Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another One for Mark Freer

When I was young I was subjected to a lot of Joe Cocker music. At one time in my life I was pretty sure Joe sang every song in the world. Never in my life did I actually understand what he said, but I liked his voice enough to learn to do a pretty good impersonation of him.

Joe made many appearances in my family when I was young. He sang birthday wishes. He sang the children to sleep. He was a big part of our family. There was a long stretch of time when I would do something Joe related at every family gathering. It was kind of like a tribute to my mother, who was very into his lyrical ability. He has been pretty quiet in the family for about the last year... until today, when my dad and I were chatting on google. Dad shared a link with me and that is the reason for this post...

As you know, my friend, Pastor Mark Freer is interested in music. I wanted to share one with all of you, but also one I thought Mark would get a laugh out of. This video clip is an interpretation of what Joe Cocker actually sang at Woodstock. Watch it and enjoy.


Monday, January 12, 2009

So What About 2009?

My last blog entry was about a theme the Lord gave me for 2008. I walked through a number of areas that He showed me this theme. Well, that was last year. What about this year? That seems to be the big question…

As I mentioned in that post, there were times I really wanted 2008 to be over. It seemed that there was an intense about of struggle in my life and in the loves of those around me. Though 2008 had its highlights, there were many times I just wanted to get away. I even remember asking Andrea on several occasions when we were going to get some good news for a change.

It was with this type of feeling I have been approaching the Lord. Through all of what has been going on, I have just been learning from the Psalms, how to let it all out to God. I seem to have been able to relate to David as he was in Psalm 42, though not all enemies were just about me, they have been surrounding my family and closest friends as well. I have learned a lot from him in his tenacity and will. Though everything on the outside is going wrong, David closed the Psalm with preaching to himself to trust in the Lord. Though it sucked around him, David challenged himself not to get overwhelmed by his surroundings, and forced himself to put his hope in God.

So in asking God for some “good news” for a change, I was given a challenge by the Lord. At this point, I don’t know if this is a theme, or the only theme, or what, but I got a sense from the Lord that this had to be a year of Good News. I got a sense from the Lord that I had to look to the Lord; after all He is where my help comes from. I have a challenge to look for what He is doing. This is a year of good news and I have to preach that to myself.

In saying that, please understand that I am in no way preaching any prosperity messages or anything like that. With our economy and everything going on around us, I am not expecting “Good Things.” I am expecting to see His goodness.

One of the things that I automatically go to in “Good News” is the Gospels. In this year I plan to take a long and extensive look at the Gospels. I hope to see Him in different ways and learn more from His message. I am hoping that I can learn more about His love and ways from the four different accounts of Him.

Another thing that I feel the Lord challenging me with this year is to go out and make some good news. As I mentioned before, when it gets really tough I feel overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel. I feel like this year I will need to take risks. I will need to take challenges and build on them. I feel this year I will need to put more hope in Father. What is good news? Good news is Jesus! How do we go out and make good news? We go out and share his love with those who don’t know Him. I have a feeling that this will be a big theme for me this year.

I am not sure if this is all that Father is putting before me as a theme for the year. I get the sense that this isn’t all, which is why I have hesitated in writing this post. I feel like another thing that is going on this year is the year of accepting challenges. I think this might be the theme, and the Good News might be the first of the challenges I face this year. That being said, it is an adventure and we are 12 days into it…

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 Review-The Year of Getting Fit

Rather than post 2008-2009, I have opted to break it up into two posts. I just feel like it will help me clear my head properly.

Well, we have exited 2008. Some would say good riddance to this past year. It was a rough, challenging year. It was a year filled with tension. It was a year filled with fear. It was just a tough year all over.

2008 had its theme early in the year for me. I really felt a sense from the Lord that it was a year I needed to start getting fit. I feel big changes are on the horizon, and I felt the nudge from Father to be ready for them. How did this sense from the Lord show itself in my life? Well, let's take a look.

In getting fit this year a highlight for me would be finishing Bible College and getting ordained. This was a big challenge. At times I felt as though I would never do, or get through this. It was a challenge for so many reasons. It forced me to sit down and work day in and day out. It forced me to study things. It forced me to take a big look inside of myself. It forced me to look at my faults and weaknesses. Each week, new assignments, new papers, new studies, new words, new sermons, bombarded me until I could feel the weight of it in every area of my life. Then suddenly… It was over. I was able to walk down the aisle Suma Cum Laude. I was able to say I completed this challenge.

Another area of getting fit for me was obviously the physical area. Did I succeed? That’s a mixed answer. If you were to ask me if I am able to see my feet yet, I would have to answer no. I did not seem to lose any weight. That being said, I did work out more this year than I have, or have been able to, in a long time. Starting last winter I was on my cycle trainer regularly. As soon as the weather broke I was out on the trails. I was able to ride a 40 mile ride in the woods of Addison Oaks. I was slow and fat but I was able to go further than in a long time. This year I raced two endurance races with my team, MTB-Life Racing. Though I was slow, I was still part of the team and worked to see us win. One of those races I actually did a 6 hour solo against my teammates. I met almost all of my objectives. I was in the lead group for at least 5 feet (small goal, but when you are as fat as I am, you have to count your victories). I kept up with my team for a lap, despite flatting early in that lap. This, however, is what kept me from attaining one of my other goals. I did all of this on the first lap of the race. Because of this, I pretty much blew up and was only able to complete 7 or 8 laps (I have to look it up) when I knew I could get 10. Reminder to self: Pace yourself.

In our family it was a good thing I started getting fit. I now have 2 teenage boys. This is a new challenge that I think I needed to prepare for a little earlier. I think we have made positive steps as a family, but, if I had known then what I know now… This is still something I am working on. Since it is not a project made of wood, I know I will never finish, and will always be able to improve it. I think this year taught me a number of things regarding my family. We are a good family, but I have always been a “loosy goosy” type of father. I tried to be the more relaxed one. Not that I wasn’t involved, or was just a total goof off, but I tried to give everyone something to smile about. I started to see, however, that I needed to establish some things. In the end, I am learning, things are getting established, and the family is growing. As I said before, this is something I will always be learning and changing, so I am looking forward to learning. I love my wife, my sons, and my daughters, so I will continue exercising in this area.

What else??? Oh, all of this getting fit really came in handy in a number of other areas. One of which was our mission trip. This was the first year we led the team. We went to Tijuana Mexico. We took a team of 10 from our church and 2 young people I am close to. While we were there we led a team of 17. Over the week I had to preach in 3 churches, minister millions of times, make decisions I never knew of prior, care for and encourage my team, and the larger team, and do a bunch of other things I have never done on previous trips. In the end, we saw a lot of people get saved and we saw the lives of our young people touched like never before. Not to mention that the getting physically fit helped me pull a couple of kids out of the Pacific Ocean, but I won’t get into that here.

The year of getting fit taught me some lessons about life. It is still teaching me about life. One of the harder lessons I am still learning and working to get fit in is my job. I have always been very good at what I do. Sometimes I take that for granted. I am learning to work as unto the Lord. I need to, especially in this economy.

Getting fit came with challenges. I have watched some of my closest friends go through some major challenges. I have watched some get setback after setback, and watched others get bad report after bad report. Andrea and I have had to do things I don’t think we ever thought of before with all of these challenges. We haven’t had the answers, but we have had to support and love amidst the confusion.

All of these challenges have worn me out at times. I remember sitting down with the weight of everything and not wanting to get up. There were times this year where I felt like Oscar De Lahoya when he fought Manny Pacquaio, just being up against a foe that was always faster, bigger, and stronger. One that had no mercy and was just taunting me to throw in the towel. I remember telling Andrea a couple of times that I wish we could just get away. I wish there was some good news somewhere. It was in those times where getting fit paid off. I was able to wrestle through them, not run from them. I was able to see Him move when I needed the encouragement. I was able to take one more step when I needed to.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jaw Dropped!!! Uh