A "Mark"ed Man

Musings of a generally balanced Bible enthusiast.

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Location: Lubbock, Texas, United States

It's overused, I know, but I love Jesus first and my family second--everything else is such a distant third that none of it bears mentioning.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Raining on My Head

Time to blog. They will probably cut me off forever if I don't put something new on this thing soon. But luckily, I did have a good experience to blog about yesterday so I don't think they'll be taking my "blogging card" away any time soon.

Last week, I was asked if I would bring the message at church this week (yesterday, I mean). It was part of a series that was just loosely based on a family vacation series and my topic had to do with being sure to stop at some "rest areas" along the way--you know, enjoy the vacation and not just rush around and wind up being exhausted rather than refreshed.

I live in Lubbock, as the heading for the blog says, and whether you are aware or not, we have made national news over the past couple of weeks because our city council has made an official proclamation/declaration that yesterday was to be our city wide day of fasting and prayer. There is a lot about this on the internet and it is amazing how many detractors are out there. We are simply experiencing a serious drought and our city council and mayor are devout enough to believe the real Source of rain is alive and personal and would like for us to acknowledge Him.

So anyway, this was mentioned at our weekly service yesterday morning and we prayed together in this regard before my "sermon." When the speaker was talking about this I got a real check in my spirit that I felt I simply could not ignore as God was wanting me to change my message topic to this--the fact that He is in control of the rain. To make a slighly longer story short, God sent me to I Kings 17-19 and I brought the "message" (me leading this group through this text about YHWH's power over the greatest of the storm gods--Baal). I was empowered by Him and it was great. The comments I got afterword were overwhelmingly positive including things such as "edge of my seat" and "Wow, that was great!"

This doesn't happen often, but when I does from time to time I am always so glad that God chooses to do this. I am very confident that God has made a teacher first and foremost and I always come straight out of His word moving fairly methodically through a text so that I will stay very close to the author's original intent. I don't know what more to say about this really, but I'm so glad God used me this way. I love being a servant and especially when I know that I am so definitely embedded in His purpose and will in a given situation. What I do know is that people love God's word when it simply presented in the way that lets that text take center stage and just come to life. It just needs to presented as REAL, like it is, with real passion and by really helping the people to EXPERIENCE IT! The Word really is alive. We need to stop passively attempting to assassinate it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Is There Room in This Town for the Two of Us?

There is another man. That was hard to say, but at least it's out there. (I hope it becomes a more cathartic experience as time goes on and I keep saying it.)

I can smell the other man in my home. I can see what is left behind from his foraging ventures into my kitchen. I spot the tracks that he leaves on my floor and his signature indentation that remains so steadfastly on certain pieces of my furniture--that I bought, mind you. I am fully aware that he kisses my wife often. Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of this man in a moment of thoughtfulness (either mine or his--it doesn't matter) and he has been known to speak in my presence words that are stunningly profound. His insights have caught me off guard before but their frequency is steadily increasing and I consider that I may have only a short time before his keen observations see through the facade I have thus far maintained.

My wife and I have been told more than once that we each have a Mini-Me that lives with us. It's true. They have been that for some time--"mini" that is. But now, it is one day after my son's 12th B-day. He is now 5'3" (I'm 6'5" so I feel I have some time to keep my bluff in physically, at least) and wears a size 8 shoe. I don't know that I've taught him enough to meet his 13th year of life. We've never been camping (some of you gasp, I know, but it's just never been my thing). We've never been fishing or hunting together (no, my name's not "Nancy"). He's never seen me change the oil on our car (mainly because I haven't done it myself since the end of my high school years).

In my defense, though, I taught him to use several tools. We've constructed several things together that were fairly intricate and he has learned to love hockey which he practices every week during the fall-spring months. He is also a gentleman, holding doors and volunteering a hand to anyone in need, of which I am very proud.

Still, he is the other man, now. But I think I can stand it. Perhaps there is enough room in this town for another "regular-sized" me. I'm proud of who he is and I'm particularly proud that people might think I had something to do with it.

God bless you, Son, in all the days to come. I love you. I will be there for you. You are truly one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive.

Wanna go camping? *Gulp-please say "no"*

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Smiley

I'm back. I feel like I've become a blog-leper, almost--whatever that means. I have been wanting to write for a long time (since my last blog, actually) but I have been trying to do a lot online, etc. I have been turning in papers for master's classes and trying to finish some online appication submissions for potential ministry opportunities. Actually, my wife and I are considering working with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I don't know what will come of it, but I know that the ball is in their court for now. (It should be, though, as they have almost everything except a stool sample from me at this point.)

So today was another day on the road for me, delivering appliance parts to a couple of cities about 2-1/2 hours from Lubbock. Actually, if you remember the movie Friday Night Lights with Billy Bob Thornton (I never saw it), then you know where I was. It is those two cities that were most spotlighted in the movie. Anyway, on the way back from my delivery, I take a route that is different from the one on the way there. I go through a lot of desolate country that would make most snakes want to leave the area when compared to almost anywhere else. Still, there are also a lot of plowed fields this time of year with pre-irrigation and planted fields that are starting to grow well.

I'm always pleased to pass one farm in particular. It is somewhere not far out of Lamesa, TX, and the house is not that big and the rows of red soil go on and on, just like most any farm in the area. But the one striking feature is that out in the middle of the field is a giant yellow smiley face--the kind you've all seen a hundred times, at least. It's just a giant, bright yellow "Have a great day" to any and all of us who pass along the road about a hundred yards away. As "corny" as some might say it seems, the truth is it really is a bright spot in my Thursday. I love the smiley.

Don't we all need someone to smile at us everyday? To tell us that everything really is OK and that a smile will go a long way to helping us have a better day? I think we do. We need hope, joy, smiles in our life. It really is catchy. I'm glad I get to pass that farm every week, and I'm glad they keep that smiley set up for all of us. The farmer's life is no picnic, I know. So if they can keep a smile on for the rest of us, then it shouldn't be too difficult for me, should it?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Family in Paradise

I have a lot to do--plus I'm minus my family until tomorrow afternoon. That could be good because it gives just a bit of personal time to try and finish a couple of things. I'm writing an archaeology paper for a class I haven't completed yet from the spring. I also need to get an annotated bibliography done. These are fun things, though, because I love school and the study of anything biblically related is wonderful. But it still takes time and between two jobs and helping as much as possible at the church, I'm a bit strapped for time.

But, as stated before, the kids and wife are away and they are having a great time in Ruidoso, NM. I've never been. We got the invite just a couple of days ago from my mom-in-law who was going there with a friend but the friend had to cancel. It was too late for me to get off work but the wife and kids decided to take a short getaway. It sounds so wonderful temperture wise. We are having hundreds here now fairly consistently, which is above our normal by several degrees. Yesterday, when my wife arrived she called and told me it was 73. Wow! Plus the view which is incredible, I've always heard, and the place their staying which is the second home of friends who live here in Lubbock and is perfectly build with all the amenities and a wrap-around porch(!). I'm very jealous. Still, I'm just glad their getting away.

I hope I can get a little accomplished today.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

You Won't Burn My Beans

Lubbock, TX, is unseasonably hot right now. It was 124 degrees today! Oh, alright, perhaps it was slightly cooler than that, though "cooler" is a pitifully ill-used term when comparing tempertures over 90. Anywhere between about 95 and boiling is enough to turn an ordinary avenue upon which ordinary people make ordinary (albeit unnerving and reluctant) trips to Wal Mart into a stew of taffy-like tar, asphalt-speckled cars, and beet-red feet of daredevil children who like to explore their burgeoning masochistic tendencies.

Still, amid the heat, there is a fantastic and welcome thirst-quencher that puts the likes of Gatorade and (I speak in hushed tones here) Coca-cola to shame. ("Shame" is likely a harsh term, but you get my point.) What is this great thirst-tamer? This joy of tastebuds? This elixir of the exhausted? Get ready, now . . .

It's Coffee.

"Crazy!" you say. "Nonsense!" you exclaim. "What a caffinated loser," you mock haughtily. Well, it is not crazy and it is not nonsense.

I love coffee. Even as Achilles was dipped into that which made him impervious to the attacks of his foes, all except for his heel by which he was held while dipped, so that it was not covered but remained susceptible to attack, so it is with me. I am at least somewhat able to handle the trials and unpredictability of day-to-day earth-shaking craziness--but only with the help of coffee. Without it, I become lethargic and meloncholic. (Quiet honey, we both know that's not my normal demeanor. Or is it just me who knows that? No matter.)

I wasn't born in the Northwest and I rarely enter a Starbuck's. I'm no big fan of the great coffee conglomerate. I'm a postmodern at heart. That means back to the basics. Me, a few beans, a rock to crush them with, an open fire and a small tin bucket of water--that's coffee. No, it's not. Coffee is what comes out of my best friend--Gevalia--in the morning when nothing else is good enough to drag me from the borders of the dream continent.

Yes, heat is no obstacle. My loyalty to the greatest of all drinks will not be hampered by nature's evil will to ruin my palate with it's unscrupulously (that's right, I think nature is against me, unscrupulous in it's derisiveness) climbing tempertures.

I will continue to drink my coffee. I have drawn my line in the grounds. I will not give in. Coffee rules!

(Ice coffee? Never tried it. August may be a good time for experimentation.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lots to do

It was a pretty good weekend. Really, I worked a lot of it, so . . . y'know, kind of typical. But there are some good things starting to happen, possibly, and that could be very good for my family. I really look forward to getting some of the things I have to do right now behind me. I have too much on my plate. I am starting the process of getting "credentialed" with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. That basically means getting them to recognize me as a "legitimate" ordained minister. The process seems lengthy but I'm sure all will go well. I like the potential our future could have with this group so I am OK going through the process.

I need to complete a paper on Balaam from Numbers 22. It is an archeaology paper. Hopefully I actually get it completed, though right now I'm not so sure. Everything is behind. I need to get something done for my work at Texas Roadhouse that is essential if I expect to keep working there for the next little while. It is completing the Texas Alchoholic Beverave Commission course online so I can serve alchohol. Actually, I can serve now, but it gives a bit more security if one ever has a mishap on the job, etc. I make fairly decent money serving on the weekends so I need to get this done for the remainder of our time in Lubbock.

This is all quite a bit of stuff. I think I can still get it done. But today, I will spend a little bit of the day with the family walking in the mall. We have no money to spend, at all, but we will walk around and have a good time together while we can. Then more work.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Muslims Dreaming About Jesus

I heard about this very widespread phenomenon a few years ago, actually, and wondered if it was more wishful thinking than anything. But apparently, it is the real thing. Lots of Muslims are coming to Christ on a steady basis. They are coming by various avenues, but the most remarkable is the very over-arching and widely experienced dreams and visions that are being the spark for Muslims to seek Christ. Christ comes to them in a dream which may take any number of forms, but it is definitely Christ and he is definitely calling these Muslims to follow Him. It's quite remarkable. I'm still intrigued. I look forward to hearing more in the years to come.