Had a Bad Day Again...

I'm sad today.

Yesterday I went to an orientation for college. Sitting in a college classroom listening to degree requirements and class possibilities kind of got me excited. I started thinking about all the different experiences I could have. Pottery, History of Rock and Roll, Theater, History of the American Presidency. The excitement within me grew and grew like an unborn child.

Then came reality.

That life will never be mine. I had forgotten that I am not a college student. I am a professional home builder who is trying to squeeze a degree into this life I've been given.

I depressed myself for a little while thinking of the life I could've had. The life I missed out on. There are so many experiences I will never have. So many opportunities that will never be mine.

But then I remembered the girl with the green eyes. I remembered how peaceful she looks when she sleeps. I remembered how beautiful her hair is in the wind. I remembered how endearing her voice is on the phone.

The college life will never be mine.

But the girl with the green eyes is, and that's all the memories I need.


Amazing Grace Indeed

This is why I'm a Colts fan.

(thanks Joey for the link.)


My Spiritual Life is Like a Football Game...

When I was in the eighth grade, I was the second string quarterback for our football team. No matter how hard I tried, I just wasn't as good as the number one quarterback (granted he had been held back a year, so he was a year ahead of me...). Playing time was few and far between. Until my momment came.

We were playing one of our county rivals, Western (the other two county schools were named Eastern and Northwestern. Clever, I know). The score was tied and the clock was winding down. We got the ball from a punt and began driving down the field. We get to the one yard line and all of the sudden, I hear my named called. I jumped up off the bench next to the water cooler (as was my customary spot) and ran up to the coach. Seems first stringer Manboy had some sort of equipment problem. Probably because his head was too big for the helment. Anywho, the coach gave me a play and sent me in.

I was nervous.

But, the play was simple. Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back.

'Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back. Snap the ball, turn to my left, pitch the ball to the running back. Snap the ball...' I repeated to myself over and over.

I approach the line.

"Blue fourteen, blue fourteen. Set. Hut."

The ball is snapped. I turn to my left. I raise my arms to pitch the ball to the running back.


Somehow in the excitement of snapping the ball and turning to my left, I had mistaken empty air for a football. I turned around to see the ball lying peacefully just behind my center's big butt.

Instinctively I reached for the ball. Once it was safe in my arms I closed my eyes and headed for the promise land. Soon the pressure of other eighth grade bodies pressing down on me was all I could feel. The wistle blew and slowly, the release of pressure began. I opened my eyes to see the official raising his two hands.


After that play, I proudly trotted back to the end of the bench.

I really can't remember if we won that game or not. That might've been only one of many touchdowns scored that night. But for me, it was the only one that counted.

I think God's work is a lot like that game. We aren't always going to be on the front lines. Most of the time, we're probably going to be on the sidelines while God uses others to do his work. I just think that when the time does come, and he calls your name, that it's important we remember what we've learned. Sometimes we're going to drop the ball, but if we'll pick it up and head for the goal, somehow, things always end up okay.


Missing The Point I Think...

Last night my wife and I had dinner with a former student of hers. She is now married to a youth minister in Iowa. That makes me feel old.

On the way to dinner my wife and I had a "discussion" about working at a church. There have been a couple of instances of interest from other churches that have definately whetted my appetite for ministry again. I'd say I miss about 90% of working at a church.

So we went to BW3's or as most of the world calls it Buffalo Wild Wings (I'm not sure where the 'West' went to...). I ordered my usual non-tuesday special of buffalitos. This time I wasn't feeling too saucy so I went for the mild instead of my usual medium sauce. Bad choice.

Anywho, we got to talking about the ministry they were doing in Iowa. It sounds like it's really taught them a lot and they are doing some good things there. There were two issues that she brought up that I thought I would blog about.

First, she said they are dealing with a situation where there is a youth sponsor who wants to help out in their youth ministry, but doesn't attend their church on Sunday mornings. I guess the church they are at has a rule that you can't be a youth sponsor unless you are a 'member' of their church. Her husband even went so far as to say to the sponsor, "you know, you have a real gift for ministry. It's up to you if you are going to use it or not." Some how implying that if he doesn't become a member, he's going to be a bad steward of God's talents.

Wow! Maybe I missed that class in college. You know the one where it explains that each church is seperate and independant of each other. Oh wait, that's right, we aren't! Last I researched there was one body of Jesus. There was one church. So what if one worships on this mountain and one worships in Jerusalem. We are all children of God right?

This leads to the second point. I asked why they wouldn't want to attend their church. Then she made a comment that made my skin crawl. She said she wouldn't attend their church either if her husband wasn't employed by it.

Double wow! You know, a prostitute wouldn't have sex with her johns if they weren't paying her either. I'm not sure if that says says something about the church or about the minister. Now, I understand missionaries. I understand going to a third world country and not being a part of the culture or community, but ministering to them out of love. Maybe that's what this is. Maybe.

But I doubt it.

This is America. You're telling me that there is such a surplus of ministers in this country that the wanting are left to the scraps. Or better yet, there is such a surplus of Christians in communities you would rather live in that you had to move to the boonies to reach the non-christians?

I don't have a problem getting paid to do ministry. I have a problem being a ministry whore. Going where the good money is. Going where the good ministry is. How about going to the people you love? How about going to the city you love? How about going to the neighbors you love? How about not moving every 2-3 years in search of the latest and greatest. Or how about changing what you don't like at your church so that you would attend there.

I could write a book about how youth ministry has become a sub-church of the church instead a part of the whole. How do church leaders expect the church to reach the people of the area, if the ministers wouldn't even go to the church. Do you think they are just going to come because the youth minister is cool or has his program planned out for six months for their kids? Even if they do, do you expect their kids to actually want to attend church once they have a choice, just because it's the right thing to do?

I'm sure I'm way off base here. I'm sure I've just been burned to bad to see a good thing for a good thing. But that's the 10%. That's what I can't get past.


The Mob and Egg Sandwiches

It's funny the memories that come back to you.

A few years ago, there were four of us that would meet weekly to become better men. Sometimes it would be to play ball, play video games, or just talk. Most of the time, there was a book we were going through that would spur our conversation.

I remember one morning when we got together we were hungry, so Mark suggested going to Salvinos. I'd never been there before, but I remembered one time having a bite of Mark's sandwich that he had brought home from there, so I was down.

We drove down Boulder Highway to this corner shop in a run down strip mall. To be honest, I was a little leary of eating anything coming out of this hole. But we walk in and we were instantly transported to New York. On the wall opposite the door there was this giant poster/wallpaper of the city skyline. There were sausages and other various meats hanging behind the counter. Uncle Guido was sitting in the corner smoking his cigar playing checkers with himself. If the Mob is still running Las Vegas, this is where they eat.

We get our egg sandwiches and fried potatoes and sit down at the one table in the shop. Pretty soon Uncle Joey and Uncle Frank come through the front door.

"Hey Sal," they yell to the guy behind the counter.

"Hey Joey, Hey Frank" yells Sal.

I was loving it. I've never watched the Sopranos, but I've seen Good Fellas enough to know they just came back from whacking a guy. Probably buried him in the desert. That's what I would do.

Uncle Guido asked us what book we were talking about. At that time it was "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge.

"You guyz are Christians?" He asked.

"Yeah." I said.

"I'm Catholic". He said.

Go figure.

He then proceded to tells us how much he loved the virgin Mary and how she watched over him and how often he prayed to her. He showed me the virgin Mary tatoo on his shoulder. He showed me the virgin Mary medallion around his neck.

"You ever prayed to Mary?" he asks me.

Now, I've never prayed to Mary before in my life. Still haven't.

"Sure." I said.

"Yeah. She's great." He says.

With that we finished our sandwiches and left. I don't know why I remembered that this morning. But I'm glad I did.


Take Him at His word...

Podcasts are the coolest thing in the world. If you have an ipod or some other mp3 device, you can download hours and hours of entertainment. And the best part is, it's all free! Some of my favorite podcasts are of Sen. Barak Obama (D-Ill.), Jack Black's Confessional from the set of Nacho Libre, and of course, the parody to the president's weekly radio address.

But perhaps my most favorite are two preachers. Two very different preachers. One is a guy named Erwin McManus from Mosaic in Los Angeles and the other is Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill in Seattle. I like these guys because they are so different from each other. Erwin is very comtemplative and feelings oriented. Mark is very traditional and biblically based. Both are great.

Recently, on my way home from work, I was listening to one of Mark's sermons. The sermon was actually on marriage, but that's not what caught me. He spoke about trusting Jesus. It was one of those momments when a spiritual truth just kind of hits you out of no where.


What does it really mean to trust Jesus?

I thought about that for a long time. I mean, really, when it comes down to it, I don't have a problem believe that a guy named Jesus lived about 2000 years ago. I really don't have a problem believe that he said the things the bible says he said and did the things the bible says that he did.

The problem for me is a bit more internal than that.

Do I really trust him? Do I really trust what he says? Am I really placing my trust in him and through him to where "rust and moths" can't destroy it?

The answer is so hard, yet easy to discover. I simply have to look at my life.

If I really trust Jesus, then I'm living the gospel. Then I am being a light into the darkness. Then I don't really need to tell others I'm a Christian, my actions will speak for me.

Of course, if I'm not living this way, I don't trust him.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
And to take Him at His word
Just to rest upon His promise
And to know, "Thus saith the Lord"

Jesus, Jesus, How I trust Him
How I've proved him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
Oh for grace to trust Him more!