We are so grateful for everyone who voted and the suggestions made by our friends. Thanks to those suggestions, we've added 3 new names along with the 2 top names from the previous poll. Happy voting!!!!
... and we need to name her! She's some kind of shepherd mix that we're adopting. She and Jamin are quite crazy about eachother, and her temperment is ideal for his toddler antics. If you have time, please check out the video, and if not, just look at her picture and vote on what name you like best, or suggest a new one! We'll end voting on Tuseday, January 19.
So, it was dad day and Jamin and I collaborated on his very first Lego Fort. It was quite amazing. The incredible Hulk stood guart in the fire truck crow's nest and the fleet of vehicles stood guard in case there were any unfriendly invaders (Mango and Chuck).
Colossians 1:13 – 18 “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
Jesus is our King – “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
Jesus is our Redeemer – “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus is our God – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Jesus is our Creator – “For by Him all things were created, both in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Jesus is our Sustainer – “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Jesus is our Leader – “He is also head of the body, the church”
Jesus is our First Priority – “and He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”
In the song, "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road there is a line that says, "I tried to hear from heaven but I talked that whole time." When I first heard that line on the radio something struck me pretty hard and pretty deeply. The following lines of the song say, "I think I made you too small. I never feared you at all, no." Something inside of me woke up as those words played on the radio in my car. I didn't really know what to make out of it at the time but as I heard the song over and over again the Holy Spirit began to identify who I was being through the words of that song. I am a pastor. I am a preacher. I am a teacher of the Word of God. I have been set apart as one who is destined to live as a prophet to God's people as well as the lost. Prayer is a non-negotialbe aspect of my life. It's not something I can do without. So I pray. I wake up, fuzzy headed and someone confused and stumble through some sort of prayer thanking God that I'm alive yet another day. I ask Him to prepare me for the day ahead. Then when I get into the office I pray again. I spend time searching God's word and praying for confidence and direction for my life and ministry. Then I pray some more through out the day, asking God to help me say the right words to hurting people in the hospitals or to have something significant and meaningful to share with students at the schools. I pray that I would see the opportunities God is granting me to minister to His people. Then I go home and I pray for Leslie and Jamin. I pray for our finances and I pray for our time together as a family. I pray for people who have asked me to pray. I pray a lot. But something I've noticed about my prayers is that they are filled with my words. They are filled with my whispers of my thoughts and my ideas. They are filled with my attempts to say the right things to God in such a way that He would hear them, be pleased and grant me whatever it is I'm asking Him for. What God started to show me through the words of that song is that even though I pray a lot I really don't even know what I'm doing. I've been reading a book called, "Walking with God" by John Eldredge. In that book John talks very candidly about his prayer life. He gives specific examples of what he prays, how he prays, when he prays and the amazing thing for me is he cites time and time again of how he has actually heard from God in the same moment he was praying. Rarely has this ever happened to me. It has happened but not nearly as regular as John says it happens to him. So I've been working on that lately. I've been working on the fact that I pray so much but hear so little. Here are just a few things I've been doing lately to try and refocus my prayers. 1. I ask God what I should pray. I stop to ask God what needs to be prayed for. When something comes to my mind I pray for that. I try to be open to whatever God puts on my mind to pray about. I pray for for those things until God places something else on my mind to pray about. This goes on for some time. Sometimes a long time, other times not so long. By asking God what to pray for I am submitting my efforts in prayer to His will. Essentially, I'm aligning my prayers with His heart. 2. I use less words than I used to. I try not to fluff my prayers with anything that is not essential to the meaning of what I'm trying to say. I try not to tell God what He knows. I come to God with an attitude in my heart that reflects my understanding of who He is and who I am and I leave it at that. God doesn't need directions on how to help me. I simply bring my desires to Him and ask him simply to work it all out to bring Him glory. I don't dress my desires up in fancy religous lingo. I just simply say, God, I really want......to happen in my life. Please make it happen. Then I let that be it. If He grants it the way I desire, then great. If not then my desire must have been outside of His will for my life and I trust that God's will is much better than anything I could think of on my own. 3. I ask very specific questions and wait for the answers. This is where it gets really tough. Sometimes I ask God for things in generic ways. I say things like, God show me what you want me to do. Or, God lead me and I'll follow. These things in essence aren't bad things to pray. I just think they are too broad for us to really get any definate answer most of the time. So now I pray about specific things. I pray, God should I go to the schools today? If yes, then, God who should I sit with? And so on. Sometimes we start out specific. Like, should we do.... Then we just leave it at that. We get step one but never ask about step 2, or 3 and so on. So, those are the three things I've been working on in my prayers. I'm still no pro at it but as far as I can tell these things are making a difference in how frequently I hear from God while I pray. It's been amazing on the few occasions I've really heard definate answers from my Father. I know it will take time to build up my receptiveness and to really hone in on my connection with God's voice but I know I'll get there. Most people would say that prayer is a spiritual discipline. That means we have to practice it, learn new things about it, and work at it to become good at it. I think any one of God's children can pray. But just like a child who grows and understands how to communicate better as they mature, we too must grow and mature in the way we speak to God. If you are speaking to God the same way you did a year ago, 2 years ago, 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago then something just isn't right. Imagine if a person stopped maturing in their communication skills at 3 years old. Well, that's what we do sometimes. We stop advancing our understanding of how to pray and we don't seek to understand more effective ways of talking with God. I hope my three steps help and if you have any others that are helpful to you why don't you share?
So someone in our church gave us two tickets to go watch the Tennessee Titans take on the Green Bay Packers in their last preseason game. I was immediately excited about the fact that I was going to go watch the Titans. I had never been to a professional football game and just really thought that it was going to be so spectacular. To my surprise and disappointment I must say that the experience was somewhat lack-luster.
Leslie and I had a great time, don't get me wrong. I appreciate greatly the wonderful couple who gave us the tickets. The atmosphere was wonderful and the game was entertaining. However, I think I have too short of an attention span to enjoy a game surrounded by thousands of people who are also entertaining to watch. I found myself watching the people around me as much as I did the game. People just intrigue me.
So, if someone were to offer us tickets agian, of course I would accept them and go. I did have fun. But if it comes down to me buying the tickets or watching the game from the comfort of my couch, I'll take the couch.
Waiting is one of the hardest things for me to do. I'm not really the type of person who finds any use in waiting. I don't even like for other people to have to wait. But waiting is a part of life that I can not avoid. Since waiting seems to be a neccessary evil, I think it's important to know how to handle times of waiting in a positive way. 1. When waiting for something to happen or come about, it does no one any good to worry about what can not be changed. For example. When I put my lunch in the microwave this afternoon, I do no good by bending down to watch the food heat up through the little window in the microwave door. Me watching the food cook isn't going to speed up the proccess. In fact, I think you can get brain tumors by doing this. So, I will just wait. I'll do something else in the mean time like pour my drink or try to find the pizza cutter. This kind of waiting is easy because we know when the waiting time is going to be over. When I hit 3:30 on the microwave I know it is going to be 3 minutes and 30 seconds before my food is ready. 2. Then there is waiting on something that doesn't have that definate time phrame. These are the circumstances that are most difficult to wait in. In my 27 years of waiting, I've found the following to be true. Worry, complaining and negativity do not speed up results. Neither do patience, cooperation and having a positive attitude, however the latter does allow for the waiting period to not be so miserable. So as I wait for answers, for change, for breakthroughs, I will wait with an expectant, positive and grateful attitude. I know God is doing something in my life and Romans 8:28 promises me that if I am faithful to the Lord and will focus on His will, it's all going to work out to be good in good time.