04 December 2012

Change in Perspective...from 4 Feet Away.

So, there I was, minding my own business...

I had done all the Saturday morning running around I had to do, but had the unfortunate, dreaded afternoon shift at the retail store where I work part-time.  I had an hour to kill, and frankly didn't feel like fast food.  This might surprise a few of my friends.  If you ever meet me, I will gladly sing the praises of what has to be the most amazing eating establishment ever opened on earth.  TACO BELL!  So tasty...and CHEAP!  (wait, is it o.k. to be a believer and not think ChickFila is the best...isn't it God's chosen fast food?? )

16 October 2012

Nikolai Volkov and "Father-Kid-Sing-a-Song-a-Palooza!"

So...there I am singing away with my children driving home from MeMaw's house.  It was a typical trip.  Me in the front seat, trying to keep the kids entertained. 

My awesome 6 yr. old free spirit son, BB, singing when he wants and changing the last word of every line to something excruciatingly not funny, but to him...HILARITY!  Example: "Who's the King of the Jungle?  Who's the King of the sea (water, water, water)? Who's the King of the universe and who's the kind of Apples?"  or "Trees"  or "Toots"  He rarely uses "Toots" because he knows that will get a light little smacky-smacky smack on his leg.  Sometimes, though, he has to take that blow...for the sake of the art.

My determined  ALMOST 4 YR. OLD little gal, Peach, singing evey word perfectly, and though not quite able to hit that fifth note to harmonize, it won't be long.  She even looks determined like this is a free throw to win State!  Go Team!  Seriously, if you saw her singing in the backseat, you would think she was singing the Russian National Anthem alongside Nikolai Volkov in the old WCW days.  (if you don't get that reference, I truly feel sorry for you)  And the way she can block out the insanity in the seat next to her spewing from BB's mouth is quite remarkable!

26 September 2012

DC Talk and "The Trash Can Party"

We live in the woods. 

At the end of a two lane gravel road.  Close enough to a Walmart and city folk to be comfortable, but just off the beaten path enough to have peace and quiet…most of the time.

This is great for my wife and me.  We love it down there.  Private, secluded.  The only people who come onto our property are there for a reason.  You don’t just “happen by” our house.  In 12 years, we have had 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses and zero Mormons.  And zero protestant churches.  (Perhaps a post for another day.)

My Children though…they aren’t keen on it.  Yet.

10 September 2012

Spaghetti Sauce Stains, Restoration, and Justin Bieber

My kids are awesome. So fun. Love life. Moody. But sweet as can be.

One of the best traits of my kids(BB and Peach, for those who haven't read from when I first started ths blog)is their desire to help out around the house.

BB is my 6 year old, flighty boy who will gladly help out...for a good, rock solid 20 seconds before he wants to move on to other things. He is the same way with schoolwork, and is probably how I was at that age.

Peach is my almost 4 year old little girl who is doggedly determined in everything she does. Very temperamental. But when she sets her mind to something, she locks in and gets the task done. And she wants to do it right, or she starts crying.

This difference, as you can imagine, can lead to some vicious fights that would make the Hatfields and McCoys cringe.

That's a post for another day.

Last week, BB decided to help wash the dishes.

That's right. I said WE wash our dishes...WITH OUR HANDS. No fancy, new fangled electronical machine to do it. I often kid with people that our dishwasher is 41 years old...get it? And we still don't have internet at the house. Our house was built in 1969, and we have decided to live that way still today! (For some reason, my mind just started singing "Party Like It's 1969"...no offense, Prince, but I like my version better)

After cute little BB went off to bed, I went into the kitchen to put the dishes up. BB only washed his and Peaches' dishes that are those 2 compartment plates like some cafeterias have to keep the mystery meat from getting green bean juice on it. (Hey, I wrote a post about Green Brean Juice...go read it!) One is an Owl and the other is a Dog.

Well, in the drying rack, they fit stacked perfectly together. The Dog was on bottom and the Owl on top. I grabbed them both and was reaching to put them in, when I decided I better check them.

If you are a parent of a 6 year old flighty boy, you know what I found. The top plate was clean. The Owl was very clean. But the bottom of Owl and the top of Dog was filthy. Covered in spaghetti sauce and flecks of beef and tiny smashed noodle shards (does that work?) were all over them.

So, here's the question...what did I do?

COMMON SENSE would say...I cleaned them up.

I grabbed the washrag and detergent and got them clean. And that is what I did. Doesn't that make common sense?

What does NOT make sense would be if I said "I was grossed out by them, so I just threw them away." Agreed? Please say that you agree with this, or the next portion of my post will be useless to you...With some effort and time, I was able to get the plates usable again. Throwing them away would be..well...stupid.

Now...let's go to church.

What do we do when we find out that Deacon Jones, who looks clean on the top--- he is addicted to porn?

How about this...we find out that Sally-Sue in the youth group who goes on missions trips and sings solos on Sunday nights--- she's 2 months pregnant.


What should we do?

"Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should RESTORE HIM in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."- Galatians 6

Now, there will be a follow-up post written about my own train-wreck experience that started this entire blog and also gave me the name Lazarus...

I don't know much...but I know this. There is time for proper church-discipline. A good friend of mine and I have been hashing this issue out lately, and the Bible teaches there is a time for this.

But those times are rare.

Yet, I have seen many of my friends hurt, damaged, shunned, belittled, thrown out and banished without ANY effort on the part of the church to RESTORE the person.

Like me having to physically invest TIME and EFFORT to get that plate as clean as I could, so should the church invest TIME and EFFORT to restore.

I have no idea who reads this blog. I don't know where you are, who you are, or why you happened here. So, even though I don't know you, I still want to challenge you...

DON'T THROW PEOPLE AWAY WHEN THEY GET DIRTY! Put TIME and EFFORT into RESTORING THEM! Perhaps on the other side, they will be stained. They may never regain the luster they once had, but that's o.k. LOVE them and help them clean themselves up the best you can.

There have been a few people in my life who have come along and, whether they know it or not, have been vital in the process of my personal restoration. I was one of those thrown out, shunned and damaged. I have teetered on the brink of...alot of things, but there have been a few people who KNEW what I had done and LOVED me anyway and PRAYED with me and for me, and took genuine interest in my life...

So, to Joe, Eric, Lamar, Angela, Lindsay, and Scott....thank you.

Only JESUS could save my soul, but you saved my LIFE.

Don't throw people away.

I beg you.

28 August 2012

2,000 Pageviews and Counting a.k.a. Surprising Fact about my Viewership.

So, my blog page passed 2,000 views this week. Considering I do absolutely ZERO in the way of advertising, broadcasting, facebooking it, I think that is pretty good. I have a grand total of 2 people who leave comments, and that is great. I like those two people.

Also, considering I am an internet klutz, I imagine at least 1,300 of the pageviews are me! Regardless...It was fun to look at the stats (which I just found out I could do) and see what pages get hit.

I am not sure how the whole internet search webby portal database thingy works, but easily...EASILY the most viewed page by outsiders who find my page by google or another search engine is entitled:

I am MAD at my Pastor!!!

I am sure there is an entire blog post lurking behind this fact.

Are there that many people MAD at their pastor? (I now realize it should've said ANGRY, but I digress)

To be fully open, the post was about how good my Pastor was at bringing truth to light, convicting me through his clear presentation of God's Word... But that was the most viewed...

For your info., Leslie and Joe, the next was the one about Best Actor. I assume I need to put more mainstream lingo in my titles to get readers!!!

Anyway, my whole point was wondering how many people must be MAD at their Pastor to stumble upon my rinky-dink page.


Something to think about....

21 August 2012

Being Afraid of "Hell"...the word, not the place.

Ok...This may be the strangest confession I have ever made because it isn't really a confession of something "bad" or "evil."

A couple weeks back, my beautiful wife and two great kids were out of town visiting relatives. I couldn't go because I had to work. Or got to work. Feelin' me? Anyway, when I found out she was going to be gone on Sunday, I probably did the exact opposite of what I would've done a few years back. I got on the internet and started looking for churches and their service times, hoping to catch 3 services on a Sunday morning.

"What's that?" you ask. I wanted to map out a way to get to 3 services in one morning. The plan was to make the IFB church at 8, then my church by 9:15, then hopefully my friend's crazy, no holds barred worship at 11. Is that weird? BUT, my friend's daughters were giving a report in their church from a missions trip they recently went on at 10:30, so they kind of messed it all up. I only got to attend 2.

So, when I explained my Sunday plans to my friends and coworkers, they looked at me like I had a third ear growing out of my forehead.

As I thought more about it, I realized I spend waaaaaay more time looking up and listening to sermons on ITunes than I do songs. Piper, Platt, Groeschel, Washer, Chan, Furtick (sometimes), Driscoll (sorry Mom), and the list goes on and on.

My confession? "hi, My name is Lazarus and I am a sermon-aholic."

While I would love to say this has made me a markedly more spiritual person, I certainly have no way of gauging that. But I love hearing men of God speak about the Word. I try to gain something from each.  

What is the difference between me wanting to spend 4 hours going to church vs. my father-in-law wanting to spend 4 hours on the golf course? I am not saying one is better than the other, just trying to make myself feel better about this strange "addiction" I have. Anyway, this brought me to a lunchtime at my desk in my glorious, off-white cubicle here at work. We can get on the 'net during downtimes and during lunch, within certain perameters, of course.

Last week, I was perusing through the website of my own church, because I rarely do that, just to check it out. We have updated it and added new bios of our staff, which we have also added to. there are about 5 new staff members I didn't know anything about, so that was cool to read about their favorite verses, their hobbies, and favorite foods.

Then I clicked on the "SERMONS" tab and remembered that I missed last Sunday's message because I was out of town. So, there I was, feeding my addiction AT WORK!

Anyway, I listened to my pastor and caught something he said...He was speaking on Holiness and during the wrap, he presented the gospel. Clearly. Unabashedly. And he said something I never heard at my former church, or from many preachers these days...he said....hell. "If you do not choose to follow after Christ, you will spend eternity apart from God."

He said that. That seems to be the new PC way to witness to people. It isn't very offensive. It is safe. It won't scare many off. It doesn't make people uncomfortable. It is what I was taught to say in evangelism classes.

But then..."You will spend eternity in Hell."

Why do I think that is important? Because it is the truth. Not a half-truth. Not hedging. Not hiding. Full disclosure.

It seems often modern, relevant presentations of the gospel try to dodge the WORD Hell more than the PLACE Hell.
Hell is real.
Face it.

I am glad I attend a church that tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, SO HELP US GOD!!!

Centerpoint Fellowship Church

09 August 2012

I Am Lazarus...and Others: Best Actor Award...Blast from the Past

I Am Lazarus...and Others: Best Actor Award...Blast from the Past

Best Actor Award...Blast from the Past

I am not a big fan of movie/tv/music awards shows, but I would be lying if I didn't say I tune in a few times a night to check them out.  Back in my free-wheelin' college days, I was actually into it a bit.  I would try to see all of the films up for Best Picture at the Oscars before the show.  Just a hobby...stop judging. (You have something, too.)

A couple Sundays ago, the Golden Globes were on.  My wife and I turned by when they were giving some kind of lifetime achievement award to Robert DeNiro.  They played an amazing montage of many of his movies.  He truly is fantastic.  Sitting there watching, probably 3 or 4 times I said "I forgot about him in that movie."  He has done a wonderful job in so many films, I guess I remembered the top 4 or 5, and kind of shuffled the rest away.

But when he started to make his speech...YIKES!

24 July 2012

We Need To Be Them...and Occasionally Mexican

There is a group of people in the Bible that doesn't get enough credit. 

Wait...that's not how I write...

About two weeks ago, I was in town...alone.  My wife had stolen my kids away in the night and driven to see relatives 4 hours away.  Without me.  I knwe she was going, so I am being a bit overly dramatic, but the point is, I was in my hometown where there are hundreds of people that I know...yet, I was all alone. 

So, what was I to do??

i rented movies my wife wouldn't want to see (aka anything in the ACTION genre) and laid around the house eating Chinese food.  If the old adage "You are what you eat" was literal, I would be Chinese.  And Occasionally Mexican (note to self:  cool sounding name for the indy rock band you may one day but will never start: "Occasionally Mexican").

But as I lay (or is it laid) there trying to get some shut-eye, I felt guilty and a little bloated thanks to all of the fried rice, sugary sauce, battered and fried chicken, the egg roll and the delicious 32 oz. sweet tea I had consumed, so I decided the next morning I would head to the Y to get a workout in.  More to appease my conscience than anything.

So, I finally fell asleep at the latest time I have stayed up until in years...MIDNIGHT!!! 

I awoke, went to the Y and got a great workout in.  Saturday mornings are apparently not very popular for the workout scene.  There were 3 of us there and it was quiet.  No one was awake enough to speak, I suppose.

I burned my 600 calories or approximately 4% of what I had eaten the night before.  When I left, I felt I needed a treat.  

And right next to the Y is a Panera Bread.  Oh YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

To skip all the formalities and the discussion on the idiotic logic behind chasing my workout with a 520 calorie Spinach and Bacon Souffle', I ordered, Zach gladly put the deliciousness in a paper sack and away I went.  As I walked out, another gentleman was beside me.  I held the door for him as he was a step or so behind me and when I looked at him, he looked...well...a wreck!!!

He was covered in flour, appeared like he had been awake for a week straight and was completely a mess.

It hit me...he was the Baker!  He was the guy who made my soon-to-be workout minimizer.

I am a talkative sort, so I struck up a conversation and he obliged.  I found out that he goes to work every night at 11 and works until 8 the next morning, baking all of the tarts, scones, souffles, muffins, etc.  I had never thought about him.  Or that role.  I assumed they had frozen food, microwaved it and overcharged me to the max!  Right?  RIGHT?

But, no...There is a guy who stays locked inside Panera all night...working.  If it weren't for that guy, I would have no souffle.

Again.  I had never thought about him and his critical (overstatement?) role in the process...

There is another group of people I had never really noticed in the Bible.  They filled a critical (not an understatement) role in a certain episode and I have never thought about them.

Literally "them."

That is how they are referred to in John 11:44.  Who are they?  I don't know.  Have no idea who they were and certainly never acknowledged their role in the story.  

Lazarus had just been raised from the dead.  After 4 days.  He came out...Still Bound.  Basically, Lazarus was a nasty, filthy, disgusting, smelly mess.  His body had been restored, but that doesn't mean the cloths on him were now clean and smelled like daisies. He was gross.  Like, Gross Gross.

This hit me the other day...What if "them" hadn't answered the call?  If Lazarus came out, but was left all to himself, what would've happened to him?  He was wrapped tightly and his face and head were wrapped as well. 

He would've died.  Again.

"them" are very important people.  "them" helped restore Lazarus.

Today we need more of "them."

Often we hear great stories about addicts, prostitutes, drunkards and the like are "saved" from their lives of torture.  Very often we unfortunately hear about how they fell back in to sin.  Why? How can that be?

Just like Lazarus, who heard the voice of Jesus plainly and clearly, would've died AGAIN, so are we today.  There has to be a "them" to come along to help.  Why do I think that way? 
1. personal experience.  If you have read the first few posts of this blog, you know I am on a journey.  A journey back from being dead...spiritually and morally dead.  And if it weren't for some of the great men God put in my life and my beautiful, Godly wife...I am 99% sure I would be dead all over again.
2. Jesus easily could've commanded the graveclothes off of Lazarus.  I honestly believe there was a purposeful inclusion of those around to step in and physically become involved.  Jesus was setting an example for us as believers to help each other...no matter how FILTHY our lives look.  No matter how SMELLY our sin. 

Being "them" can be gross, time-consuming, and HARD WORK.

But that's what we need to be.

We need to be "them."

For God's Glory...we need to become "THEM."

19 July 2012

Just checking...and a Book Suggestion

So, I am on this new computer here (at work) and this is just a short, meaningless post to see if it will work...blogger has apparently changed some junk since my last post...

Oh, and READ "not a fan" by Kyle Idleman, please. Would love to hear thoughts on it. (look at me writing like people might be reading this. How precious!