Saturday, September 29, 2007

Undivided Devotion

Don't you love it when you are TOTALLY ignoring God's voice and He gets your attention anyway?

As usual, I have been preparing for a teen class (called "How To Know If You're Really In Love") and God "spoke" to ME through my study. I came upon 1 Corinthians 7, which I usually just skim over, because I don't remember it being so powerful. There is a lot of great stuff in there. Here is just a sample...

In verse 5, Paul writes to married couples, "Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer."

Now, let's be honest. How many of you are thinking about prayer when you aren't having sexual contact with your spouse? I guarantee you most guys are thinking, "When is the next time?" rather than "Maybe I can pray with my wife." (Sorry for being blunt.)

Paul goes on to say (in verse 29) "From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none..."

WHAT? What are you trying to tell me, Paul?

"I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord's affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord's affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." (Verses 32-35)

I am a lucky man...lucky that I found a wife whose interest is pleasing the Lord. She understands that some evenings I won't be home until late because I am trying to please God. She understands my job and my ministry, and the sacrifices that go with it.

But I feel like I have forgotten to "bring my interest home." What I mean is..."pleasing God" shouldn't stop when I walk through my door. Talking about God and leading people to God are things that I sometimes do at work, but not at home. OK God, I get the message.

If you'll excuse me, I think I'll go pray and read the Bible with my wife now!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Need a Good Study

I need a good Bible study or book to soak up. Not another book to breeze through looking for good illustrations or sermon ideas. Not another Bible study that I can share with a small group of teens.
No, I need something for me. Something I can go through slowly. Something that will be encouraging and thought-provoking at the same time. Maybe even something I can study with another person or two.
Any good books or studies anyone else has done lately? (BESIDES the one my wife is doing...something about being a "helpmeet!!!")

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Blood-Stained Hands

Gently rubbing my blood-stained hands, I feel the twinge of regret. But, before you get the wrong idea, maybe I should rewind and start this story from the beginning...

I was polishing off my chicken strip salad...Fischer and Tracy were already done eating their supper. Tracy was seated in the living room and Fischer was playing near me. I heard something heavy begin to slide and turned, too late, to see my son get cracked in the head by a flower pot whose vine he had been tugging on.
As crying got under way, for some reason I got angry. "That's what you GET when you pull on stuff. Mommy has TOLD you NOT to mess with th..."
My ranting ceased when the blood started to drip down his face. I jerked him into my arms and ran for the faucet and paper towels.
"Baby, is he OK?!" my wife bolted into the kitchen to assess the situation. The blood sent her overboard, "OH, MY GOSH! I can't watch this, I can't watch this!" She ran into our bedroom sobbing.
"He'll be alright," I yelled. "We just have to stop the bleeding."
Somehow I was holding it together, being patient for everyone. Fischer began to calm down. I took away the wet paper towel, which was now soaked with dirt and blood. I tried to clean up the wound a bit so I could see how bad it was. Wetting another paper towel, I took Fischer into the living room and gently sat down on the couch.
Tracy rejoined us, a little more composed. But, the moment I removed the towel, the waterworks resumed! "Is he going to need stitches?"
Together, we took him to the bathroom and held his head under the sink. We cleaned him up a little, but the bleeding wasn't stopping.

So now I am in the Urgent Care, waiting for the doctor to take Fischer. She already took a look at him in the waiting room and said he will probably need one or two stitches.
Even though the bleeding has stopped, the blood on my hands and shirt bring back the whole scary situation. I feel regret because I wasn't watching. I feel weak because I didn't prevent it from happening. I feel like a terrible parent. I feel so...human.

UPDATE: As blood washes away and healing begins, my intense feelings subside (probably because the adrenaline stopped pumping!) I realize I can NEVER be everywhere and fix everything. Is that a "Daddy Syndrome" or just a "man thing?" By the way, Fischer ended up with one stitch. Hahahaa...he got a stitch before Mommy and Daddy! That's kinda scary...considering he is TWO!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Downside to Extremism

We live in a world that salivates over extremes. When the public sees a celebrity, for example, we like to see them either extremely successful or extremely in trouble. There's not much tolerance for things that are "un-extreme."
In my opinion, this extremism has some problems with it...
  • Focusing on the negative - The media has been uber-focused on Britney Spears and the past year of her downward spiral culminating in a not-so-great comeback at recent music awards. The poor girl has been struggling with family issues and addictions for quite some time. And yet, the worse it gets, the more we want to see! WHY? Is focusing on her during this time of trial going to help her or hurt her? Why has it become "fun" for paparazzi to provoke celebrities? What does it say about our nation as we make sport of those who are in pain? I think it would be common sense AND just plain "kind" for the nation to back off (not pay for celeb magazines) and paparazzi to quit taking pictures of Britney for ONE year, so that she can get some help in peace and straighten out her life.
  • The Middle-Child Syndrome - Social scientists say that there is a dynamic in which the middle child is not shown as much attention. The firstborn child is an overachiever and got lots of praise, while the baby gets the majority of attention, leaving little praise or attention for the middle-born child. If our society focuses on extremes, what does that say about the gal who just lives a "normal life?" Is it OK to have a day in which your highlight was sitting in the backyard with your family and watching the sunset? Or does it have to be that you are watching the sunset...which is interupted by your neighbors fighting? Or the police chase a car thief into your yard and tackle him at your feet? Why can't we see beauty in a life that is not extreme?

In one of my favorite films "The Last Samurai," Katsumoto (played by the wonderful Ken Watanabe) is examining a flowering tree when Algren (Tom Cruise) asks what he is doing.

"The perfect blossom is a rare thing," he says, deep in thought. "You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life."

At the end of the film (SPOILER WARNING) Katsumoto is dying in Algren's arms. As he looks at another blossoming tree he smiles and whispers, "Perfect. They are all...perfect."

Maybe we can learn, as Katsumoto did, that if we look closely we can see the beauty of each blossoming human life. Instead of looking for THE perfect one (which would be an extreme) we could see that all life is valuable...even a mediocre, "normal" life.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Beautiful, Wonderful, Do-It-All Wife

Gotta hand it to my wife...she had a handful last night between a husband with the shivers and stomach problems, and a 2-year old who is learning to sleep in a new bed.
Up and down, up and down, bump the head because he's jumping and hits the upper bunk. He must have wandered into our room 20 times. But each time, she patiently got up and led him back to bed.
Once he was finally asleep, she brought me the medicine I needed to try to get some sleep.
One of life's greatest treasures is knowing that you have someone there to take care of you when you need it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fun Quiz

Let's have some fun this post! Following are some words or phrases that my 2-year old son, Fischer, utters from time to time. Let's see how you do in interpreting (scroll down for answers)
  • "fekfest"
  • "tek a daf"
  • "anana"
  • "gamma"
  • "paygound"
  • "milt"
  • "biper"
  • "pooer"
  • "awa canny"
  • "wuv oo"

  • "breakfast"
  • "take a bath"
  • "banana"
  • "grandma"
  • "playground"
  • "milk"
  • "diaper"
  • "computer"
  • "I want candy"
  • "Love You!!"
How many did you get right! Hope you had fun! Wuv oo!!