Thursday, August 29, 2013

Warning signs in dating:

This goes not only for teens, but adults as well.  It also goes for male and female (though I wrote it for the female perspective).

Dating is hard.  Whether you're 15 and going on your first date or your 19 on your 18 on your first date in college, or your 47 dating, or your 57 dating after a divorce, dating is hard - and warning signs are so hard to spot by those In the relationship.

Here's a list, in no particular order, of some dating red flags.  Please hear me on this:  it's a red flag.  I realize there are exceptions, that's why I didn't say it was a black skull-&-crossbone flag (don't throw anything at me ;)

  1. Does he lose his temper often?
  2. Does he consider himself a failure?
  3. Is he looking for a rescuer?
  4. Has there been abuse in his home?
  5. Does he put you down or disrespect you?
  6. Does he treat you differently (good or bad) in front of other people vs. when you two are alone?
  7. Is he jealous and/or controlling?
  8. Does he need to spend All his free time with you?
  9. After beginning your relationship, has he pulled out of all other relationships and you are now his “only friend”?
  10. Does he want you to change who you are (even incrementally)?
  11. Have you (looking back) become his reflection (changed your look, your clothes, your friends, your music, your TV shows, your speech, etc)?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Baby Hope (With Addison Road's 'Hope Now')

As most of you know, last September my wife and I (after 8 unsuccessful months of trying) found out we were pregnant with our second baby.

We were ecstatic.
We took pictures, planned rooms, thought about names for either gender, made doctor visits, the whole 9 yards.

Then, just a few weeks later, the doctor told us the baby was gone.  It was over.  There was nothing anyone could do.

They sent us home with pain medication and told my wife to start that regiment while stopping her progesterone (which is required by her body to sustain the baby's life during pregnancy).

We were devastated.  Broken, forlorn.  But in all of the pain, my wife just refused to give up hope... it just didn't feel right.  She never filled the pain meds and she refused to stop taking the progesterone (at the doctor's and nurse's coddling disapproval).

We prayed.  Others prayed.  Hundreds prayed, perhaps more.

We didn't Know this baby was alive, we didn't Know God would heal/sustain this child, but we prayed for a miracle anyway - hoped for the best, prepared for the worst.  As I said in the midst of it, we had "cautious optimism interrupted by bouts of terror and fear"

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cynicism, Sarcasm, Pain, Hurt, teachers, gun control, and.... Jesus

My wife grew up with parents who, on nearly a daily basis, would tell her:
"You know who likes a smart aleck?  No one."

Me?  I grew up (originally) as the youngest of 4 with my older brother being 11 years my elder and my entire family holding PhDs in sarcasm.  
It wasn't, as the joke goes, a second language, it was our first.

Now, a smart aleck is defined by Merriam-Webster is an obnoxiously conceited and self-assertive person full of pretense who delivers their humor in an offensive, obnoxious, or cocky way.  
By that definition, I would have to agree with my wife's parents, however, I think there are people who recognize (and deliver) sarcasm as true humor (defined by the fact that others find it funny - not just the deliverer) making light of situations and making fun of the very pretense of the sarcasm/cynicism they speak of.  Now, I realize that many would disagree with me on that and who fall wholeheartedly in the mindset of my wife's parents, and that's okay, but un/fortunately, sarcasm still falls under my standard ROE.  

--Now that all of that has been said, I can actually Start talking about what this article is really about (relieved?):--

If you enjoy the humor of being sarcastic about cynicism and making fun of the very pretense of the cynical nature, welcome to the club, we have cookies.
If you are trying to perfect the 'art' of true cynicism.... stop.  Now.

Let me explain.  No, there's too much, let me sum up:

There are teachers who every fall joke about
"oh man, here come the kids - AHH!"
haha, yeah, we can all understand that, funny stuff.

Then there are teachers who really mean it.  They go on for weeks about how life as they know it is about to end, how awful IEP meetings are (and they are), how crazy parents are, how terrible kids are, how life is just going to suck until the next break.
You know who thinks that is funny?  You guessed it, no one.  Other teachers are embarrassed, friends are taken aback, parents are horrified.

Similarly, there are parents who joke every fall about
"WOO HOO!!  School starts tomorrow - MOM PARTY!"
and again, that's funny, we get it, haha.
Then, again, there are parents who genuinely talk for weeks about how they can't wait to get rid of these stupid annoying kids and is it time to hand them over to the teachers yet so they can have their life back????

The latter, in each example, thinks they are doing the same thing as the first.  They're not.  You're not.

Here, on a bigger picture, I am pro-gun (goodbye half of my audience ;)
I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe we have a right to defend our homes, our families, our neighbors, ourselves, our places of business, my kids, your kids, etc.
Now, there's been a lot of gun bill jockeying over the last 10 months or so and often times I get annoyed at one person or another and I enjoy funny facebook memes about the ridiculousness of the issue, etc.  But also, I am at risk of (internally) going too far, worrying too much, going to crazy....
ie. moving from that first person to the second.  I don't want that.  Ever.

What in the world does any of this have to do with a Christian blog or Biblical principles?

This is not our home.  We are an exiled people with no place here to call our permanent home.  We are Israel (God's people) wandering in the desert (even if the desert looks a lot like a cushy basement rancher in suburban America).
"Our citizenship is in Heaven" and we "have no city that is our own but seek the city that is to come".
And no matter how bad things get, that's to be expected, for in this world we will all experience tragedy but we can rejoice because He has overcome the world!

Most importantly, this can all be summed up with Romans 8:18 - The sufferings of this world aren't even worth talking about (let alone letting them consume us and control our actions, our outlooks, our attitude, steal our joy, blacken our hope, and create in us true cynics) when compared to the glory that is to come!

So rejoice always - pray continually - and give Thanks in ALL circumstances.  This world is not our home.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted

Bloom Where You're Planted:

From our discussion last night (

Here are the verses (and titles for each) that I shared:

Esther 4:14b                For what if TODAY was the day you were created for??

1 Corinthians 7:17      
Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.

Hebrews 12:1-3         
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

THE PLAN!!!!!!
Jeremiah 29:11-13     
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Get your hands out of your pockets and BE GOD!
Psalm 74:9-12                     
We are given no signs from God;
    no prophets are left,
    and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, God?
    Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
    Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But God is my King from long ago;
    he brings salvation on the earth.

-----------“Israel’s Misery” ------------------
Micah 7:7        But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.

John 10:3-5         The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
Phillipians 4:12-13            I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:19 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-34            

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Friday, August 9, 2013

"11 Things you might not understand about your minister"

Very powerful read that I would encourage Everyone to take just a couple of minutes and read through this man's thoughts that he's put together.

"You want us to be human, but not too human. Believe me, we know. And it’s probably for the best that we are charged with setting a good example, it makes sense. But just know, we sometimes envy your freedom to just be yourself."

Thursday, August 8, 2013

C.S. Lewis -- "Conversations with Clive"

Last night my dear friend Andrea Green and I had the opportunity to speak to a group at Highland View Church of Christ on C.S. Lewis.

Lots of great discussion on things such as:

  1. Is Lewis for everyone?
  2. What was the "Trip to the zoo?"
  3. The phases of Lewis' life (as evident in his works)
  4. The 'Lewis Trilema'
  5. Favorite work of Lewis
  6. Single most important work of Lewis
  7. Why A Grief Observed is so important
  8. Why Lewis' work (now 50 years after his death) is still so relevant, so sustainable
One of the best points that many people have asked about is the fact that we both agreed you simply can Not read 1 Lewis work.  Nor can you pick and choose a completely random order in which to read them.  Lewis' life goes through distinct phases, as we all do (as does all of our walks with God):  Atheist, curious, Logical, Faith based (honey moon phase), doubt-pain-fear-anger-grief.  You simply can not choose 1 piece of that life and get an idea of the cycle that we all (not many so honestly and raw as Lewis) go through.  A Huge part of his work is seeing his life, his walk with God, as this truly raw ebb and flow - up and down - positive and doubtful - joyful and grief stricken - faithful and angry - logical and relational.

If you had to choose an order, and focused solely on his 'major' works, the most important thing is for the works to be book-ended with Mere Christianity first and A Grief Observed last (A Grief Observed always last....).
The order, should you desire, would look something like this:

Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, (The Abolition of Man), The Great Divorce, (The Problem of Pain), (Surprised by Joy), (Miracles), and A Grief Observed.