Monthly Archives: September 2010

Cry Out!

how to pray the japanese way

Image by Jesslee Cuizon via Flickr

I’m awake.  It’s late.  I should be asleep.  But I’m not.  My mind is flooded.  Some big things.  Some things, not as big.

On the not as big list; why is there dirt under my toe nail?  I wore shoes today.  I didn’t realize I could drink so much Dr. Pepper.  Do I have clean underwear for tomorrow?  Are my Chiefs really blowing out the Chargers?  Did he just return that punt 94 yards for a touchdown?

On the big list; why do I feel alone?  Did I really just think that?  Am I really that messed up?  God wants to use me?  Really?  How can I be a better father?  After 10 years, why am I not a better husband?  What am I missing?  What is the deal with life?  What is left to say?  God, I’m not sure where to go from here.

It is at a moment like this when our hearts cry out.  They cry out whether we want them to or not.  We have questions.  We hurt.  We crumble.  Our knees become our resting place because when we stand there is too much pressure.  So, we cry out.  Romans 8:26 teaches that the Spirit of God cries out to God the Father for us when we don’t even know what to say.

David cried out to God on multiple occasions.  Psalm 88:1, 2 – David cries out to God, “Oh Lord, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day and come to you at night.”  You should go read the entire chapter of Psalm 139.  Then reread it.  It’s fascinating.  David closes this amazing chapter by saying this in verse 23, “Search me oh God and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.”  Our hearts are designed to cry out to God.  Our questions lead us to cry out.  God knows us better than we know ourselves.  Search me oh God and try me.  Get rid of my anxiety.

I’m awake.  It’s late.  I think I need to spend some time crying out to God.  I think my knees should get used to this.

What do you need to cry out to God about?

Are you feeling anxious about anything?

Have you given that anxiety to God and allowed Him to search every inch of your heart?

May you cry out to God tonight.  And may God bring you clarity and your heart peace.

SOAP – John 1

SOAP stands for Scripture, Observations, Application & Prayer.  As our church studies through different SOAP passages, I will be uploading videos every now and then to talk about some of my own observations.  I hope this turns into a great way to connect with a lot of people as well as share insight into Scripture.  Looking forward to reading your comments.  I would really like for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Leave me some comments there as well.

Oh No She Didn’t!

I would like to start this post by admitting something.  It’s confession time.

I’m not perfect.

I know, some of you are shocked.  I’m sorry for ruining your worldview.  I guess what we have to do is this; when we make mistakes, we must learn from them.  If we don’t learn from them, that is when there is a significant problem.  Alright, enough preliminary mumbo, jumbo.  On to the story.

Today was a big day.  It was “Meet The Teacher” for Grant (8) and Ashton (5).  Ashton’s kindergarten age group was up first at one o’clock this afternoon.  So we hopped in the van and headed to the school.  This is big time stuff.  I mean, Ashton is going to “big school” for the first time.  On the way we encounter heavier than usual, traffic.  There had been an accident on the road and the clean up was blocking the road to the school.  Two semis waited somewhat patiently for their opportunity to turn.  I pull up beside one and put on my blinker.  Multiple cars, truck and semis all wait their turn with their blinkers on as well.

The first semi goes past me.  I feel at this point it is my turn to make the turn into the right lane.  I happen to glance into my rear view mirror and the car behind me has decided thatRoad Rage looking at the end of my Mazda MPV is below her pay grade.  She accelerates and swerves around me, nearly hitting the semi in the process.  I had already begun my lane shift and only happened to catch her make this move, fortunately for us.  I slam on the brakes and look to the right.  I lay on my horn, not because I am generally a road rage person, but because she has endangered my family, complete with our little man of the hour.  At this point I would like to go ahead and make my second mistake of the day.  Ready?  Please read an emphasis on the she driver.

At this point, I take my spot behind her.  In her haste around the corner, she nearly rear ends the 18 wheeler.  I can’t figure her out at this point.  I patiently and in a very Christ like way, tailgate her a little bit while throwing my arms in the air to try and prove my point.  My wife begins to calm me down and I try to get myself in check.  Both of our vehicles shift into the right lane after passing the semi and turn our blinkers on.  She is turning where we are turning.  Uh-oh!  I hope she’s not going to the school.  One right and left turn later, sure enough, she pulls into the same school parking lot we do.  I sure hope she doesn’t have a kid going into kindergarten.

We get out of the van after parking.  We walk to the door and I of course notice that this lady is walking behind us.  She has a son with her.  Oh boy!  She was far enough behind us that when we got to the door, certain things would be obvious.  If I let the door shut, she was close enough to know that I would have been shutting it on her.  She was also just far enough back to know that if I held the door, I was doing her a favor.  I had cooled off just enough, I opted to hold the door for her.  At this kind gesture of mine, I made sure my wife noticed how good I was.  Possibly mistake #3.

We sit down and go through the introductions of the teachers, principal and other staff.  It’s a fun little event.  Then it’s time to go see Ashton’s classroom and meet his teacher.  At this point I begin to internally hope that this lady and her son aren’t in Ashton’s class.  And off we go.  We walk in the room and look around.  So many toys.  So much wonder.  Ashton might as well have been in heaven.  He’s going to love school.  We locate his name at the table.  There he is with his packet of new stuff, name tag and all.  Oh look, he’s going to be sitting next to Samuel.  How nice.  We can’t wait to meet Samuel.  I can see his awesome family now.  A cute couple, new to town, looking for a church home.  And God has put me in their path.  He knows just how to work His world you know.  But mostly I’m sure that his family has to be better than the crazy lady who almost killed us all on the way to the school.

I look at the door to watch the other parents and children come in to Ashton’s class.  And to my uber excitement, in walks the lady who got her driver’s license yesterday.  I look at Misty and we share one of those married couple, mental conversations for a second or two.  She points at me as if to blame me for this awkwardness.  I have yet to put myself in that position.  Yet, surely we are still in the clear.  I mean, what are the chances that she will even make her way over to us?  After all, we are on the far side of the class room.  Slow but sure, she makes her way toward us, scanning the names on the tables.  And as if Christmas had come early for me, her son’s name…Samuel.

Yep, you guessed it.  She nearly ran my family out of our lane.  I honked and raised my arms in disgust.  She almost ran into the back of an 18-wheeler.  And now, her son is sitting right next to mine in class.

It is at this point that God begins to have a conversation with me.  Maybe less a conversation and more of a, “keeled over laughing, smacking his knee,” sense of humor, moment (I have no idea if that last sentence is grammatically correct).  I begin to listen to God and I realize something.  I realized I have been put in this position for a reason.  There are still things that I have to learn, but even more, there may be something that this family needs.  God had done it again.  He had my complete attention.

In this upcoming school year, that lady and her family will be getting better from me than a honk and hand waving.  To me, this is no coincidence.  It is an opportunity.

God used this to humble me.  He also used it to remind me that His followers are always on display.  And at any given moment our lives can draw people to Jesus or they can turn them away from Him.  And I personally want to be one that uses my life to draw people toward God.  I guess even pastors need to be re-taught this lesson.

Can you think of a humbling moment like this that God has used to teach you something?

What about your life?

Do you stop and wonder if how you live pushes people away from God or draws them toward Him?

%d bloggers like this: