment is required. I commended him on this understanding and then discussed that coming to Christ is a matter of coming “as is” and that Christ through the Holy Spirit would change his desires… that it is no longer “I can’t,” but “I no longer desire.” Another really exciting thing from this conversation is that he can remember specific times (well, at least one OTHER specific time) that he KNEW the Spirit of God was reaching out to him!!! Folks, that was his terminology, not mine… he actually reached out his hand, emulating the way he felt God calling him. Though I didn’t shrink from the truth, I did not end this conversation with a specific challenge, something some may scold me for, as I felt that the Spirit was working on him and, at least for the moment, it was better to leave it there. I just gave him a general challenge and encouraged him to continue to meditate upon these things and to listen to the Spirit. He thanked me for being willing to talk with him and answer questions and not just “get in his face and tell him he was going to hell” (though, again, I did discuss hell and the destiny of all who are not in Christ, just not in a judging manner). I thanked him for the conversation and assured him that he was not bothering me (he was genuinely worried that I would be annoyed by all the questions), and that I LIVED for conversations like this. We parted ways, committing to talk again (but by this time it was late and we were both very tired).

So, what’s my point in this post… am I going to write about every single witnessing encounter? Well, the answer is no, I am not going to write about all of them. My point is two-fold. My first point is that this is the first full gospel presentation (note: not full-gospel :) I have had the privilege of being a part of since being back home. That said, my true first point is to ask you guys to pray for Craig as the Spirit is mightily at work in him right now and for me as I seek to be a wise and willing signpost. My second point is to bring the ministry here to your mind with a real example and ask you to pray for more opportunities and for spiritual fruit.

May the Lord reap in His harvest and may I be a faithful laborer!