Contemplating pulling the plug

To the one person who reads this blog:

Let’s get real.

It’s been fun, but this blog just isn’t able to be sustained by me anymore.
I currently write two (almost three) other blogs. Anyone who reads this can feel free to read two of those. (The third is by invite only)

So, here goes. In a blazing display of blogicide, I’m pulling the plug.

Comment if you want, but its time has come…

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UnBEElievable.

The other night, my wife and I were naughty. Really naughty.

We ate a “Bloomin’ Onion” from Outback.
That’s 2,310 calories.
134 grams of fat. (HALF a “bloomin’ onion” is your daily allowance of fat intake.)
And we knocked it out like champs.

But the bloomin’ onion had a strange effect on my wife that night.
She dreamed a really weird dream. And this is where it gets interesting. And strange. And freaky. And maybe even spiritual. I’ll let you decide.

So, we had wiped the dipping sauce from our chins and headed off to bed. Yep, nothing like downing 2,000+ calories right before laying down for 7-8 hours!

Toward the end of those sleeping hours, my wife had a dream that she told me about yesterday.

Before I get to that, though–I little background information: My wife’s sister has been battling stage 4 colon cancer for 4+ years. We’ve have been praying all that time for God to heal her. She has gone to the utmost lengths to show God how faith-filled she is as she humbly requests for His touch to remove the cancer.

So, my wife dreamt that her sister was going to live the lifespan of 42 bees. That’s right. Bees. As in buzzbuzz, make honey, live in a hive, bees. In her dream, my wife was told that her sister would live the lifespan of 42 bees. Are you wondering what the lifespan of a bee is? So was my wife, so she looked it up. A bee typically lives 1-2 years; the queen bees living longest, 2 years on average. Pretty strange dream, huh? Well, the story’s not over.

So my wife calls her sister, as she regularly does, and they were talking for a while, as they regularly do, and it was toward the end of the conversation when my wife’s sister says to her, “Oh, I went to a meeting the other night. Guess what kind of meeting it was.” My wife replies, “I don’t know.” Her sister said, “It was about learning how to raise bees.”

I’m not kidding. I don’t know about you, but that freaked me out. My wife had not told her about her bee dream, and to my knowledge they had never had any reason to discuss bees at all. But my wife has this dream about bees, and the very next day, her sister across the country goes to a meeting on how to raise bees. Are you kidding me?

I don’t know what God is thinking. I honestly don’t know why He hasn’t healed my sister-in-law yet. But I do know this: God loves her, and you, and even me with an everlasting love. And that no matter how many bee years we live, we will live them praising the Lord of the bees for who He is and all He has done.

A Crazy Coincidence

I’m not huge into numerology (at all), but I’ve got to admit that what I read this morning slapped me in the face.

I was sitting on my couch reading God’s Word from the gospel of John, in chapter 6, which holds the well-known story of the feeding of the 5,000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves, Jesus walking on the water, and a very confounding teaching that Jesus gave. The crowd was diverse and included devout Jews, scribes, and Pharisees. And Jesus actually had the gumption to compare Himself to Moses.

Later in the chapter is where Jesus begins to call Himself the “bread of life” to the crowds that had been following Him. Because of such confusing and preposterous claims, people were conflicted, angered, and scratching their heads. In fact, some of the disciples were perplexed and upset, saying, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” (John 6:60)

And as I read on from there, I see Jesus drive the last nail in His “crazy talk” coffin by saying, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!” (6:62)

Going on from there, He explains that the words He speaks are “truth” and “life”.
And that’s when it happened:

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

You want to know that verse that is? John 6:66. Now, I’m not someone who thinks much at all about how numbers fall in chapters and verses. I give numbers their due attention only when it is clear that God is making a big deal about it, such as the number 40 that is used all throughout the Bible in both Old and New Testaments, and the number 7 which repeatedly represents perfection. But remember that the Bible was not written with chapters and verses. They only came relatively recently for the sake of convenience and ease in finding a particular section of Scripture. So, when John wrote those words, he wasn’t writing verse 66 in chapter 6. He was just writing what he saw.

So, sitting there this morning, I was astounded that I had never noticed before that a verse that explicitly says that people turned away from Jesus and stopped following Him is found in chapter 6, verse 66.

Maybe that does nothing for you. But to me, that’s pretty crazy.

Fun = Puking

One of my family’s favorite TV shows to watch together is “Wipeout”. One of the elements on the show is called the “Dizzy Dummy”. Yesterday, my two sons decided that they’d make their own Dizzy Dummy by using the office chair at my wife’s desk in the family room.

So, my youngest son eagerly climbed on, while my oldest son grabbed the back of the chair and repeatedly spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun and spun the chair, all to the gleeful delight of his younger brother. Until…

Yep. It happened. The Dizzy Dummy delivered.

The weird thing was, after we got him cleaned up and clothes changed he wanted to climb right back on the Dizzy Dummy. And why not? Who says that flippin’ your cookies means something is wrong? He’s just too young to connect those dots. In fact, the opposite seemed to ring true: Puking = That was awesome!

I’ve got weird kids.

Daily Dirt

This morning after I woke and brushed my teeth (definite first order of business), and as I came downstairs for my Bible reading and coffee, I thought of something I had not thought of before. As my hand slid down the banister leading downstairs, I thought to myself, “I wonder how dirty this banister is.”

Not the most pleasant thought to start your day, but there you have it.

While we are long past the days of diaper changing in my home, we still have a healthy supply of baby wipes. So, I grabbed them from the closet and brought them to the banister. You wouldn’t believe what one swipe revealed. The wood of our banister is pretty dark, so it conceals the dirt that normal daily life brings in a house with 6 people living in it.

And as I continued my way up the banister with baby wipe in hand, I was amazed at the contrast that began to emerge. What once looked like a normal banister now looked like a clean banister. Once I was satisfied that I had gone over the entire banister, I got out some wood polish/protectant and gave it a healthy covering and worked it in with a rag.

I dare you to stand up right now and go to a place in your home that might be hiding a dirty little secret. Maybe its a banister, or handrail, or doorknob, or molding around a high-traffic door. Whever it is, grab a damp white cloth, give it a good wipe, and take a look at the cloth.

In the dailyness of our lives, we might get accustomed to a certain amount of grime or build-up in relationships, habits, attitudes, or in our spirit, and subconsciously let the need for regular confession slip into the same category as regular flossing. (A shout-out to all my fellow non-flossers out there! Whoop, Whoop!)

May it be that when I awake tomorrow, descend down the stairs, and run my hand along that banister, that I immediately am reminded of my need for the forgiveness and embrace of God–that is ever present and always free.

High Dive Faith

Yesterday, while at work I got a phone call on my cell phone. I looked at the screen to see who it was and saw the picture of my smokin’ hot wife I had assigned to her cell phone number. It’s a call I answer, pretty much no matter what’s going on. She happened to be calling from the pool we belong to. But I was surprised not to hear my bride’s voice, but that of my oldest son, Crews.

Did you ever listen to someone on a phone, and even though you can’t see them you know they’re smiling from ear to ear? That was Crews’ voice.

He immediately asked me a question–one of his favorite questions to ask: “Dad…guess what?!?” “What is it, bud?” I replied. With bursting excitment he said, “I went off the low dive today!”
“What? You did?!? Oh man, I’m so proud of you!”
“But Dad, guess what else?!?”
“You mean there’s more?”
“Yeah Dad, I also went off the high dive!”
“WHAT?!!! YOU DID??? OH MAN! NO WAY! CREWS, I’M SO EXCITED! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!”
As I asked questions and got every detail, you could hear his smile turning into sounds of chuckles filled with pride. Now, I’ve been off the high dive at our pool. And let me assure you: it’s up there.
My first emotion was disappointment that I missed this monumental moment in my son’s life. But then I began to think about the fear that he faced when approaching the end of that long diving board, hovered high above the water’s surface. And you should also know that this leap took place after only his 3rd swim lesson, so he’s not even that great a swimmer. And then to have no one below to catch you; just open water….open and deep water.
There are many things that can drive us past our fears and into the unknown. But the bottom line is that we must believe that life past the fear is better than life with the fear. If we’re to live life fully, we must, each in our own way, walk to the end of our own high dive, look out into the thin air we’re about to fly through, look down into the deep water we’re about to slice through, look into ourselves for the will and courage to move forward, and look up at see the face of the Father who is calling us to move through and past our fears. Notice that God doesn’t remove our fears–He leads us through them.

Sleeplessness

Last night, I awoke at 3 a.m. for no particular reason but to think. Each minute seemed like an hour. As I lay there, I thought long and hard about the details of my life and ministry right now. As I did, I surveyed and surmised the past 10-11 months of drastic change in our student ministry. I evaluated every move I could remember. I became more and more restless the more I thought about it and dwelt on it.

And then God spoke.

I won’t tell you everything He said, but I will tell you that He told me clearly that I’m spending too much time living looking over my shoulder at the past. In fact, God has shown me that I had just about gotten to the point where I am living walking backwards; that is, really ONLY focusing on what is in the past. I can’t explain how He did, but as surely as I’m typing these words He spoke to me and gave me clear instructions regarding how I need to change.

God is a God of opportunities.
God is a God of possibilites.
God is a God of promises.
God is a God of “imagine if…”
God is a God of “wait and see.”
God is a God of “follow Me.”
None of those have anything to do with the past.

God wants me dwelling on the past just long enough to say goodbye to it, because that’s what He’s done with it.

In fact, as I consider Jesus’ earthly ministry, He spend a good amount of time erasing people’s past and setting their eyes on Him right then and into the future.

Because no matter how I slice it, the past inevitably brings disappointment (from past failures), frustration (from lack of traction and unmet goals), and an overall malaise. And therein lies an effective weapon of the enemy, Satan. If he can get you looking behind you, you’ll not only miss the blessing of God right now, but you’ll be in no position to see what God is going to do.

As soon as I had laid there and listened to God speak to me, I prayed and immediately returned to a place of peace in my mind and heart and at 5 a.m. this morning, fell asleep.