I watched. It was likely one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever seen. I watched it, roll through as if the care it should have was absent. It’s almost methodical, trance worthy, hypnotizing. If you could capture the serenity of a rain shower into a mind set…that…would be…world changing,…
It’s never been easy for me to grasp facing the fires. I guess at birth our conditioning starts and we prefer to experience pleasant days, green pastures, blue skies. Isn’t that what signifies God’s favor? A pleasant life? I would almost argue the contrary. From the first sin until now, this very moment story after story people have found them self in the fire. Adam to John, Job to Paul. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The book cover of courageous men, Christians with a spine, finding themselves in the middle of the fire. It’s easy for us to see the lack of God’s control of a situation, when in fact he’s never left our side. He may not make the situation change, but what if….he’s walking through the fire and that’s the blessing? The fact that we are experiencing fires is the blessing? Remember, God didn’t promise that you’d walk through the rose garden, but he did promise he would walk with us through the fire. Count your blessings, don’t forget the fires.
In the past few weeks I’ve struggled with what it means to be Christian. I know, trust me I know, Christian means to be Christ like. (If you’re a Christian that’s the definition) But it felt/feels like I want a definition to the definition, but not just “well He was kind, generous, helpful, loving…” ect.
Maybe what I’ve been wondering is how does being a Christian pertain to me by definition. I think because the bible is “living” a meaning can change based on the person and the circumstance. To me this new self revelation of sorts has came through a week of detox from the world. We cut out all tv, all social media (with the exception of Facebook Pages for our business), 95% of video games on out tablets. At the end of all of this I’ve realized 3 main points about being a Christian.
- It’s Hard: I think it’s osmosis of sorts being in the world and having parts of the world creep into your life. But really, isn’t that part of being human? Completly eradicating the world from your life would mean you’re perfect, which you can’t be. This week I accepted for my self that I wouldn’t always be able to catch every sin before it happens and more times than not I wouldn’t see it until after it happens. All together with that, I’m not sure if it is because there really that much sin in my life or if separating my self from parts of the world has made it more evident by default, this week it really seems like it’s been one big failure after the other. I honestly believe that detoxing the world is the equivalent of pulling tint off a car window, before hand you can see a tinted reality of your life masked by your own bias of your self then after you can see a clear reality of the sin stained wretch that you really are. In other words it’s enlightening.
- It’s Enlighening: I would be remiss if I acted like any opportunity to drop parts of the world out of my life wasn’t beneficial. This week has brought a lot of realization to my life, things I need to change and other things I just need to drop all together. The most influential thing that I learned this week is freedom. Through out my life I viewed Christianity as restrictive, dogmatic, and more recently parts as legalistic. Restrictive because you couldn’t fully live (in this world), dogmatic because there’s a series of rules to live by and worship by (found in many Christian mindsets), legalistic because of the “rules” to gain salvation (most people when asked would deny this but all to often it’s really there). This week I’ve realized the former gangsta can worship in a different way than the redneck out in the country and still be worshiping the same God. I’ve realized that making a mistake is ok and as a human we might make it over and over and over, and although it isn’t ok to be complacent it is ok to make mistakes. The mistakes we make no longer define us once we get saved. I’ve realized something about music on a side note. There is a lot of really good worship songs in the contemporary Christian genre, equally there’s a lot of good worship songs in a lot of Christian genres and I think we (me included) tend to forget that. In the end it’s freedom. God can reach anyone on any platform with in the culture they grew up in. Knowing that is more than fulfilling.
- It’s Fulfilling: For once my thirst for God is at its apex, the more I experience the more I want – the deeper I want to go. The relationship I have, I want more. This week has been one of if not the most fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had with and for God and my wife. On the one hand I feel closer to her than ever, and I feel like our relationship is closer to God. That to me has been worth it all.
In closing I’ve wondered. Why does this for me have to stop this week? Why can’t I reach for more? I don’t like Facebook, I have played enough useless video games, it just seems like such a waste. Should I let it stop now? Go back to how it was? I don’t think so. This is…just the beginning. Being a Christian doesn’t have to be restrictive, but by definition I truely believe it would be summed up like this:
A christian is one who is’t sep’rates himself from the w’rld to beest clos’r to god
Soul Stitches & Our Mission. – http://wp.me/p7tTCp-dh
Have you ever just wanted to quit an addiction, even if for just a short period of time, to detox your body from chemicals that are self induced and abundantly damaging to your general wellbeing? My wife and I did….
Here lately I’ve been doing the Bible study, “The Resolution for Men”. A study based around the concept of the movie Courageous, designed specifically for men who want some good advice and a reminder to their calling from God. Going through it, it’s made me consider how every choice I’ve made, am making, or will make has been from a leadership standpoint (whether or not it was the right choice or not). Trust me I’ve made some terrible choices while at other times I sought after God’s plan and knew that I had lead me and my wife in the right direction.
Seeking after what I believe is His will for my life, this coming week we have both decided to take a fast from things that have proven to be a general distraction from not just Him but also each other. My wife is going to do a blog about it to some extent so I don’t want to steal her thunder, and I won’t go into any detail.
Sometimes you just have to detox the world out of your life. I believe that it would do everyone good to turn the world off and turn God and family on louder. I hope at the end of this period of fasting we achieve 3 main things:
- Spiritual Clarity: we aren’t really seeking clarity on anything specific. But for me, I want to be closer and have a deeper relationship to/with God. I want to stop for just a period and say “God, please speak to me, please be with me….please let me be close to you”.
- Marital Clarity: for me this isn’t an indication that anything is wrong with our relationship, to the contrary it’s still as amazing as the day I met her. But I fear more than anything complacency. I think you can get complacent while everything being great, which could be setting you up for a major let down when it isn’t great. To counteract that I think a couple has to always be sure to work together and serve the other.
- Sound Clarity: For me this is also about bringing simplicity back to my ever hectic life. I thrive off of 2 totally opposite things. I like the grind, the pressure to meet deadlines, the need to do efficient quick work. But….BUT….my wife will be the first to tell you one of my favorite things is to sit on the back deck drink a cup of strong coffee and smoke a quality cigar. I need both in my life but all to often the former outweighs the latter. So a week of playing cards, listening to country gospel, knitting, talking….is exactly what I need.
So hence forth we travel.
-What doest t profit a sir to gain the w’rld and loseth his soul?
So this weekend me and Kendra watched the movies God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2. It’s nice to have a positive influence in the tv shows or movies we watch. Upon dating, engagement, and now marriage we’ve tried to distance ourselves from things that promote the world and partake in things that promote God. That’s not to say occasionally we don’t flip the radio over to the top 40 station (usually commenting on how this or that song isn’t really that good) or with TV we find ourselves consumed with the Food Network, but we do try. This winter season we’ve tended to watch more Hallmark (Not Christian by any stretch, but family friendly USUALLY ). The other day we watched a movie promoting suicide and personally I felt guilty and ultimately beside myself, Kendra on the other hand being a romantic found and saw the love in the story. So, no it isn’t always a movie about God or Christianity but we do try to move towards family friendly movies if we can.
These 2 movies seem to touch on something deeper, something more profound than just the average Joe Christian movies (which sometimes can be dry). I’ll have to say at times you feel the pain in the movies because it really hits home. In the first the lady gets cancer, the student battling the world (Satan), the Christian realizing she was living in sin living with her boyfriend, and the list would go on. There were many stories combined to give you one conclusion that God is in control. In the end giving the young man the words to impact many lives, the young Muslim woman to convert from Islam to Christianity, the sin stricken lady to take a step closer to God, and the pastor to learn true patience. God’s Not Dead 2 hitting as close to home with a similar over all Christian theme.
My only negative is in 1 scene in the first movie. The band The News Boys meet the woman with cancer and proceed to talk to her about God. The most important part they left out was her asking God into her life and inserted the lead singer praying for her salvation. This being nit picky I know and realize, it could create the wrong impression for a nonbeliever. That being said both are very well written and decent above par actors in them.
Story Line: 5:5
Adult Content: 4:5 (realistic life situations)
Family Friendly: 5:5
Biblical Accuracy: 3.5:5
If you know me, you know I loathe New Years Resolutions. It’s essentially setting a goal you know you’ll fail at, but you expect to be fully committed and successful at. If you were going to do what you’re wanting to start on Jan 1, you would have started it on Dec 31. That being said. I am making a resolution public that I’ve already attempted since July 2014. Being the man of God that he intended for me to be. At this point in my life, it’s being a Godly husband, the leader to my house, the leader my wife needs me to be, and yes I said needs because…well…it’s biblical. So the next series of posts will be a personal account of my resolution to God, my wife, and my family.
We don’t have s first chapter is basically talking about why children need their father. So as I read through it I won’t lie, I thought “this isn’t for me”. But it occurred to me I missed two very important parts. First, I hope one day we will be blessed with a flannel wearing, camp loving, fishing, rough baby boy. Second, I have a nephew who needs a Godly uncle in his life. So I went back through it, reread it, and came away from it with a different mindset.
All to often, men, we fall asleep at the wheel. We are the driver, think about how dangerous this really is. Personally I never looked at this life as being in a car but it is the best analogy that could have been printed. Men fail in two ways in this aspect:
- Asleep: I am extremely guilty of this. I forgot that money isn’t the most important thing. My wife, bless her, has been sick 2 days. She needed me to stay at home and nurture her this morning. What did I do? Go off to my second job, which adding in I own the business I went to work at. I didn’t need to go, we didn’t need the money, it was unnecessary and I was needed at home. I put work first and it was a wrong decision. This chapter was about being a dad though so I only half related. When it comes to my nephew though…I failed him in the most agonizing way. This last summer when we were planning the wedding I was at my in-laws house and me and my nephew had a moment we went outside to catch crickets for my spider. Eventually, after catching 1 giant camel cricket he stopped and looked up at all of the stars and said “wow I’ve never noticed how many stars there are”. Ding ding ding wake up Matt! Wake up! WAKE UP!!!!!! Missed it. Asleep at the wheel. I said yeah check out the Big Dipper, see that it’s the Milky Way, let’s see if we can see the satalite passing by….blah blah blah blah blah. Stupid. I missed an opportunity to connect with him in a deeper way than I’ve ever had before or since.
- Dictatorship: or some men take this leader thing to a new level. You can’t lead on a high horse, leading means you get into the mud and get you hands dirty. I hope I’m not this way ever so my experience is limited, but I will say that me and my wife work together as we can. I pick up where she lacks as does she when I lack. Even with that I fail sometimes.
Opportunities though. Young men and women, boys and girls, need a father. How will your son know what love is if you don’t know the love of Our Heavenly Father? They will by default look at you and connect God to the love you show them. If you are not getting up, taking you son or daughter to church, talking to them about God, praying with them and for them, teaching them to be Godly. You are handing them over to the world. You are failing them, and your not fulfilling your role as a Godly rolemodel. Then when they’re 16 on drugs, pregnant, in prison…..you’ll wonder why. No I’m not saying if your child is 16 and any of those you didn’t stand and be courageous when the time was nigh, but you did fail them and God…and some of the reason falls on your head. You have to ask yourself, am I willing to let sin into my home, into my child’s life, and risk their soul? Are you willing to work to many hours, sacrifice time in front of a tv, reaching for a bottle, to jeopardize your child’s salvation?
“Right now, this generation doesn’t know what true fatherhood looks like. They rarely see it modeled in the media or at home. And sadly, the result is another generation deeply struggling to understand what God is really like” (Kendrick & Alcorn, 2011). This is what it’s came to? Stand up, wake up, take the wheel. Be the leader.
“I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children.” (Kendrick & Alcorn 2011)
Kendrick, & Alcorn. (2011). The Resolution For Men. Nashville , TN: B&H Books.