Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thanks For Helping Me Remember My Dreams

A long time ago I almost forgot there was this desire within my heart. The desire to move to Japan has been something that I have thought about, talked about, and dreamed about. Ask anyone of my friends and they will tell you!

I feel sorry for them sometimes because I know I talk too much and when I start talking about Japan…I don’t stop.

But, the problem was I almost forgot. I almost gave up all my dreams for a fleeting chance at happiness.

About three years ago I was sitting in my dorm room. I was probably wasting time on Facebook or something when a friend stopped by my room. He knew that I had been having some relationship troubles and asked me point black, “Does she want to live in Japan with you.” I had been lying to myself thinking that I could somehow convince her and in the process had convinced myself into thinking I could talk her into it. I paused to answer and he could see it. He told me that if God wanted me in Japan he wasn’t going to allow me to be with someone who had zero desire to live there with me.

I hated him…my friend that is. “How dare he say that to me! He doesn’t know anything about the situation!” My thoughts were angry because I knew that what he was saying was absolutely true!

I am so grateful to my friend! Not just to him but to all of my friends. Who no matter what absolute crap that I was going through stuck by me. Who said we are going to love and support you no matter what. I hope that I can be that friend to all of you.

I had to lose all my “dreams” so that I could remember the ones that really mattered to me. The ones that I had as a child to live in Japan. A kid who grew up in Texas with a dream of living in Japan…that’s not your normal dream…



Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ask Me Anything!

Over the weekend I had to answer a ton of question about why I wanted to work and live in Japan. Well, here is your chance to read my answers! Most of you know my pretty well. Maybe, you don't know me at all. Either way, ask me anything you would like to know.

Don't forget to check out my donation page!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Being Creative!

So, in my desire to raise money for my move to Japan I have come up with a few cool ideas. When we go to the super market and swipe our card to pay for our groceries we get a sack full of goodies. Why not get something from me when you donate to my trip? So, here is a list. I broke it down into different brackets of giving.

$5-$9 A virtual high five...basically a Youtube video of me giving you a high five.
$10-$20 A personalized short story or poem (Autographed and sent to you)
$50-$100 A fully edited video posted to Youtube (could be a music video or short film)
$100-$500 I will come to your house and cook you dinner. (There will be restrictions)
$500-$1000 If you have kids I will baby sit for you. (If you have kids you know this is worth more than the amount you are giving!)
$1000+ I will promise to name my first child after you (To be honest I can't promise this...but I will try to keep it!)

With every donation you will also get a super secret prize! (Probably and autographed autograph on a random CD)

While this is humorous it is also 100% true! I'm just trying to be creative in my fundraising. You can to here to donate...or if you would rather not donate online you can contact me on Facebook!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You Know Me!

In 2000, at the age of 18, I went to Japan for the first time. Since then, I have never been the same. My passion and dream has been to live and work in Japan. In the summer of 2008 I was once again able to go to Japan and teach. I was uncertain if my feelings and desires to be in Japan would still be there after 8 years. Within a short period of time I knew that nothing had changed except for wanting to be in Japan even more.

Now with orientation coming up in December and the possibility of being in Japan as soon as March I’m looking to raise some money. A lot of times people will just say, “Hey pray for me!” While, this is appropriate and welcomed I need to raise some money for my trip. As one of my professors used to say, “I covet your prayers”. I don’t however, covet your money. I understand that not every can give…but for those that can I would really appreciate it!


Here is what I will be using the money for:

I need a place to live and will need rent money for the first month.

I’m going to need to buy a plane ticket…which will be one way but still expensive non the less.

Food…people need to eat and that people is me!

I won’t have a car (possibly a car for work but not for personal use) and will need money to get around.


If you have questions for me please don’t hesitate to call me, facebook me, tweet me, friendster me, myspace me…whatever! Just ask…you know me!


Please check out to donate and help send me to Japan. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Who Is A Martyr?

Why are we as Americans so quick to call ourselves martyrs. Or claim that we are receiving some kind of religious persecution? Do people not realize what this means??

We throw these terms around and throw Bible verses around so we can prove our points. Honestly, that’s not what the Bible is for and if that’s how you are using it…PLEASE STOP READING THE BIBLE!

It all started last week when everyone cried martyr, when Tim Tebow’s celebration got mocked. His celebration is him taking a knee and praying. I assume he is praying I don’t know. I’m not in his head. But, I do know that many NFL players have celebrations and they get mocked.

My issue is with all these Christians crying about how brave Tim Tebow is now and how is is suffering for God. Really! Suffering for God?? You have got to be kidding me! He is a multi millionaire, who is paid to play a game, a game I played when I was 15! He may be a Christian…but he is not, let me repeat, IS NOT suffering for Christ. The only thing that is suffering is his QB rating. And for that…maybe he should be praying more.

The other issue I have is when Christians take Bible verses out of context ( surprising I know right!) so they can somehow claim that we are supposed to be pacifists. This is a huge issue I have anabaptists, memmonites, etc. They always pull the the “turn the other cheek” verse. Please…read the Bible in context!! I beg you! (I’m not talking about fighting in wars. That’s a different topic.) 

Quick hermeneutics lesson from Romans (Lester Hicks would be proud!). Paul is talking about when Christians face hardships from people who hate them…because they are Christians. If someone breaks into your house and tries to kill your family…you aren’t going to turn the other cheek…I hope! You are going to use your God given smarts to defend yourself. Also, the person breaking into your house more than likely isn’t doing so because you are a Christian. This isn’t China.

We live in America. I’m pretty sure that most of us have NEVER faced religious persecution on the level of  anything described in the Bible.

Real Martyrs lay down their life for the service of Christ.

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is going to get ugly…but who cares?

A couple of years ago while living in the city I had to deal with some neighbors of mine that were…well law breakers. They were selling drugs, sex, and always asking me for money. I tried my best to help out this family. I put them in contact with several organizations to help them but they didn’t want help. So, I stopped trying and within a few weeks of this they were evicted.

The apartment was all but condemned and took months and thousands of dollars to get the place into a sellable condition. Yet, I still tried to help out this mother and her family. I had compassion for her…much to the chagrin of my roommates and people I talked to. I didn’t want to see her to continue to be in the rut that was ultimately ruining her life.

She had 5 ( I think) kids who were never in school, stealing cars (with infants in the back seat), crashing said stolen cars, and trying to find new ways to lie and cheat at everything. But, I didn’t want to give up on her. I wanted to see her accomplish something. I could see in her eyes that she didn’t want to be living this way.

I had many conversations with her about God, church, and her family. I tried to get her to come to church with me but she was always busy. Sometimes, church can be intimidating and I understand that. A single mom shows up to most churches and she might get weird looks or even be asked to leave.

Truth be told most people aren’t equipped to handle things like this. Not that I am any kind of expert but I’m a people person. I love talking to people and seeing what makes them tick.

I often wonder what happened to her and her family. I also wonder if I did enough. But, I did. I did everything I could to help her and when my limited “expertise” ran out I directed her to people more suitable.

This is the real world. This is a messy place. Sometimes, people aren’t going to walk through the doors of our church. We have to get into the streets and meet people where they are.

It really frustrates me when I see people in church who are “too busy” to help. Or, who think it’s solely the pastors job to “get dirty”. No where in the Bible does Jesus ever say that we are just supposed to sit around and wait for people to come seek us out.

I have very little tolerance for people who are “too busy”. People need help. They need emotional support, physical help, spiritual healing, you name it. How long are people who call themselves Christians going to sit around and ignore the needs of others?

This is going to get ugly…but who cares? I do



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Walk Down Memory Lane

I remember being sick as a child. My mother would drape a towel over my pillow (not one of the good bath towels of course ) and place the special bowl next to my bed, affectionately referred to as the "barf bucket". The hope was that if you got sick in the middle of the night you would not have to make the treacherous trip all the way to the bathroom.

Now that I'm older I can sit here and logically think about this ordeal. My main question is, "who's job was it to empty the barf bucket?" I mean seriously, I was only like seven or eight...surely my mother did not expect me to empty this myself!

Yet, as an adult I still have that be cautious when I get sick. To be prepared just incase I can't make it down stairs in time. But, I also think about getting sick differently and handle it better than when I was seven.

I write all this to say one thing. Sorry Ricky for throwing up in your front yard...and possibly out the bedroom window.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Out of Your World!

That's the phrase that I have heard so many times. And as I sit here thinking and praying about my future in Japan that phrase repeats itself. There is some uncertainty to my life in Japan. I don't have an exact date yet, I don't know what school I will be teaching at, or even where I will be living.

The selfish part of me wants it to be near where I have friends. Yet that phrase get out of your world interrupts my thoughts. Now, I feel must define what I'm talking about here. Get out, for me is a calling that I feel should be enacted into all of our lives. Far to many times people live in their own little bubble. They see the same people, eat the same foods, go to the same places. That's just not for me! I can't just stay and be still, especially as a Christian. Christ never commanded us to sit and wait around for Him to come back. He said go! Get out there, get dirty, mess things up!

So, that's my plan. To get out. And honestly I don't know where I will be teaching in Japan. But where ever it is I pray that this Ohio born, Texas raised, Detroit hardened, Amish town living man can make a difference.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Of All The Accomplishments Of Man…

Look around the world that we live in. Take just 1 minute, I’ll wait. If what you are looking at is made by a human then what you are seeing is amazing!

We have found a way to harness the power of electricity to light our houses. Indoor plumbing has saved millions of lives by cutting down on our contact with waste. We have heating in our houses to keep us warm when for thousands of years people had open fires in their houses.

Take the complicated. Medicines that keep us healthy. Doctors that can operate on a patient thousands of miles away via a robot.

Yet, of all the accomplishments of man…it seems like replacing the toilet paper on the roll is HARDEST THING TO DO!!!



Monday, October 3, 2011

“Part Time” Ministry

There is a fundamental disconnect between the church and the people they hire. I’m not saying there is a problem with the people they hire. I’m saying that there is a problem with which the way they view those they hire.

There is no such thing as a part time pastor, or part time youth pastor. It honestly is a…well I’ll be blunt, it’s a way for churches to hire someone and pay them at half the rate and half the benefits (or none at all) of a full time employee. I’m hesitant to call it a scam but it is borderline.

A youth pastor or whatever you want to call it that is paid based on half time is a joke. I say this because the work of a minister cannot be based on  time. What’s worse is that it’s a slap in the face to say that a youth pastor only works half the time that anyone else in the church works.

As a pastor your work is never done and cannot be measured in hours or checked off in a list of things to do (yes you can have a job description of expectations) . My problem is that churches get away with paying minsters half and knowingly work them for usually more than 40 hours.

I’m not sure why or when we allowed this to happen. Some churches get it right, yet others tend to only see youth pastors an a non essential piece to the ministry puzzle.

Think about it…being a pastor is a 24/7 job…and churches take advantage of it…just saying.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

I just don’t understand

I am very apprehensive about writing this post. My reasoning is not to offend or anger but merely an attempt for me to digest what is going on in my head.

I pose this question. Why have we made teenagers think that their sexuality is something they need to have figured out by their teens years?

That might make zero sense but hear me out. I feel like we have two paradigms here. One saying that you have to find who you are and that’s who you are going to be for the rest of your life. And another saying you have to do it as soon as possible!

I don’t feel like I’m totally out of touch with this subject. I work with teens every week and see the pressure they face. The bullying, hate, betrayal, and hurt they go through.

I just don’t understand. Why  we as a society are forcing these kids to be gay, straight, or whatever? I remember when I was 14 and in school. I’m sure there were kids in my school that were gay, there were also kids that were straight. (And I grew up in Texas!) No one that I can ever remember made a big deal out of either. When did this shift happen where all of a sudden these kids (because they are just kids!) have to defend themselves for a lifestyle choice at 14?

I just don’t get it. These kids (gay or straight) need to be loved. They need to be shown that at 14 things don’t make sense. Shoot, at 29 things don’t even make sense! Kids need to be shown that bullying isn’t cool and isn’t right.

In the end you have to see where this is heading. My posts rarely don’t include something Biblical. This post will be no different. We desperately need to show the love of Christ to the bully as well as the kid being bullied. That’s all I got, that’s the only answer I can find for all of this.

This is the reason I am so thankful to be a part of a ministry that says, come in and be loved. Let’s talk about life and lets find a better way to do it. Let’s not force decisions that are going to affect our lives at 14 alone.

Be Blessed


*Edit I don’t claim to be an expert on anything. I write for that exact purpose. These are my thoughts unedited as the pour out of my head. Disagree or agree with me that’s ok. This is just one man’s view of the world around him.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So long sweet summer…

Every have one of those summers, where things just don't go your way? But, before you think this is some kind of 'whoa is me post' i should clarify that most of this feeling is my doing.

Now, i had no idea that i was going to held up at gun point, lose my job, and attend counseling each week for ptsd. That i really had no way of controlling. Nor could i control the way that i was treated at gamestop because of what happened.

There were however elements of the summer that i was able to control. Yet when it came down to it i let my desire for what i wanted to happen over ride what God wanted to happen for my summer. Whether you believe it or not I do think that God has some sort of plan for my life. Unfortunately i think that this summer i wanted what i wanted for my summer instead.

The entire summer was not a total waste. During July i was able to teach an amazing group of kids from Spain. During my time with them i was reminded by how much i love teaching. Which i needed a reminder of.

I also got to go to Washington DC for the first time with some really great friends. I love being able to surround myself with all that history. I was also able to spend some time (not as much as i would have liked) with a friend that I met while i was teaching in Japan 3 years ago.

As i sit here and write this i am finding it extremely hard to say that i had a bad summer. If anything it was not what i wanted it to be...but turns out that might not be so much of a bad thing after all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Crazy World.

I know that we live in crazy times. People are under ridiculous amounts of stress from work, families, and life. Everywhere you turn there is something else popping up and making life just a little worse.

Then you find yourself in South Carolina buying a fake ipad in a McDonald's parking lot. That is if you are Ashley McDowell. You see Ashley was approached by two men (one even had gold teeth supposedly) in the parking lot of her local McDonald’s and was asked if she wanted to buy an Ipad.

Now, I don’t know Ashley nor do I feel OK with calling her stupid. But I can say this. If someone offers to sell you anything in any parking lot odds are it’s stolen, fake, or someone is going to kill you. Common sense will tell you this.

My problem isn’t that she was duped into to buying a fake ipad for 180 bucks. My problem is that now the police are trying to find the men that sold her the ‘ipad’ (which was nothing more than a piece of wood painted black with stickers on it).

Why didn’t they just lock up Ashley? Clearly she is more a threat to society then these two men are. OK, OK, I know that she probably thought she was getting a ‘sweet deal!’ But, honestly when are we going to start punishing the stupid? Next thing you know McDonalds will get sued because someone doesn’t realize their coffee is hot…oh wait!


Actual Photo!

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Design

I have updated my blog with a new design. I liked the old one but sometimes you just need to change things up. Not everything is best is left unchanged.

Also, I will start this new design off right tomorrow with a new post. I really wanted to do something last week with music but things fell through. Which oddly enough has been a running theme this summer.

So with that, stay safe out there. This hurricane has left my area but it's just moving up the coast.


Monday, August 8, 2011

New Blog Series

Starting tomorrow I will be starting a new blog series. I will be updating each day with a different band that I am listening to or just really like.

Monday I will be starting out with…in my opinion…one of the greatest bands, Mae. I don’t care if you disagree. Get a blog and do your own stupid blog posts on the crappy music you listen to!

Each day I will inform you on why I listen to them, what songs are, what I feel are their best, an so on. I will also include videos for you to check out so your blogging experience will be complete.  

Check ya later!


Friday, July 15, 2011

It takes a village…

I really don’t like the phrase, “It takes a village”. There are no particular reasons why but I feel that in church ministry it fits perfectly. Let me explain.

A church that functions in a way where everyone is involved with the growth of the church, is acting in the way the church should. I will through in a disclaimer here that there are many other functions but I would like to focus on growth here for a second.

If your sole purpose in going to church is to mingle, hang out, socialize, or even just meet new people then you are going to a social club and not a church.

Think about it this way. If you really enjoy your church, you are truly feeling blessed, and you are growing you are going to want to share that experience with others. Thus, leading you to invite people to share in the same thing that you are sharing in.

It’s no different than going to see a really good movie. You head to the theatre with your friends to see a film and afterwards you are all over twitter and Facebook ranting about how good the movie was. You want your friends to share that same feeling you did while you where at the movies.

Why aren’t we like that in church? Often times I hear people complain that the choir isn’t big enough, or not enough kids come to the youth group…WELL…Change it!

These things don’t just happen on their own! Create an environment that you want to share with others.

So yes, it does take a village. It takes an congregation to get behind someone with good ideas, support them, and tell their friends about it.

Otherwise…we should just close down the church and start hanging out at Denny’s…

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jonah Part 3

1Once again the LORD told Jonah 2to go to that great city of Nineveh and preach his message of doom.

3Jonah obeyed the LORD and went to Nineveh. The city was so big that it took three days just to walk through it. 4After walking for a day, Jonah warned the people, "Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!"

5They believed God's message and set a time when they would go without eating to show their sorrow. Then everyone in the city, no matter who they were, dressed in sackcloth.

6When the king of Nineveh heard what was happening, he also dressed in sackcloth; he left the royal palace and sat in dust. [a] 7-9Then he and his officials sent out an order for everyone in the city to obey. It said: None of you or your animals may eat or drink a thing. Each of you must wear sackcloth, and you must even put sackcloth on your animals.

   You must also pray to the LORD God with all your heart and stop being sinful and cruel. Maybe God will change his mind and have mercy on us, so we won't be destroyed.

10When God saw that the people had stopped doing evil things, he had pity and did not destroy them as he had planned.


The third chapter of Jonah starts out exactly like the first. There is a command from God to deliver a message to the people of Nineveh. Thankfully, this time, Jonah listed to God's command and make the long journey to Nineveh.

Now the text doesn't say anything about this but Jonah had about a three day journey to Nineveh after the fish threw him up. I wonder what Jonah thought about while on his trip. His mind had to have been racing about the huge mistake he had just made. He also must have been thinking about how amazingly gracious God was by giving him a second chance.

Either way, Jonah made it to Nineveh and instantly began speaking to crowds of people. He warned them of the fact that God was going to destroy the city in forty days because of their evilness. When the people heard this they immediately changed their ways. They began fasting and mourning. Even the king stepped down and told the entire city that not even the animals where to eat.

This had to come as a surprise to Jonah. After all his disobedience and refusal of God, these people which God was going to destroy, turned and repented.

For me I see this as a sign of hope. Earlier this week I wrote that we often believe that our way is better than God's way. We think get the idea in our mind that we somehow know more than God and that we know what is best for our lives. Often this is because we foresee the outcome has something to be feared.

We forget that God sees things for start to finish. Where as we can only perceive the here and now. We let our past failures dictate our future. God saw that the people of Nineveh would be receptive to His message through Jonah. Jonah could only see the sinfulness of the people and what he though would be their response to him. Tomorrow I will talk about how Jonah responds to the people's might be surprised.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jonah Part 2

Jonah’s Prayer
1Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, 2saying,
"I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
   and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep,
   into the heart of the seas,
   and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
   passed over me.
4 Then I said, 'I am driven away
   from your sight;
yet I shall again look
   upon your holy temple.'
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
   the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
   whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
   O LORD my God.
7When my life was fainting away,
   I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
   into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
   will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!"

10And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.


Desperation...and reliance on God.

After being thrown out of the boat during a great storm (Jonah 1: 12-15) God provided a giant fish to swallow up Jonah. God still wanted to use Jonah despite his determination to flee from God's will. In chapter 2 of Jonah we see Jonah finally realizing that his way is not the best and that following God is the best choice.

Jonah recognizes that his life should have ended. God could have simply left Jonah to drown in the depths of the ocean. Yet, God's plan was not to let Jonah die. He wanted Jonah to fulfill a purpose. Despite his initial unbelief God still wanted Jonah.

In chapter 2 we see Jonah coming to grips with his need for total reliance on God. Read his prayer again. In it you see a man with nothing but his life left to lose. Jonah praises God and looks to God for his deliverance from the great fish.

I don't know about you but I don't like fish. I never did. I would sometimes go fishing with my dad when I was younger and dreaded catching anything for fear of having to touch the fish. When I think about Jonah I cringe at his situation. Being inside a giant fish with nothing but time to think about everything that you have done wrong. Yet, God is powerful enough to spare his life. Despite the damp, dark, grossness of the inside of the fish Jonah cries out to God. Jonah turns back to God and says, “ I will fulfill my vowels”.

Jonah has desperation to flee God into a total reliance of God for his life. Jonah is then thrown up by the fish and is able to continue on his journey with God.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jonah Part 1

Jonah 1
Jonah Flees From the LORD
1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

   But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the LORD, “Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.


Right away in verse two we see God's call to Jonah. “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh”. This is a pretty straight forward command. God wants Jonah to fulfill a purpose. That purpose is to go and tell the people of Nineveh how wicked they are. Understandably, this is not going to be an easy task. I don't know if you have ever had to call someone out on their sin but more often than not this not as simple as it sounds. Yet, this is what God is calling Jonah to do.

Unfortunately, Jonah does the exact opposite. The text says that he simply, “got up and went the opposite direction”. His hope is that he would escape the will of God. So, he bought a ticket on the nearest boat that would take him the farthest away from God.

Jonah had made it up in his mind that his plan for his life was better than God's plan. Jonah decided that instead of following what God wanted was not as important than what Jonah wanted. Yet, I can't fault Jonah. I think back into my own lifetime and think of the many times that I have turned my back on what God wants for my life and proceed to take myself as far away from God's plan as I could get. While I didn't end up in the belly of a great fish I did find my self in a place distant from God. Far to many times we live life trying to distance our self from the will of God. Placing our own will before his. So, what is you Nineveh?

God has a plan

Jonah decided that his plan was better than God's plan.

What is your Nineveh?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What is your story?

A funny thing happened to me when I was about fifteen or sixteen. Well I should really clarify what I mean...

When I was in high school I spent a lot of time at church and with my youth group. Often, while at church, we would have people give their personal testimony. They would come up front and talk about the (sometimes) terrible things that they had gone through before they went on to know Christ.

For me this wasn't really the case. I had grown up in the church, been involved for many years, and thought that was my story. At the time I prayed for something like that...I thought I had a boring story. Little did I know... well if you know me then you know that's not exactly how things went for me and this post isn't about me anyway.

I say this because there are a lot of people out there with amazing stories. Just this past Saturday I picked up a friend from the airport. I met Beate 3 years ago while teaching in Japan. Her and I were both teaching at the same school over the summer and really hit it off. Now, she is here in the states for the very first time. And, while she does know some people here this is a new experience for her. New sights and sounds that we take for granted.

Similar to my summer in Japan I had to totally relay on God for guidance. I had no idea what was int store for my future. Or the amazing things I would see and do while I was so far away from home.

Beate, will be experiencing some cool things while she is her and my pray is that God uses this to enhance her story. Now for her sake but for His. So that this trip might bring glory to him.

So, what is your story?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hey Look…It’s Jesus

So, I just wanted to leave you all with  a blog post as this might be the last thing I type…although I don’t believe it will be but just bear with me for these few short moments.

I don’t know the name of the church that has incited all the ridiculous rapture talk. I just don’t feel like googleing “family life radio”…which goes to show I really do know who they are…ANYWAY…

Jesus is not going to come back tomorrow…I mean He might…but then again He probably won’t. I know that I should be careful with my words because as I’m about to prove…I could be wrong.

There is a book in the Bible called Matthew…in it, Matthew makes an account of some things Jesus said and did. If you turn to the 24th Chapter you see Jesus with his disciples on the Mt. of Olives.  The disciples were asking Jesus about what they should be looking for after Jesus died, rose again, went to heaven and returned for them.

Jesus starts out with a warning…that in todays case I think we should observe. He says, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

He mentions much much more but let me break it down to this:


Point 1 Many people are going to claim to be Jesus

Point 2  There will be many wars

Point 3 People are going to hate you

Point 4 Lots of destruction…like big time…not good!

Point 5 Lots more destruction…like crazy stuff going down I mean Verse 35 says, “heaven and earth shall pass away”…this is a big deal

But the huge thing is this. Jesus says “But of that day and hour no man will know, not angels of heaven, but my father ONLY”

The folks at family life radio have figured out some sort of mathematical (man made) equation to figure out the return of Christ…I guess they know something Jesus didn’t even know. But plan on them releasing a statement claiming they factored something wrong…shoot they did the same thing like 20 years ago.

I end with this. Forgive those who have wronged you, tell people you love them, believe that Christ died for you, and follow his example…after all he had the right idea. And if tomorrow comes and goes…like it will continue to strive towards excellence.

Remain spiritually tenacious


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama is dead, I’m just saying…

So at this point unless you live under a rock, (queue geiko commercial) you know that “we” have killed Osama Bin Laden.

Thanks needs to go out to the President for making the call, the soldiers for daily risking their lives, the intelligence groups, and others that worked to take this man down.

Also, as of this post, the president has decided not to release the photos of the now dead terrorist. Honestly, I’m glad he made this decision. I don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theorists who are just going to use this as more proof our government is lying to us. They already lie…we know that.

Truth be told I don’t think we need to see it. We live in an amazing technological age but I think at times we go to far.

I remember back to my first trip to Japan in 2000. Survivor had just started, one of the first reality shows. Since then there have been close to 8 billion “reality” shows.

We see enough already…do we really need to see Osama with a bullet hole in his head?

Just saying…


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I’m just saying…

Ever wonder why people don’t like evangelicals? I did. I could never understand why people literally hated my beliefs. Let me restate that, I thought they hated my beliefs. In all honesty Christian beliefs are not to blame here, in fact it’s just the believers.

My problem is this, why is it at this time period do I feel completely at odds with the people that claim to believe the same things I do.

Let me be very clear here, I am in now way doubting or questioning what I believe. I know that my faith in my belief is not what has been shaken here.

As a general and broad sweeping statement, this is why most people “hate” Christians. We turn our back on our own quicker than someone who isn’t in the faith. Yet it is disguised as compassion and concern.

Wake up evangelicals, your world is falling apart and you are to blame.

I’m just saying


Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Return to Truth…

Life is something that can be too much to handle at times. If you look around the day to day sufferings of people alone can start to weight on you.

Questions like, “Why does God allow suffering”, resound in our heads.

That question doesn’t even begin to answer our day to day life questions. We have bills to pay, papers to write, books to read, people to interact with, or not interact with. We have jobs, and churches and lives that seem monotonous at times.

While millions of people around the world are suffering, we sit in our little homes and rage battles within ourselves. The threat of attack not from some foreign dictator or chemical agent, but from within our own minds.

Our own thoughts can become a voice louder than the voice of reason, louder than the voice of truth. At times our reason can present itself as truth and lead us to believe that our version of truth is truth.

Everything I have written to this point is what I have believed to be truth. While there was opinion involved I made sure that I had some sort of Biblical passage to back up my thoughts.

In the book No Argument for God: Going Beyond Reason in Conversations About Faith, John Wilkinson says that, “Relational truth comes to us from outside of ourselves”.

I suppose I should end this series by asking a question, what truth are you listening to?

Remain spiritually tenacious


Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Return to Suffering…

OK, so I must admit that this is probably not the best way to title a blog post. But, I’m going to attempt to redeem myself.

Life is not without its struggles. Which, is very apparent by just turning on the television and watching any one of the 24 hour news channels.

Everyday we are bombarded with terror, tragedy, heart break, and pain. Now, there are those who assume that somehow being a Christian automatically makes you immune to such issues. Well, let me be the first to tell you that it doesn’t. Honestly, to think such things is pretty naive of anyone.

So what is the point of all this Christianity anyway? I mean, if I’m not going to avoid suffering then why should I trust someone I can’t see with my pain?

I’m glad you asked. The long and short of it is this. Christ (God) came to Earth so He could walk in our shoes. Why? So that when we are afflicted with any type of suffering  we can always go to someone (God) who has already been through it. Christ did not merely come to Earth to teach us about peace and love (which He also did) but to take on the ultimate form of suffering (atonement) for us.

Christ never promised a life without suffering. Spurgeon wrote, “Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in his steps. Find a sweet support in his sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honorable thing-to suffer for Christ is glory.”

Yeah, it sounds weird, but know that you have someone who has already been through it all. Suffering beyond all suffering, suffering even to the cross for your sake.


Remain spiritually tenacious


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Return to Prayer

Matthew 26:39

“And He went a little farther, and fell on His face and prayed.”

How do we pray?

Is it with outstretched hands in the city square much like the Pharisees for all to see? Or our are prayers brought to God in great humbleness when no one can see us?

We must strive to turn our communal worship into a oneon one experience with our creator. While it is importance to enjoy the fruits of community we need not forget the great importance of being alone with out savior.

Spurgeon wrote, “He withdrew even from his three favored disciples. Believer, be much in solitary prayer, especially in times of trial. Family prayer, social prayer, prayer in the Church, will not suffice, these are very precious, but the best beaten spice will smoke in your censer in your private devotions, where no ear hears but God’s”

Remain spiritually tenacious


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Return to Community (Part 2)…

In my last post...long ago, Ricky posted about the importance of community, or at least got the ball rolling in that direction.

I wanted to continue this post by reaffirming its importance.

On Friday(March 11th) Sendai, Japan was rocked by one of the largest earth quakes in centuries. Followed by a devastatingly massive tsunami. As the days following this tragedy nuclear fears as well as the fear of finding lost loved ones continue.

Japan will be recovering from this devastation for years. Yet within all this horror there is no rioting, mass panic, or from what I can see blaming of the government for not reacting quickly enough.

Is it somehow possible that the victims of this tragedy are somehow reacting better than the residents of say...New Orleans?

Yes, it is very clear that the Japanese have got it right. Their sense of community is out weighting their need to just merely survive. There are no riots, no looting, and no shooting at rescue helicopters...

This tragedy should be a wakeup call to all of us who think we can live life on our own with no sense of community. Community is the glue which holds a society together...once we decide that glue isn’t important we have no need for caring for others.

If you would like to donate to relief organizations helping out the people of Japan you can do so here. World Vision

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Return to Community (Part 1)…

By Ricky McCarl

Why is community so important?

I think we fundamentally misunderstand the purpose of community and that leads to people thinking it is something it isn’t or worse that they don’t need it at all because they have Jesus. The problem is that we are taught that our faith is between us and God and that when we get faith in God, He empowers us to do mighty things through the spirit. The sad truth is that people are down right misinformed.

I am reading a book currently called “The Amish Way” which is about Amish beliefs and practices. For those of you who do not know me, the Amish lifestyle intrigues me. The Amish intrigue me because despite their theological issue one thing they do right is biblical community. That is something that I hunger for.
Let me ask you something… If you were to be sick or dying would your church come to your aid? Would you want them too? I remember having a conversation with one of the men in my “flock” who had a son in the hospital for a while. I asked him if he needed anything and his response was no because they were a close knit family. The problem with that was that he was allowing his son’s unbelieving wife and children help him through this and he kept the community of God at arms length.

How about this… Would you want the community of God to discipline you? Some might say that they would but when the time comes what happens is we just hide the sin. The reason for this is because in our churches today we foster an attitude of judgment instead of forgiveness. Wouldn’t it be great if when we were in sin we could go before the church on bended knee, confess our sin and be given absolution? Of course it would!

We desperately need authentic biblical community and the sad truth is that in most churches today we don’t have it. That doesn’t mean we can’t have it though. I think what we need to do is forget about being an individual for once and think about being a part of something bigger. We also need to learn that each and every one of us is totally depraved and no we are not better than the other guy because he sinned and I didn’t, because the truth is that if we are honest we will be just as guilty (we will talk about that another day). If we can do these things then I think we can have biblical community in our churches.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Return to Love (Part 2)…

"I will very gladly spend and be spent for you" 2 Corinthians 12:15

This is what I’m talking about. A true love that is not focused on itself.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.” John 15:13

This is what love is about. It’s about community and sacrifice. This is what makes Christianity so radically different than other “religions” (we shall tackle the whole religion issue at a later date). While there are some religions that have good morals Christianity is about love, but not love for yourself or love for the sake of getting something out of it for yourself.

The love I’m talking about is a no holds barred attack at our pride. Our you strong enough to fight yourself to truly love others?


Remain spiritually tenacious


A return to “love” (part 1)…

Oh, such a dreaded four letter word. A word, that if we were to do some word association, would immediately get the response of the word hate from me.

I recently told a friend of mine that I no longer believed in “love” and had no use of the word. We “love” everything. Here is a list of things that I “love”, in no particular order…pizza, my bed, my cell phone, having dependable transportation, my apartment.

The list could go on but the point I am trying to make is that none of those items can return the feeling of “love” that I have for them. In fact there are very few things that can do so.

I try to start each morning by reading Oswald Chambers. Just the over day he said something that threw me, the force of this throw was combined with the moving of the Spirit in other areas of my day but Chambers words none the less stirred me.

“If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love”

There it is…that was my problem the whole time…

I tried for too long to manufacture a “love” that was one sided. In doing so and failing I told my self that there was no more “love”.

Chambers continues, “If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all.”

“It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.”

Sometimes what we think we feel and what we feel are two different things. The challenge, at least for me is to not to confuse the two ever again.


Remain spiritually tenacious

- Higgins

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I have returned…

I envy the Japanese. They are notorious for living two lives. The life that they show everyone i.e. people at work, school, strangers, etc and the life that they show just their families and closest friends.

I have envied this type of living for many years because I too was trying to do the same. Building up walls between the people I knew. I could have my work life, my church life, my friends life, and my family life. In all situations I could be the person of my choosing, the person I thought they expected me to be.

It wasn’t an easy task separating the lives but for me it was worth it. For me it meant that I never truly had to be myself. The only time I was myself was when I was alone.

After some recent and past revelations I have began to see that it is not worth it to build walls. I have seen how terrible things can come out of this unhealthy desire to hide myself. If I am truly created in the image of Christ than why am I trying to hide that image?

Expect more posts from now on. By more I mean once a day, even on the bad days.


Remain spiritually tenacious