"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Heart Condition

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Normally I write a blog post, clean it up and then post it…not today. I’m going to write it raw and uncensored…hopefully it will make sense.

A year ago today my world came to a crashing halt. My wife Christine, the love of my life, had a heart attack that night and though it was a minor one…it shook our faith.

It was late when it happened and most of the house was asleep except for Sarah, my oldest daughter. When my wife was stable and resting, I returned home…it was now around 3:30 in the morning. I was exhausted and wondering how I would tell my kids that their mom had a heart attack and now was in ICU awaiting further tests. That was very difficult, my kids range from age 8 to 21 and their response was as varied as their age.

The next few days were a blur of phone calls. hospital visits, talking to concerned friends and family, and trying to manage a resemblance of normality for my kids at home. We have a great support system and the body of Christ surrounded us with love and care. All during this time I remained strong and focused on leading my family through this difficult and painful time. I talked to my kids, trying to give them space to express their fears or worries…I did the same for other relatives. I kept a brave face on, speaking Scripture and expressing worship…for I was truly grateful.

There was one problem with that brave face….I was also truly hurting.

I was afraid that my wife was going to die, or that she would endure a painful recovery and never be the same person again. I’ve seen other people who have suffered heart attacks and they became shells of their former self. I didn’t want that for her. I was afraid that my kids would be hurt and not ever trust God if their mom died. I cried in secret and moaned in solitude…trying to be strong for everybody, I was suffering from a different kind of heart problem. Instead of sharing my pain…I buried it…deep.

Here it is a year later and I’m finally dealing with it. I realize that there was something my wife mentioned back then (while she was in the hospital) that has bothered me but that I wasn’t dealing with. Christine, during one really vulnerable moment, mentioned how she wished she went home…and I don’t mean Hyde Park, NY. That statement shook me and made me wonder just how she could want to leave us…it really bothered me, so I pushed it deeper inside.

Today I realize that statement made by my wife a year ago is one of the reasons I love her so. On a piece of paper I wrote on a year ago I wrote this Scripture from Psalm 4, it didn’t seem to fit what I was going through then.

“Lord, you have put joy in my heart, more than they have when their grain and their wine are increased.” Psalm 4:7

I know my wife loves me, I know she loves her children, but thankfully, she loves Christ more. Her love for her God is something I admire and draws me closer to her. I can’t blame her for wanting to be with her savior, to be in His presence forever…that’s the heart condition I need. The joy comes a deep relationship with Him, not just when times are good (increased harvest) or in my case, because my wife survived a heart attack. No, the expectation is for Him, not for a life free of trials.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.”  Psalm 39: 7

So, here I am. I’m being to unearth the pain and deal honestly with it all. I know that it is still a process…but hope is returning to strengthen my faith. I wrote a poem in 2002 that speaks to me today.

Wet with Hope

I have touched life
with handfuls of hope.

Letting it run through
my fingers.

Soaking all I wear.
Wetting my pathway.

I take my still wet hands to
my face and wipe it clean.

My eyes clear once more.
I see the place where
I’m standing.

It’s wet with hope,
uplifting my position.

Thanks for letting bear my soul a bit today…there is more to come.
Blessings,
Jay

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

We Stand Alone Together – Part 1

 

band-of-brothers

It takes two men to make one brother. ~Israel Zangwill

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17 ESV

Recently I have been watching my DVD copy of the HBO series Band of Brothers, which tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in World War II. Their motto was…Currahee! We stand alone together! I love this series, and I love listening to the actual accounts of the men who went through extreme sacrifice for their country and for each other. Years have past and these men talk about their “brothers” like they were still in the foxholes with them…their bond was that intimate and deep.

I have been musing about this for days now and the Father led me through an interesting exercise. The outcome of that exercise was mind blowing and I found out this…I am 313 years old…in friend years. Let me explain the exercise and give you a gist of what I discovered.

I wrote down my own band of brothers, using 13 (of my closest friends) as a cutoff number (there are 13 soldiers in the above graphic) and tallied up the number of years we have been friends. Here’s the rough breakdown.

Friend 1 = 47 years
Friend 2 = 37 years
Friend 3 = 35 years
Friend 4 = 35 years
Friend 5 = 35 years
Friend 6 = 20 years
Friend 7 = 20 years
Friend 8 = 20 years
Friend 9 = 20 years
Friend 10 = 18 years
Friend 11 = 11 years
Friend 12 = 7 years
Friend 13 = 3 years

Of these 13 there are five men who I meet monthly with in a group called PointMen, in that group the friend years add to 76. Do you want to know my discovery?

I am rich with friendship years.

I do not compare the stuff my band of brothers has gone through with the sacrifice that members of Easy Company made but we have locked arms through some difficult times…and remained friends. There have been times we have stood alone…together.

We have sat with each in hospital rooms and ER’s, consoled each other when dreams died, encouraged each other when hope were fading and challenged each other when we needed a kick in the pants. We have been together at celebrations and funerals, parties and prayer meetings, vacations and retreats…the common bond of Christ has kept us. I believe in them and I trust they have my back, in deed and in prayer.

Do you have a Band of Brothers?

Do they have your back…and do you cover theirs?

More in Part 2

Yours in Brotherhood,
Jay

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bad Sheep Time – Bruised EGO


The Bad Boys are back with their response the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival on Ego hosted by BRIDGET CHUMBLEY. Head on over to read the more intelligent offerings deposited there by many talented bloggers. Be blessed everybody!

bad sheep no. 16

And now, the REAL worship song…..

 

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

I’m Forgiven

forgivenessrain Today part of my family went to a neighborhood church that held VBS this past week. The Sunday service is given over to the VBS crew and all the kids sing, recite and basically show off to their parents…it’s great fun. As I watched Becky (8) and Isaac (10), my two youngest, strut their stuff up front I couldn’t help but reminisce. There were so many triggers to jog my memory, the biggest was sitting next to me…I call her mom.

Jesse Temple is not my real mom but in almost every sense of the word, she is mom to me. Mom Temple is part of the reason I follow Christ today, some 40 plus years later after meeting her family. Her son Alan and I have been close friends since we were seven…that’s a long time (I’m 54). He was sitting with his family in the same pew as us, next to his Mom with his wife and two daughters…it was quite a picture. You see, those forty some odd years ago, I accepted Christ at a Kid’s Crusade (much like a VBS) after Alan invited me to come with his family.

During the service, Mom Temple leaned over to me at one point and whispered…

“Seeing all those kids up there gives me hope.”

She’s right of course but I realized something else and I thought…

My kids are up there because I’m forgiven…because I’m His.

The hope that Mom sees and the heritage I see are the result of forgiveness…mine.

I desperately needed (still do) a Savior, someone to rescue me…and my future. When I think of the near death experiences and the attempts to derail my life, I shudder inside. Forgiveness has enabled me to live the life God has intended for me, it’s so much more than being “saved” it’s a calling to become. I can become the husband, the father, the brother, the son and the man I was designed to be…because I’m forgiven.

Thank you Father, knowing I’m forgiven…sets me free to become.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

I'm forgiven. And I don't have to carry. The weight of who I've been. Cause I'm forgiven!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

To Lead Them with Strong Hands

 

"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

This is a song for fathers and husbands today and when I heard it this morning I knew I had to share it. The Father continues to “disturb me” (see Disturbing Steps and Dreaming My Life Away and Spirit Warrior) and that is such a good thing.

I feel the need to become dangerous…let me explain.

God’s sons are dangerous men; living and loving like their heavenly Father. Sons freely give themselves over to the hands of an unsafe God. (I’ll pause for a moment and let that sink in; you may hum if you like). God is love, but He is not safe. Don’t agree? Just ask yourself this question. Was the mission Jesus carried out “safe”? The truth is that once we are rewritten into the story as sons, our safety is at the discretion of the Father. He delivers, He protects, He provides; that all adds up security and it may even give us a safe feeling. Yes, God deals with issues of safety but He is more concerned with issues of our character.

What it comes down to is that my idea of “safe” is different from God’s. Mine involves not being exposed to danger, any kind, anywhere. I daydream of performing risky, daredevil like actions. I want to be the guy who saves the day…I just want to be safe while I doing it! It seems that I’m often asking God to be my bodyguard instead of changing the “somebody” I am.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret on how to be heroic…let the Father make you into a son. Allow the rewrite of your story…it’s a step of faith and it’s risky. I know of no greater risk than to put your life in the hands of another. To say, “not my will but yours be done”, is some of the bravest words ever spoken. Sons speak this way; it’s typical of their vocabulary. Their speech is full of words of sacrifice, giving, surrendering and pouring out. Sons get the picture; they see their part and seize the moment, and all while giving way to the father’s plan to flourish.

Jesus gutted out His experience in the garden, He agonized over the cost He was destined to pay. Yet, the Son bowed all He was to the Father’s will, shifting the focus away from the cup to purposefully draining its contents. There was nothing casual about the way Jesus walked out His sonship.

Our call to fathering, our call to being a husband is part of our walk as His sons. Casual is not an option, the danger is too great…the cost…greater still. When we are disturbed by the Father, He “passionates” our being, empowers the way we
love our wives and the way we father our children. If we focus on helping our children develop Godly character, if we love our wives like Christ loves the Church, if we just trust Him, we can change a little bit of the world in this manner.

That’s the kid of dangerous man I want to be….

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

In and for Him,
Jay

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Spirit Warrior

I had this vision about spiritual warfare in 2002. (I’ve been sharing a lot about dreams and visions lately see Disturbing Steps and Dreaming My Life Away)
As I continue to be disturbed and shaken by the Holy Spirit I thought i would share this with you. This is a time of increased spiritual battles in my life (no doubt, in yours as well) and being reacquainted with this vision was/is a God thing.

SH803_and_sword_small He stood with arms limp at his sides, with every muscle screaming with fatigue. The sting of sweat assaulted his eyes and beaded up like raindrops on the back of his neck. The battle began in a wayward land of deep darkness, devoid of all light. Now, at the battle’s end, the warrior stood in a light that had pierced through the shadows, leaving no trace of its former possessor.

A fiercely fought conflict was rewarded with fallow land recovered and restored to its rightful owner. Long held captives from strongholds were set free and now were heading back towards the safety of the Kingdom. The King personally had trained him and equipped him as well. The piercing words of the King had exposed the deceit of the enemy, allowing for precision strikes against them. Still, it was the King’s authority and Spirit that made the victory possible. Turning his vision towards the horizon, he saw the enemy licking its wounds. This veteran solider of light could sense that it would soon mount another attack. It was one large mass of insult and threat, with the full intent of destroying goodness.

The enemy started its hateful advance, with its fury bent on instilling fear and confusion. Fully aware of the adversary’s strategy, the warrior took a step towards the new battleground. Bone weary and mentally spent he then dropped to his knees. The creatures of destruction at first measured this motion as a sign of weakness and pressed forward. That is, until it was too late.

For the priestly warrior had not made a tactical error as the enemy had supposed, but as he knelt and looked towards heaven, victory was his. The enemy saw not one but a host of warriors on their knees, gleaming with armor of intense light. The warriors moved as one, they spoke as one, and as one under authority they let forth a shout empowered with the spirit of truth. The shout overcame the enemy and scattered their ranks and uprooted their entrenchments. The agents of darkness were called out, dug out and spat out with the overwhelming authority of truth. By faith, a praying band of warriors increased kingdom territory, pleasing the King. One warrior–in particular–would sleep well tonight.

3 points from this vision that encourage me:

  1. Those who belong to Father God have a huge promise of victory
    over the enemy.

    No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord ...” Isaiah 54:17

  1. Through the Spirit of God we can also recognize who our enemy is and what his tactics are.

    “For we are not ignorant of his (Satan's) devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:11
  2. It is a battle with victory assured.

    “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers ... nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Father,
Move me in such a way that I become disturbed to fight, disturbed to care in ways I didn’t think possible of me. Awaken the spiritual warrior in me to do battle as you see fit, for your glory and for the freedom of many.
                                                                       Amen

Blessings,
Jay

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Disturbing Steps


steps2 Since I shared a dream on Soulfari a few days ago (see Dreaming My Life Away here) I have been musing and seeking God on its total meaning for me. I’m not there completely yet but I think I found some steps to be “disturbed”, at least in a God thing way. For this to make any sense; you have to read the Dreaming My Life away post…otherwise; you might just think I am “disturbed” in another way.

So, last night during a prayer time with my pastor and his wife, I read these Scriptures from
Psalm 37: 3-9


(3) Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
(4) Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (5) Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (6) He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your justice as the noonday. (7) Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. (8) Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. (9) For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth.

Here is what I thought as I prayed this morning….

When I trust in Him it disturbs my faith to rise up.
When I delight in Him, it disturbs my heart to fall deeper in love with Him.
When I commit my way to Him, it disturbs my direction and I find my way.
When I rest in Him, it disturbs my strife and I find peace.
When I cease from anger, it disturbs my resentment and I forgive.
When I wait on Him, it disturbs my restlessness and I linger in His presence.

Trust, Delight, Commit, Rest, Cease, Wait…and in the middle….He shall. In the middle of everything we go through, in the middle of every aspect of our life…He shall. What a disturbing thought…He shall!

He shall bring us to the place where we are free…Father God will finished
us off!

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

I continue to ask Father God to disturb me…what about you?

Blessings,
Jay <><

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bad Sheep - Sunday


After a busy weekend the Bad boys of Wool had another “experience” at church. Be blessed everyone! – Jay

bad sheep no. 16 

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Saddlesoap and Chickpeas


I wrote this for a newsletter about a year ago but after reading it again last night I felt like posting here. It is part of my “Faith Hero Series” (see Passing of Greatness and A Classroom with Heart) Sometimes heroes may seem unlikely choices but when we take a closer look at their story…we can spot them easily.

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There’s a man who attends the same church I do, let’s call him Fred, who is a character among characters. You see, Fred talks a lot and sometimes invades your personal space; you could say his social lubrication is down a quart. Still, I love to talk with Fred; the conversation is usually entertaining and full of laughter. He tries to teach me Arabic (he’s from the Middle East) and we swap bad puns almost every Sunday, yeah, I like Fred a lot. At first glance there’s not much that might impress you, but here’s one thing that impresses me about Fred…he’s a giver.

Fred has given me watches, money, eggs, bread and even candy coated chickpeas. He’s ready with a hug and big smile every time I see him and calls me pastor even though I’m not one. When I remind him, he smiles and is quick to add that he loves to hear me teach and I should be a pastor…at least he thinks so.

Fred is a closet encourager trying to bust out and find his place. It’s not easy for a single, Arab-Christian man in his fifties to fit in a largely Caucasian, young couple congregation. Sadly in the life of the church, people like Fred are marginalized, shoe boxed and in essence…devalued. They probably won’t be placed in a leadership role or given responsibility that gives them influence over others.

Yet what they teach us is so valuable, if we’re teachable that is. Each one of Fred’s gifts, taken on their own, didn’t make that much of an impact on my daily life. The watch, well it was too big for my skinny wrist. I can afford eggs and bread, so not much difference there. The candied chickpeas made an impact, not a pleasant one, but that’s another story. Still, all of them together were teaching me something more precious, something more personal. To him I was important and these small gifts were his way to show it. Fred did not marginalize who I was in his life, and before each gift were the words; “I was thinking of you”. Know what those words sound like me to me? They sound like words Christ would say.

One Sunday I overheard Fred tell somebody he needed some saddle soap for his leather jacket but didn’t know where to find any, I knew what my mission was for the week. The following Sunday I handed him a brand new can of saddle soap, it was like I handed him a bar of gold, and he was so thrilled! The words I chose were easy. ..“Fred” I said, “I was thinking of you.”

Thanks Fred, you taught me well.

By the way, He didn’t need the saddle soap anymore; he had given
the jacket away!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dreaming My Life Away

This post is part of Duane Scott's blog carnival Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays. Read more disturbed stories here:

This is a hard post for me…my thoughts are not all worked out yet but here it is…raw and uncensored. Please bear with me.

I had a strange dream last night and it didn’t disturb me until I was driving to work (which BTW, is a huge spoiler for this post). In my dream I was talking to a woman sitting at her desk at work, she was depressed and weary. Holding a little cardboard tray box this is what she shared…

“I collect these you know…she points to a stack under her desk…at least it seems that way. Everyday, after buying lunch at the cafeteria, I eat lunch at my desk…neatly stacking the box when I’m through.”

I look; the stack is dusty with years of history. She continues as I stare wondering…

“I had dreams, plans to make a difference…to do something remarkable. Instead, I collect cardboard boxes and neatly fold them under my desk…(she’s crying now)…I feel…stuck and unable to change.”

Taking her hand in mine I say…”Why don’t you eat outside today?

Puzzled…she looks up at me and with a quivering voice asks…You mean…I can do that?”

Driving to work the dream hit me hard. I realized, like the woman in the dream, I am satisfied with collecting little cardboard trays and looking for ways to keep the stacks neat and tidy. I have settled for something less than what God has for me. It has to do with my job, which I’m grateful to have but I feel…” stuck and unable to change.”

I have worked at the same place for longer than I care to talk about and after many years of praying for release I felt God gave me permission to change direction…(brutal honest moment here) that was three years ago. Here I sit, collecting yet another cardboard box…wondering how it happened.

Processing at work sucks…

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 1

So, there it is…raw and unfinished. As my faith is being stretched and as I repent throughout the day…I want to stay disturbed.

Do you? Can you pray this with me?

Disturb Us, Lord – 1577 - A Prayer by Francis Drake

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the Waters of Life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery:
Where losing sight of land
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push us in the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bad Sheep – Trouble Brewing

It’s time for the Bad Boys of Wool! I think they feel my pain for my lack of coffee consumption and wanted to perk me up! So, don’t pity the wool…enjoy!
Blessings, Jay

bad sheep no.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Diving into a Summer’s Blessing

 

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His name is Jack and all summer he has tried to swim to the small floating dock positioned in the deep part of the local swimming hole. Jack’s a good swimmer but he doesn’t have the confidence he can make it all the way out there. Every time he’s tried, he has given up about halfway and gone back to shallow water.

It’s a hot summer day and today Jack wants to try again, but he’s still unsure of himself. Hesitating at the pond’s edge, he stares at his goal with a hopeless feeling. However, all that is about to change.

Two brothers come to the park with their family, jump into the lake and swim up to Jack. Within minutes they are all fast friends, splashing in the cool water and having fun. The brothers encourage Jack that he can make to the float and to make sure he can they will swim alongside him. When the three of them make it to the float, there is a riotous celebration of the triumphant swim and Jack has finally achieved his goal. They swim back together, excitedly retelling the details to their moms, all talking at once and all beaming with pride.

Three boys, one pond and a short swim, that became a huge turning point in all their young lives. The two boys were my older boys Josh and Matt, and they stepped (or should I say, dove) into a major blessing moment. They came along side someone and made a difference that could have a lifetime ripple effect.

There are times when we need someone to pull along side of us and help us get to a place we need to be. Jack allowed my two sons to help him through his trial by water, trusting his new friends would not let him down. That is God’s love in action and to see it come alive in your children is priceless!

“Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Galatians 6:2

Blessings, Jay

This post is part of Bridget Chumbley’s ‘One Word at a Time’ blog carnival the topic is “Summer.” Be sure to go and check it out!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Expert-tease

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Expert: A person with a high degree of skill in or knowledge of a certain  subject.

“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.”  - Nicholas M. Butler

During some interviews and even in discussions between friends and myself, I have been called a fathering expert. I wrote this to keep my head on straight.

Me, a fathering expert? I don’t think so, in some things you just can’t afford to be a mere expert. Expertise is sometimes a failed fail safe, an illusion of the power of knowledge if you will. Expertise looks to past experiences to help discern the present or future, often overlooking other clues in the process (more on that in minute). Experience is one of the tools needed but what if the present/future looks completely different from the past? (Hint, it will) Then our expertise might not fit the picture and we’re forced to adapt on the fly. Staying with our expertise instead of adapting could short circuit some important relational moments.

That’s the tease of being a so-called expert… you live in the world of what you think you know instead in the world of further relational pursuit. How do I know…let me reveal some father fail moments in my own life. These statements came from some heart-to-heart moments with my kids.

“You killed my dreams.”

“Sometimes, I feel like you’re not listening to me.”

“Why should I talk, you already know ALL the answers.”

Can you spot the expert-tease in those comments? They were gut-wrenching to hear, painful to swallow and they were a result of stubbornly believing my own headlines. In every one of those moments, it took a humbled father rather than an expert to bring healing into the relationship. It’s more than being right or knowing more than they do. It’s not about winning arguments, discussions or disagreements.

It’s about winning their hearts.

We should be studying, asking questions, and gathering Intel on our kids all the time. The goal is to know them. Focusing on learning all about them as they grow and develop into all God wants to be. Our tether to our past fathering experiences (i.e., they way we trained them in the past) is important but not so tight that we can’t be free to adjust quickly to the changes in their life. Why? Simply because we’re (hopefully) growing and changing along side them as well.

Our growth as we journey with Father God is developing new strengths and the way we live out our faith before our kids. We begin to see other traits as vital tools on that journey. Tools like curiosity, imagination and creativity become fuel for fatherhood. These may not be the tools of experts but they are good ones for dads who engage in the lives of their children. So, instead of experts, let’s be tool gatherers, intently focusing on the waves of change affecting family life and using those tools to lead. I much rather be known as a full-frontal, engaged dad then an expert any day.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 ESV

Blessings,
Jay

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sabbath Rest Musings

It’s been an awesome weekend but very busy. Friends and family gathered to celebrate my son Matt and his graduation from high school (the third one my wife has released from the Cookingham homeschool). So, I’m sitting here just thinking and reflecting on the weekend, musing-nating if you will. Oh, and the Bad Boys of Wool have something to offer as well.

A New Beckyism (My eight yr-old daughter) Today in church the pastor was talking about discipline and he asked the kids a question.

Pastor Tim: “Kids, do your parents talk about discipline at home? What words do they use?

Becky (very loud) “Banishment”

Now we are are not talking about sending our children out in the wilderness to suffer but when they lose playing video game rights (because of poor behavior)…then they are “banished”. Of course my older kids starting yelling out things like floggings, mind control…I’ll get them later.

My theory about what makes a good movie involves…chickens.

Every good movie has a chicken in it, mentions chickens or (in the case of Sci-Fi) has some creature that resembles a chicken. Really bad movies will try to fool you into believing that you’re watching a good movie by randomly throwing a chicken in. However, the attempt is usually lame and obvious.

Now that you know the secret, you’ll never look at films the same way again. Watch for the chicken…it’s worth it.

The pun in Bad Sheep is hidden deep…

bad sheep no. 15

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

An Untold Story

It  is Pleasantly Disturbed Thursdays over at Duane Scott’s blogtexture-150x150
and I’m just doing my part to add to the…ummm…culture that Duane has started. Let’s begin.

hollywood-sign-addressUnknown to many is the film career I embarked on early in my life.
Yes, before I became Jay the husband and father, I enjoyed the the lights of Hollywood. Here are some of the highlights.


I once played Gandalf in the LOTR movies..really I have the pictures....

lotr trio 1
gandalfelrond 
lotr council 1 
I was Michael Dorn's (Worf) stunt double on Star Trek the
Next Generation, really! 

Matrix, remember that movie...yep, I was in it.

Matrix jay

Not even the National Enquirer has these photos but now that my secret is out, the threat of blackmail is over…;-0

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Worry, how is your shalom?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Image via Wikipedia

This post is part of a discussion on Craig Groeschel’s book, The Christian Atheist, covering chapter 8: hosted on Jason Stasyszen’s site Endless Impact. It also is a snippet from my book RETOOLED, I thought it fit the subject of worry. Also, the Bad Boys of Wool weighed in…I hope you’re blessed as you read! Blessings, Jay

“Then the same day at evening, being the first of the sabbaths, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, Shalom to you! (20) And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (21) Then Jesus said to them again, Shalom to you. As My Father has sent Me, even so I send you. (22) And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” John 20:19-22

Jesus’ disciples, frightened and confused, locked their doors to their homes and possibly their hearts as well. They saw their master die and everything in their world was seemingly falling apart. Then Jesus walks through the wall (literally and spiritually) and says “Shalom be with you!” That simple greeting began to put their lives back into order. The Lord’s presence and His words, brought a supernatural shalom, a sense of well-being, and what they needed most, hope.

The meaning of Shalom is rich with promise. The word speaks of hope for personal wholeness, safety, health, and prosperity. It carries the wish for contentment in human relations and with God. Shalom is more than a friendly Jewish greeting, it is a relational inquiry and a deep blessing. When the Father expresses Shalom, it is an impartation of covenant promise. In that impartation is a statement that says: “I wish for you a state of well-being that affects wherever you walk and whatever you touch.” The Word declares the “God of shalom” brings salvation to the whole man, body, soul and spirit.

“And the very God of shalom sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Shalom speaks of His salvation, the deliverance which brings peace to my soul. It speaks of provision, which brings peace to my troubled mind. It speaks of well-being, which brings peace to my restless spirit. Such is the power of shalom He brings into our lives through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Shalom to every part of your being, to your physical, mental and relational life. Shalom to the person you are, to the person you wish to be and to the person you wished you weren’t. These are the walls Christ walks through with the blessing of shalom.

A great remedy for worry don’t you think?

bad sheep no. 14

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And the Winner is….

youdaman

a man cvr_I'm not having a prime time one hour special to announce the winner of the free book giveaway (like some narcissistic basketball free agent). Nope, not my style! 

The winner of  “A Man After God's Heart: The Honor of Fatherhood.” is....drum roll please...Jason Stasyszen!...confetti and balloons fall....fans rush the stage....etc, etc.

Jason is the host of  the blog Endless Impact and the pastor of Breakthrough Church in Juneau, AK. Head on over to his site today and read more about what God is doing in his life.

Congratulations Jason!

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Free Book Giveaway

a mancvr   j0436222

This is my first free book giveaway and I want you to win…well, at least one of you! This book is special to me for several reasons.

First, it’s an excellent collection of stories by dad’s for dads, it’s a real encouraging book and makes a great gift. Secondly…I’m in it (on page 94 to be exact), this is one of the books I have been privilege to have been published in. The rest of the books my work is in can be found on my Strategic Fathering web site here.

So, what do you have to do to win this puppy….Hmmmmmm? Well, there’s the standard please tweet this free book giveaway gig, that would be good and if you commenttweet a few times, ever better! However, that is just too easy for such a epic as this.

What will really sway me will be the person who leaves the best comment over the weekend into Monday, July 5th. Tell me why you want this book, why you neeed this book! I won’t be the only judge, I’m letting my family weigh in on this momentous occasion and boy, are they tough! Wads of money or bags of Cheetos won’t cut it…only the best comment will ultimately win. I’ll announce the winner Tuesday, July 6th!

The contest is on…are you in?

Blessings,
Jay

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Friends Like Us

Today I like to introduce my friend Mark Bailey. Mark and his wife Deloris are the founders of Friends Like Us, a nonprofit childhood cancer organization. There are many worth while causes in the world but this one really touches my heart. So I suggested to Mark that he let me promote Friends Like us on Soulfari and here is their story. Please visit their site and read what this great ministry to kids is all about. Thanks and God Bless, Jay

FLU copy

We are Mark & Deloris Bailey the founders of Friends Like Us, a nonprofit childhood cancer organization. It all started when our son was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. The doctors gave him about a week left to live. That hurt and devastated us. We refused to give up or believe that report. So, we agreed with so many others in prayer & fasting healing over our son. God spoke to me and gave me this scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 that says…

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.

God healed our son and we walked out of the hospital a month later. WE have held onto that word God gave us for years now. Brandon is now age 9 and in remission still. Yes, we’ve had some up and downs, but God has been with us the whole way and now his word has come to past even more. He had plans for us and a future doing His work.

chemobear We are now helping children everywhere in the U.S. who is devastated by cancer with a Chemo Bear and we encourage and uplift the families (of the kids) to help them through their struggle & pain. God is great and “there is purpose beyond pain”.

The bears help to visually teach kids about the treatments ahead of them, as well as help them deal with fear and anxiety through their many years of chemotherapy and surgeries. These children are the heart of Friends Like Us and it's their purpose to reach out and make adocbearcopy difference right now in each of them and their families for a brighter tomorrow.

No parent should ever have to hear the words "it's cancer". Friends Like Us strives to spread awareness of pediatric cancers in hopes of one day finding a cure.

Thank you and God Bless You,
Mark and Deloris

NOTE FROM JAY: Mark told me that they are having a Adopt-A-Bear Week, It will cost Mark $550 to purchase 7 boxes of bears (which is 100 of them). It’s a lot of bears! If you can help, please do and tell Mark I sent ya!

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