Monday, November 29, 2004

It's official....

Christmas is now here! I started listening to Christmas music today! :) I love being able to listen to Christmas music all day, but by the time Christmas comes, I'll be all holiday-ed out. I have a couple of friends that would listen to it all year if they could get away with it.

Anyway -it has been way too long since I last updated (as if you couldn't tell!) There have been other things occupying my time, but I think my life is about to level back out to some degree. You know how it is when something new is introduced into your life - you get all caught up in it until it settles down and becomes part of the everyday routine. Well, it's about that time - time to be "back to normal" - whatever that means! I had a friend tell me once that "normal" was only a setting on the washing machine! :)

So, back to the everyday routine I go. There are a couple of things that I know God has told me to take care of and deal with - things regarding my job and my personal life - so I've got to work on those areas. I believe 2005 is going to be a full year - full of even more new and exciting changes. I'm looking forward to that. God has really been working in me lately, so I'm also looking forward to what He's going to do with me in the next year.

No doubt about it, I'll have plenty to keep me busy: strengthening my relationship with Christ, spending time with family, my job, my youth group, a new business I'm building (more on that later), and of course - my wonderful friends! Who could ask for anything more! (I don't think I'd ask for more - I wouldn't be able to handle it!) :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Catching Up

Let's see...there's been a lot going on that I haven't blogged about, so here's one event I wanted to share:

It occurred on the Saturday before Halloween. I was at church, with my youth group, and we were in the middle of our meeting, when all of a sudden these people just walked into the church. They were kids, between the ages of 9-15 or 16, who were out trick-or-treating and getting into trouble. Two of them came in and wanted water. So I gave them some (our water fountain is broken, but we have a filtered water machine). Anyway, one of the kids that came in was lingering a long time, and I was trying to usher him back out. Now before you get upset at me trying to get the kid out of the church - we were at the end of our time together and this just wasn't the time to try and invite them to join us. I knew they were up to something, and I had no idea how right I was.

So I get to the door with the kid, he steps outside and I see that there are probably 5-6 other kids out there. Anyway, when I see them, I motion back to one of my kids to bring me my cell phone. As I'm turning back around to go outside, I hear this sound, like a cracking egg, and the kids start running off...or at least a few of them start running. I stand out there for just a few seconds and came back in the church and locked the door. I called my brother (who is 6'7" and weighs about 340 lbs) to come to the church. He shows up with my other brother in tow and they look around the church to see what damage was done. I figured those kids had been hurling eggs at the church. Amazingly, they found none. So we concluded our youth meeting, everyone left and I cleaned things up and locked the church. My brothers were both hanging around (the older of the two brothers happens to live right next to the church, but he was with his wife and kids at my parent's house, along with my "big" little brother.) Anyway, I go out to my car, open the back door, lay my stuff in the seat and close the door. It was then I found out what those punk kids had done. As I closed the door, I heard this sound of crunching, crackling glass. I take one step to my right and look at my rear windshield. It was completely shattered - still hanging in place - but completely shattered. I was so mad! It drives me nuts when something I own gets damaged or broken! I'm rather particular about my "stuff".

I called the police and they came out and filed a report. Needless to say, there was NOTHING they could do - or would do. One of my kids recognized one of the punks in the crowd, so I called her to get his name. The cop already knew him, but didn't act like he was even going to go talk to the kid.

Before I left the church, we knocked out the windshield, picked out as much of the glass as we could and I duct taped a garbage bag over the window - or most of it...the bag was too small! As I was leaving to go home, I saw the kid who had been in the church with me, walking with a bunch of kids. I stopped in the middle of the road, jumped out and called out to him. He came over and this state trooper, who had been parked at the gas station on the corner, came driving up. I told him what had happened and that this kid knew who had vandalized my car. He contacted the city police and they came back out....yada yada yada. Suffice it to say, because he was a minor, and his parents weren't present, they really couldn't ask him too many questions. Of course, the kid didn't know the people he'd been hanging out with all night. Yeah...right. I wanted to jerk a knot in his head! (Boy don't I sound like a loving youth leader!) It gets worse - when I realized we weren't getting anywhere and the cops weren't going to do anything, I thanked the officers for their time, and got in my car to go home. I have to confess that I said the following statement to God - "I hope they choke on their halloween candy!!!!....after they come to know you, Jesus!!!" Hey - what would you have done?!!?

Seriously though, I don't hold any hatred in my heart for those kids. I feel sorry for them. They are doomed to repeat the cycle of life their parents are living. I would guess that most, if not all of those kids, have only one parent at home and don't even know their dad. The only way for them to break out is to meet Jesus and have a real, life-changing relationship with Him. Now, I've got to figure out what part I might play in that. Honestly, I don't know any of those kids or where they live, so I can't go meet them and try to minister to them. Besides, I'm not so sure that's what God wants me to do at this time. I know He wants me to pour into the kids I have and help them to gain a solid footing in the faith. I guess I will just pray for those other kids, that God would bring the right people into their lives to challenge them. Timing is everything - and it is always better to wait on God's timing.

Thank God no one was hurt and there wasn't more damage done. My windshield has been replaced and all is well. Can't wait to see what comes up next!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Chicken, anyone?

Have you seen the Chickenfight?

It is really quite funny.

Isn't it amazing how much money a company will spend to market their products?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

What a fun weekend!

I went to see one of my best friends this weekend in Mobile, AL. Tiffany is one of those people who, when you first meet them, instantly become a lifelong friend. I just love her! She is an awesome person - full of life and love and every good thing! You can definitely see the Light of Christ in her! I want to be like her when I grow up!!!! :-D

We had a blast! For me, just being able to get away from my everyday life was a wonderful blessing. I needed some time away. I think I may be making regular trips to Mobile - it's an easy drive and it's just good to have somewhere to escape to. I'm so glad I went.

Last week was such a struggle emotionally and spiritually for me, and God allowed me some "down time". Now, I'm just trying to prepare myself for the next thing He is bringing into my life. I've learned to not get too complacent about things. Just about the time I try to settle down into a mode of operation, He seems to bring something new into my world. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad He's moving! Life is definitely interesting these days.

While I was in Mobile, we went to a Christian bookstore and I found this great devotional I'm going to start. (Maybe tonight, but probably tomorrow.) The title of the devotional is "A heart that dances" by Catherine Martin. It is an eight-week, daily devotional that focuses on building a deeper relationship with God. In the midst of all the things going on in my life, I've heard God clearly tell me that I need to learn what it means to be intimate with Him. I'm excited and a little anxious - even though I know I have no reason to be anxious. I long to know God more, and I know that it will cost me. Yes, it is crazy to even worry about what it will cost me - the reward of knowing my Lord is worth more than anything else. But there is a process of dying to self that has to be worked through in order to know a deeper relationship with God. And that is the part that scares me. After all, I've been the one in control for most of my life. Even when I gave my life to Christ at the age of 14, I didn't fully allow Him to be Lord of my life. The time has come now, however, that He has to be Lord of all or not at all. I must trust Him - nothing else matters.

So, the fear of living an unfulfilled life, empty of God's passion and fire, is greater than the fear of giving up whatever God requires of me to know Him intimately. Therefore, I am setting out on that journey. I'm striking out on the path set before me, looking always to my Guide for instructions. I know that He will take me places I could not even begin to imagine. I also know that the momentary pain of losing things I deem "valuable" will be replaced with the joy and peace that comes with an intimate relationship with God.

I can't wait to see where this adventure will take me.

Monday, November 01, 2004

My weekly update...

Apparently, I am only going to update this thing once a week! I think my problem is I've started a written journal, so most of my thoughts are going there and I have nothing for the blog. My thoughts are too personal to share with the world right now.

I will say this - when God starts working in your life, hold on! I've never been to such deep places with God as I have in the past few weeks. It's amazing. Yesterday I was telling a friend that there are times I wish I was just a "pew pickle" - you know, those people who come and do their "Christian duty" by appearing at church when the doors open, but have no real spiritual depth?!?! But then, when I think that the Creator of the Universe wants to spend time with me, taking me to deep levels of fellowship with Himself, I am overwhelmed. How can I ever wish for anything less? Wow.

God's been really working on me. Don't ever think you've got your stuff together - that's a sure invitation for God to prove otherwise! :) I'm in a period of waiting. There are a couple of things He's doing in my life, but they're not happening right now, so I must wait. In the meantime, God's been trying to get me to really learn to trust Him and make the most of the time I have right now. Too many times I get caught up and consumed with what might come down the road and forget to thank God for what is happening right now. I end up not enjoying each moment He blesses me with. If I'm not careful, I will also miss out on other things He wants to bring into my life. I don't want to miss anything that comes from God.

So...I'm re-focusing on some things He has me involved with right now. I think that when I give myself to those things, the time I spend being involved with them will bring me closer to those other things I'm waiting for. All I know is that I can't wait to see how God brings it all to pass.

There's no doubt about it - the Christian life can be hard at times, but it is never dull!