Sunday, May 25, 2014
These are words that i am supposed to sing tomorrow as I lead the congregation in worship. The problem is that i just don't feel like singing them.
The Bible tells us that people speak about what is filling their hearts. My heart is filled with Grief, Sorrow, pain, loss, regret, anger, and darkness. NO ONE wants to sing about such things on Sunday morning at Church. How do i know? THEY TELL ME SO. "Brother Andy, we need more fast paced upbeat happy songs so that we can praise God better" is what they say. YET HOW CAN I DO THAT? Am I to be a hipocrite and speak words that are not in me at the time? Why can't the church be real about our pain and suffering?
What I really want to say is "Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide in times of Trouble?" Psalm 10:1. I want to say GOD! I'm crying out to your from the depths of HELL itself, CAN YOU HEAR ME? LISTEN TO ME, GOD. I'm crying out in pain. My soul feels like it is being crushed by the heavy weight of death, death is too powerful for me to deal with. Why God would you allow this to happen? Why take him?
You see I lost a friend yesterday. Death. Dead. Died. Deceased. All of these words have been uttered today many times, yet none of them is an accurate description, I don't know if an accurate description exists in the English language. These words all seem so sterile, so empty, so meaningless, so inadequate.
The irony of this situation is that he and I had drifted apart for many years, yet in the last year we had started to reconnect. I was looking forward to having my friend back. However, it was not to be. Today I stood at his widow's house, without word, without cheer, totally useless. I wanted to offer hope and comfort, but all I felt was the loss and pain that seemed to be consuming the entire area. Somewhere in the middle of all that emotion, GUILT found its way to the surface. I had no right to be standing there with people who had stayed connected to my friend when I hadn't.
It had already been a rough 24 hours, then she said it. A statement that made me think about what a terrible friend I had been. The story she told me was not intended to do that, it was meant as a testimony to our friendship and that no matter what had happened our friendship was something he still valued. She wanted me to know that he LOVED me. ME? What?
Psalm 6:4-7 ESV
Turn, O Lord , deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.
I don't cry much. I don't cry in front of people for sure. It isn't that I think that crying is girly, or that real men don't cry, I just don't do it. Maybe it is because I like to be in control of my emotions and i take pride in not being "that guy" when it comes to being emotional, or maybe I'm just a cold hearted (insert explicative here).
Last night, I cried. Today I cried. I've been on the verge of tears most of the day. Little things make me want to cry. I've struggled all day to stay in control, and I hate it. I want so badly to just let it all out but I can't. clearly something is wrong wtih me. I want to grieve for the loss of my friend, for the loss that his wife is suffering, for the kids. I can't even cry for the kids.
I tell myself that it is because I know that God has a plan. For the record, I'm not a big fan of this plan right now. I tell myself it is because I operate from a standpoint of faith most of the time. I tell myself it is because he wouldn't want me too. It all makes me feel worse
So i started to look a little deeper. Did the events of the last 24 hours make me lose my faith? Did they make me lessen my faith? Do I really believe that God has a plan in all of this mess? Do I really believe that God knows what he is doing?
NO, NO, YES, YES. I actually do believe this stuff is what I realized.
I turned to the scriptures. Specifically the Psalms.
Psalm 16:8 ESV
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
My faith in God has not been shaken. I don't like what has happened one bit, but it will not shake my faith. I will not allow it to make me lose faith in God one bit. One really neat thing I learned today about my friend in the time that we had drifted apart what that he had developed a rock solid faith in God. Inspite of circumstances that would have crushed most men, be remained faithful. No, he grew MORE faithful. WOW.
Over and over again through the Psalms we read about pain, and suffering, anguish, defeat, death and dispair, yet then we read deeply moving statements about God's faithfulness, love, unending mercy, Grace, and defence of his people. It would amost seem as if suffering and praise go together. it seems odd to my mind that those two would go together and I really don't understand that, but it seems to be true.
Crisis of Belief:
So my friend is gone from this life. I will see him no more this side of heaven. His family is going to struggle, they are going to mourn and grieve, they will feel his loss emensley more than I. I am filled with pain, grief, sorrow, regret, guilt, and loss AND I have to lead worship tomorrow. What am I going to do?
I cannot really say what will actually transpire tomorrow. What I can say is that I will sing the songs of faith, dependance, repentance & restoration tomorrow to the best of my ability believing that the word of God is true. Sure, I'm going to have a difficult time with the emotions. I will not pretend that it will be easy for me, but I will make the choice to place my trust in a God that is able to handle my emotions. I will make the choice to believe the God revealed in scripture, I will chose to bless him at all times, that he will deliver me from all fear, and will set my feet on CHRIST the SOLID ROCK.
Psalm 34:1-4 ESV
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord ; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord , and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 130:1-8 ESV
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord ! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord , should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord ! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Friday, May 11, 2012
I guess that life just got in the way and I haven't made time to post anything. With work, kid in school, scouts, sports and church activities there hasn't been a lot of time lately for me to do this. Who has the time with such important things as TapZoo, Solitaire, Facebook, and movies to fill in the rest of the time? I know, I'm not doing anything between the hours of 3-4 am right? EXACTLY the reason for the time stamp on my welcome back post!
In all honest I just haven't made it a priority to post anything. That doesn't mean I haven't been writing or thinking though. So over the next few days I am going to post some of the things that I have worked on but never posted or finished for whatever reason. Some will be fully thought out and edited but some may not be complete thoughts or a finished draft. You can help me finish them right? Most of them are religious in nature, but I'll try to throw in some light hearted stuff as well to keep it from getting too heavy.
I guess what I'm about to say is, "I'M BACK" and I'll try to do better and make my absences a little shorter. No more than a year this next absence, I promise!
Friday, April 9, 2010
So some people have asked me "what do you do at these conventions you go to?" Well today I have an answer! I learn about cool things, cool things that involve MEAT! Cool things like the Bacon Explosion"
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Our church started a new service today. We have been working on it for about two months, and today was the culmination of everyone's efforts. The service is designed to be more contemporary with a Casual feel. The music is lead by a band, with lead and backup vocals, the songs are current, jeans are fine, coffee is served, and there are no "rules" about how you have to act during the service, Just as long as we are worshiping.
2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they sort of covered their faces, with two they almost covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were Mumbling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the lord Almigmmnb;
the whole earth is full of his glor."
4 At the sound of their voices no one was impressed, and they really didn’t care. Not much fuss was made.
What would God have done or said? Is God accepting of Mediocare? Is Mediocare good enough for God? OBVIOUSLY NOT!
I know its just words that we are using but sometimes we use the right words in the wrong way and end up saying something we don't really mean. Something that could give the wrong impression to someone who really needs to Experience God and all that he is about, all he is doing, and all his glory. Nothing casual about that!
What do you think?
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
"The best Easter celebrations start at Dillon's" (Kroger)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
So here is a thought that I have been mulling over for he last couple of months...
I get these e-mails from various "Christian" groups. Things like, "Obama defends "discarding" life" and "Let's overwhelm Obama on Capitol Hill today" or "Pepsi refuses to be neutral in the culture war, remains the leading corporate sponsor of homosexual group." Each one asking me (and everyone else they sent it too) to either make a donation or "get involved" by taking some predetermined action.
The thought that I have about this is, "What good does it do?" I also think, "why do they spend so much energy, time, and resources FIGHTING the opposition? Was that Jesus' example? Could our money be put to better use?" I mean what would happen if these groups took the money they get in donations, the time they use sending out email, and FIGHTING the enemy into 1 Loving God, 2 Loving People, and 3 Sharing Jesus with the very people they are fighting?
Now I hate the overused phrase WWJD, but we have to ask ourselves is this the approach that Jesus would use to change a lost world, or more accurately what DID he do? I know that there are times recorded in the Bible that Jesus was as one pastor put it "PISSED" and acted in righteous anger, but was that his normal approach? I don't think it was. Most of what we read in the Bible is Jesus interacting with the "worst" people in society. He accepted them where they were at, told them about God/His love, asked them to believe in him, and then let them make up their mind. Once they accepted his way they were CHANGED! Not just a superficial change but a life altering, for real honest and sincere change.
Wouldn't we be better served by leaving our "Big Stick" approach to fighting the sin in the world and following a lifestyle of personal evangelism? We may still have to pick-up a bullwhip now and then but it should be the exception instead of the rule.
Not that I have already obtained this lifestyle, but the approach of many Christian groups just doesn't sit very well with me right now. Since I am not the kind of person that likes to identify a problem and not present a solution here is a proposition/challenge/dare.
Stop fighting, start loving, start serving, start sharing Jesus with those who do not already accept Jesus as their saviour. Take the time, money, and resources that are typically used in the battle and put them into teaching people to be evangelists, leading people (By example) in evangelism, and start changing the world. ONE LIFE AT A TIME. Remember, Success isn't labeled by "decisions" but by OBEDIENCE. Wouldn't all of the "problems/Issues" that we spend so much time fighting all but go away if we loved God enough to share his transforming power with others?
I think that if we were to show them a better life through Christ and then let HIM change people we wouldn't have a need for such sensational titles as those that find their way into my inbox.
I hope in the days ahead that I will be obedient in sharing my faith with someone.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I had a chat with God this morning. My wife was heading to surgery today and neither one of us had a really comfortable feeling with that. It wasn't anything that was life threatening or "serious" but still a surgery, and SCARY!
This is not the first time that she has had a surgery, and I don't know why this one seemed to be a bigger deal. I'll throw out some theories: 1. Age. Meaning that we are no longer in the "21 and bullet proof" stage of life. 2. We have a child and it scares us that something might happen to leave him with only one or no parents. 3. Relationship status. I've often heard it said that you love your mate more the longer you are married. It is true! 4. Dependancy. I have come to rely on, depend on, lean on, run to, and seek support from my wife and it scares me that I may not be able to have that. I'm addicted to her. 5. I hold on to things too tightly. Nuff Said. 6. It represents a lack of control. Even though I am fairly laid back, I still like to be in control.
So here is my convo with God this morning. Not in exact words but the general tone or theme. For the last few days I have been letting God know that I didn't want to loose my wife. I knew that I could go on but that I didn't like the idea or want that to happen. This morning was somewhat different. I had a realization that all of the above are true of me and especially in this situation. I simply said Ok God, I trust YOU. I know that you have my best interest in mind as well as hers. I know that you have a plan that is bigger than my desires and I trust you to do what you know is best. I surrender her to you, knowing that she is not mine but yours. If you decide to leave her I will be greatfull, IF you decide to take her I will accept that. Maybe not as gracefully, or easily as you would like, but I TRUST YOU.
Let me tell you that was not an easy thing to say. I truely thought that I would lose my wife in surgery today, I was petrified! I did not lose her (THANK YOU LORD) and now my fear is diminished.