Prayer is funny – it doesn’t work (please read to understand)

February 15, 2013

Some of you are angry by this title, and others are interested. Of course, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m not taking prayer lightly. But prayer is funny in that, it’s interested what happens when God’s people pray. I’ve seen unexplained things happen in the aftermath of people praying for a miracle. The smallest utterance, and I’m surprised at times that God heard my voice. The struggle in life with prayer is this question of, ‘Is God answering prayer, or is this just a coincidence?’ Well, here is my response that is similar to an old quote I was challenged with in college, but it seems that coincidence happens much more frequently when God’s people pray. But the other funny thing is that prayer doesn’t work. GOD WORKS. Prayer simply asks…in relation to petition of God.

And so….Prayer is funny. Of course, prayer is much more than asking or petitioning God. It’s our ongoing conversation with Him, if we choose to engage Him in conversation. And the smallest of utterances, He will hear. And what He hears, He will respond to. The most difficult challenge for those who pray, is being able and prepared to hear Him when he answers.

Happy Birthday

September 12, 2012

Most birthday parties are just a bunch of the same. I would say that tonight I witnessed something different. Tonight was fresh. A celebration of life and the joy of simple things.
For the past 2 years my step-mother has been restricted to living in a bed. On a rare occasion she’ll get to be seated in a chair, but those times have been few. Tonight, as we celebrated her 61st birthday, and the rest of the nation remembered the attack of 9/11, we celebrated another year of life. Not always a happy life, as there are obvious frustrations for a person who can’t be mobile, but life none the less. And a celebration that didn’t involve gifts and decorations, but the gathering of people who care and love.

I

t was special.

Omni words of God

February 23, 2012

The last 2 weeks have been huge in exposing me to huge thoughts of God. The basic reaction is that God is HUGE.

Trying to wrap my mind around a universe that we know to have at least a radius of 1.4 billion light years from the earth…kind of makes my brain hurt. But maybe that’s part of what God has to communicate to us. His power, His presence, and His mind (intellect, memory, knowledge, etc.) are far beyond what we really can comprehend in our finite being here and now.

It’s challenging to recognize that even as I type this, I sit in His presence, just as much as I did when I slept last night and just as much as I did last night when I was gathered with a segment of His Church in the CSC Green Room singing praises to His Name. Even at that, He not only sees what I am doing, but He even knows the words I’m about the type before I’ve even typed them. And deep than that, he not only knows the activity I’m participating in, but He knows the intent behind them all because He knows every motive that exists inside of me.

This is one of the characters of God that I’m not sure if I want to experience. The idea of being all-powerful and all-present has a certain element of adventure and excitement to think about being able to experience. However, when it comes to knowing the very deep thoughts and even intents of a persons heart…I’m left to wonder if I really want to know that. On some level, I see the good because I could see and know the honest good-natured intent behind many people and their actions that sometimes I interpret as wrong or bad. On another hand…I know the darkness that lives inside of me, and how it can sometimes be the motive behind much of my thoughts/actions/decisions. So, do I really want to know the darkness that exists inside of others which I respect so highly. I fear what might look like, and on some level I fear the full knowledge of another person and having to see all that God sees.

I guess that is one reason why I’m glad that God is God and I am not.

 

Rather Normal_Rather Great

February 21, 2012

I’ve heard it said by Dean Trune that there are times when he will do something rather normal, yet God will use it to do something rather great. I guess I could say that is how I feel much of the time. I am continually humbled by my weaknesses, and yet though very weak or, less than stellar moments in live, something great happens.

Celebration of Life

June 1, 2010

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Cooper James. He is 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 19.75 inches long. Look just like Gavin when he was born. It’s a day to celebrate, reflect, remember, and thank God for blessing us with this miracle.

Meaningless…everything is meaningless.

April 26, 2010

Solomon…the wisest man? I guess at times. His final conclusions on life are sobering for sure.

This past weekend I attended the CSC men’s retreat and the focus for this retreat was to seek solitude. A favorite for me, in the category of spiritual disciplines. So at this retreat, I felt I needed to spend one moment of solitude reading and reflecting on the whole book of Ecclesiastes. Of course, the over arching theme of this writing is that everything this world can provide is meaningless unless it is something that involves investment in the kingdom of God.

This simple, and generally known, challenge was key for me. It’s something I lose sight of quickly it seems. In the midst of trying to better our financially situation, sell a house, find and buy a new house, save to buy a family van in the next year or two…it seems much of my focus in an material stuff, and the efforts to achieve it.

But, what is all this? Is it as Solomon write, “like chasing after the wind?”

Maybe so. The good news from the weekend is the Word of God striking an attitude of contentment that I hope will translate into many days of contentment to come.

Christmas Day in Indy

December 25, 2009

So it’s been an eventful start to the Christmas break. We started break with a trip to Chicagoland for the Reynolds wedding. Only 40 minutes from the destination, our car broke down, and is still sitting in Kankakee, IL. At first we thought we had a bad water pump. Not a cheap fix, but 300 or 4oo bills wouldn’t break the bank. After further investigation, we find out that minimal repairs will cost 1800 bills. A little more of an issue. With the value of the car and the large risk of there being even more extensive damage that will not appear until several weeks down the road, it is sad for us to realize that we will again be car shopping this Christmas break. The Dodge is dead. We will be selling it to a scrap yard on Monday.

In the meantime, we are driving the CSC minivan for this week. We believe we have found a temporary solution to this issue, and buy us some time to pile up some cash to purchase a new/used vehicle in the months to come. PTL!

Christmas day has been fun. Gavin is a blast to watch open presents. This year he gets the concept of tearing into wrapping paper and making a mess of it all around the room. Fun times. I was presented with a gift I didn’t know anything about, an Ipod shuffle. It’s as small as a tie clip. Amazed as this little piece of technology. I have set up a couple accounts to download podcasts. It will be a good sermon resource. Already have all the Mark Moore sermons accessed. I’m sure I’ll find them helpful during this semesters continued study on the Life of Christ.

As for other updates, Christi and I are anticipating the birth of our next child. We are 16 weeks along at this point. Birth will be around the end of May. Perfect timing for us, and mainly for me with the school year being done. Yeah! Next Christmas will be twice as crazy, but we enjoy it.

The house is almost finished. We are still hopeful to have our house listed for sale in the very near future…end of Feb.

Anyone ready to buy a nice – smaller home. We are proud of the improvements, but ready to expand the living space for the added body sharing the house.

One Down – so many more to go.

August 25, 2009

Yesterday was the kickoff to the whole school year here at WIU. What a great day it was. I could not be more proud of our student leaders and how they connected with the multiple new students who came both in the morning and evening. It was a day that got my excitement going. Leading up to the school year, there was much anxiety and the feeling of “not yet, not yet!” However, the actions of our core students has changed all that. I’m ready to go, even if some things are not yet prepared.

In other areas of interest. Gavin has become quite conversational. The trouble that we now face is his ability to hear and repeat anything that is said. Most recently the everyday phrase of “dang it,” is uttered forth from his lips. I realize that it’s not really a bad phrase, however, it just sounds a little too adult coming from the lips of a 23 month old. Maybe when he’s 23 years old, but months is a bit young…don’t ya think?

Home Improvement

July 22, 2009

After a couple days at home on my own, I’ve had a little time to continue working on the house. For those who do not know, Christi and I have been working to rehab an older home in Macomb and we are getting close to finishing this project. It is encouraging to see each little project come to completion. It’s one more step closer to the goal. Tonight it was hanging the closet doors. They look good, but just as the rest of the house is, they are not square.

Home improvement projects aside, I’ve had a lot of time to think. Home improvement is typically used as a term to describe how people fix up their houses, but really, is this home improvement or just house improvement. What i’m getting at is, a home is something more than just a physical building. It’s more than just a place where some or someone lives. A home is a special place. For me, a home is a place where I love on my wife and child. A place where I share the private moments of life with God. The place I spend personal time with God in prayer and reading His Word. A place where I can partner with others (typically my wife) to minister to others.

With this thought about what a “home” is in mind, I ask myself, how much “home improvement” have I been doing? How well have I been nurturing the relationship between my family? How well have I been nurturing my relationship with God? How often have I used this tool (a house) to minister to others?

I”m afraid the I’ve spent more time doing House improvement than Home improvement.

Christi and I hope to have this house finished and listed for sale by next March or April. At that point, much of the house improvement will stop, but that doesn’t mean the home improvement will instantly pick up and start working again. I guess that’s why we call things like, Studying Scripture, prayer, meditation, service, celebration…Spiritual disciplines. They don’t just happen. We must be disciplined in these habits not when we have time for them, because we’ll never just have time for them. We must be disciplined to make them priority and make time for them.

If I am nurturing my relationship with my God, it will then help me nurture my relationship with my family, and that is for sure Home Improvement.

Mortality

March 17, 2009

Every once in a while we are faced with our own mortality. This time it’s my grandfathers mortality that’s gotten my attention. At 90 years old, he undergoes surgery to remove cancer, he comes through the surgery in great shape, we talked with him only 2 hours after coming out of surgery, i saw him again a few days later and all was going great, and then out of the blue, I get a phone call from the hospital saying someone needs to come quick.

How fast things can change from ok, to not ok. It’s a reminder that i’m not in control and at any moment, circumstances can change. As I go through this week I hope it will serve as a continual reminder at the visitation, funeral, graveside, etc., that God has ultimate control, and due to that, I should waste opportunities. True, my future is in the hands of God’s eternity, but that doesn’t write an order a appathy for the here and now. That might be the greatest curse on the American Church today. I’m not sure what kind of wake up call God might send on His church, but I can say I will not be surprised if something big happens.


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