Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I can do nothing...

Romans 8:26,27
Likewise the Spirt helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

I can do nothing... this seems like such a negative statement that should create some sense of false humility or send us to the mall to buy black clothes so that we can put on dark eye makeup and sit in a corner acting like we suck. But that's not what we are talking about here. Believing that we are children of the King negates the idea of us being piles of suck, and points us to another truth. As "children" we are needy, but okay with it. My son doesn't have a problem asking me to help wipe his rear or help him put his clothes on. Sometimes he even comes to me crying and having no idea why the tears are flowing except that there is something wrong and that Daddy will know what to do to make it better. It is his role to need and my role to care for his needs and love him.

Romans 8:26 says that we don't even know what to pray for... this sounds like a helpless place, and would be such if it were not for the Spirit. Look at the wording here, "He who searches hearts know what is the mind of the Spirit..." So, while God is searching our hearts, he is also looking at the spirit who is living in our hearts and whose mind exists in our hearts. Here is where the helplessness stops! For believers, the Spirit is already in our hearts, interceding for us and guiding us, because this is what God wants the Spirit to do. So the truth is that we can do nothing that God will see as having any merit in His plan for our lives or this world, apart from the Spirit that lives inside us. Therefore, it is exciting not to know what to pray for! It is awesome to go to God the way my son approaches me, full knowing that something needs to happen, but we are not sure what... and it is okay. I know that I am not living up to what the Bible lays out as guidelines for my life, and every time I try to fix it, I just end up reverting to my old ways. Maybe it is because I am not trusting the Spirit that is living in my heart to reveal to me what my prayers should be. Maybe it is because I am trying to fix what isn't broken or to change what doesn't need changing. Maybe a more honest prayer would be for me to ask for what is on my heart and to also be okay with the idea that I could be praying for the wrong thing. Maybe I need to be going to God from a place where my heart is troubled, but I don't know what to do about it, instead of giving him direction. If the spirit is there already, let him do the work!
This week, make part of your prayer time a statement that you don't know what God needs to do, but all you know is that you need him, and let the spirit do the talking.

Monday, October 3, 2011

who are you?

Jonah 1:9
And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land."

I often find myself praying that God would "Ignite my passions" or "work in my life" or numerous other things that are telling God that I need a change to occur. I don't think these are bad things to ask for, but maybe just a bit ungrateful.
Sometimes my son will be at the dinner table eating whatever we have placed in front of him when my wife or I will unwittingly mention yogurt or ice cream or cookies. Immediately, what is on his plate is no longer satisfactory. He may have been devouring it minutes earlier, but now it will take everything short of a crowbar to jam it into his jaw.
I am that way sometimes. I want God to move in one area or another, but haven't given thought to what he has already done and who I am now. Maybe a better prayer would be for me to thank Him for moving already. To thank him that I am His child - - because as such, it is the nature of a Father to lovingly guide and teach a son or daughter. Could it be that He is already "Igniting my passions" or "working in my life"? If I am His child, this must be so.
This week, try thanking God for moving in your life. Thank Him for being your Father and for sending his spirit to reside in you. Try living as who he has made you to be - - may your actions reflect that as your Father, He is already working, even though it may not be the way you would like it to be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


One of the things I enjoy most is rebuilding old bicycles. I love to find bikes that have been neglected, but are still repairable, so I can restore them to their original glimmer. The most time consuming part is preparing the frame and parts for paint. The first step is to remove as much paint as possible with sandpaper, wire brushes etc. Next, it's time to dawn protective goggles, gloves and respirator mask to get ready for sandblasting. This is tough work and dirty work as the granules of sand bounce off the metal at high speed and pelt the one using the blaster in every uncovered area. Through squinted eyes, I still love to watch the sand do it's job, like painting in reverse. It is so satisfying to see the rust, neglect and old paint slowly strip away to expose a surface that can be successfully painted into something beautiful.

We started in the book of Jonah this week and something that Johnathan said really struck me.

"God doesn't expose us to beat us up, but to build us up."

Jonah 1:1-3
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

Most people have heard the story of the man who was swallowed by a fish and then vomited up on land- almost seems like something from the "Epic of Gilgamesh" or "The Never Ending Story". But in believing that all scripture is true, we move forward with what God is trying to teach us here.
First, I had never thought about who Jonah was. I didn't realize that he had a proven prophetical track record, and had already responded to God's words. In 2 Kings 14:25, we see him giving prophetic counsel to King Jeroboam II. A man who had worked in the kings court and had successfully given prophetic direction and seen it come to fruition. What this means is that I am not immune to ignoring a directive from God. I am not immune to running from Him. No matter how successful I have been in service to Him in the past, I am not immune to screwing up in the future.
This is humbling and unsettling. But did you ever think that maybe the story of the fish and the man inside was something that God intended to use for Jonah's own good? Is it possible that God knew what Jonah's response would be and for that very reason chose Jonah to send His message to Nineveh?

This is where the sandblasting happens. This is where God strips down all the past successes and failures, removing the rust and old paint, so as to replace it better than it was before. Do I really believe that God doesn't expose me to tear me down? If I truly do, then it is in those times when I feel like I'll never be enough, like all I thought I had going for me is useless, and I am totally out of my element, that he may be sandblasting. It's not fun for Him, and not comfortable for me, but the result is a better rendition of myself in the end. Sometimes the paint is bonded better and takes longer to remove, and sometimes the flakes just fly, but if I can endure, and keep my focus on trusting God while he does what needs to be done, then the end result will be better than I could've ever imagined.

This week, when you are feeling the sting of sand on your skin, and you feel like you are in situations where you are unprepared and exposed, start looking at the places where God is at work, and thank him. Make your focus this week to stay continually in a place of gratitude with God, even when you feel like things are unfair, and see if by the end of the week you aren't in a better place - more prepared to become the person God wants you to be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Royal Priesthood...

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who asked me if I was trying to be clergy... Having not grown up catholic, I didn't really know what to do with the word "clergy" but I figured it was something like pastor, so I said yes. But what does that really mean?

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you our of darkness into his marvelous light.

Don't get messed up in false offense with the whole "chosen race" thing here. It is simply referring to those that God has called (anyone who believes) as a separate people group, all sharing the same beliefs.

According to Peter, all believers are a "Royal Priesthood". So I guess by default, if I have said to Jesus, "My life is no longer mine, but yours because of your work for my sake on the cross..." then I have become a "Royal Priest". That feels weird. So what does this rhetoric really mean?

If Christ is the king, and I am now considered one of his children, then there's the royalty part, but what about the priest part? I don't wear robes and sing melancholy gregorian chant in a building surrounded by varnished wood and stained glass. I don't use words like "Bless you my child..." or "In his great manifold wisdom we honor thee and cherish this holy Septuagint..." In fact, I'm not eve sure what a Septuagint is.

I think the "Royal Priesthood" is simply a statement of who we are. We are royalty. We are in awe of the fact that God (the King) loved us enough to send his Son so that we could personally get to know the KING on an intimate level - - that is huge!! This should incite us to be not only grateful, but telling everyone about it and living in such a way that would honor the King - - there is our Priesthood. A priest simply tells others about Christ - and in the same way, our actions and words will be doing the same if we are living up to who we truly are. We are Royalty. We are priests.

This week - ask yourself if you are living as Royalty - as a child of the King? The priesthood part can only come if you have truly internalized how much you are loved by your God and your king. This is a big deal. If you find yourself worried about what others think of you, and often being swayed because of the things around you, then are you really convinced that you are royalty?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Jesus - why bother...

Last weekend, a big group of us worked on my friend's Sarah's house. Sarah has a loving husband, two kids and  - cancer. It would be cliche to say that she never thought it would happen to her, but there is really no other way to say it. We worked tirelessly in her house and yard to get it ready to be sold. They had to move to Baltimore to be close to her family and undergo treatment. This is the stuff that shakes the ground - the earthquake of an unexpected disease and the idea of mortality. It's like everything takes a shift and is seen through different eyes, as the battle for survival takes the forefront and everything else is tertiary.
Does it really matter that they don't know Jesus.
The pat Christian answer would be "Of course it does, because they have no hope of heaven!" While this may be a true statement, is Jesus really just assurance that things will be okay just in case something happens and you get sick or are involved in some sort of accident? This sounds shallow and made-up to me. Simply a way to get comfort in hard and confusing times. If this is the only reason for following Christ, why bother? Christianity is hard, so if all we are waiting for is the "sweet by and by" then I want out!
1 Peter: 2:2-7
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone, rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: "Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame." So the honor is for you who believe...

On Sunday, Fred asked us the question,
"Do we understand the Gospel and what it means for our spiritual growth?"

How basic, but how profound this question actually is. Without a proper understanding of the Gospel, there is really no reason for us to venture forward in this thing called Christianity - after all, it all rides on the idea of the Gospel.

Lets look back at the verse - "like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation..." This verse specifically implies that there is more than just an "after death" case for Christ. We are being told to long for spiritual milk - this is a NOW statement. Then it tells us what this "spiritual milk" will produce (again for the present). We are being "built up" so that we can offer "acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ". Here is the work of the Gospel; that through Christ, we are acceptable to God, a god who will in turn build us up! These are all present-tense statements. This is not just a religion by which we can get some sort of assurance for after we die, this is a purpose for life - a cyclical purpose. Verse 1 says "So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander." Put away these things (things in our human nature) - long for spiritual milk (a thing from God), so that we can grow, and in growing, bring Glory to the one who enabled us to grow through Jesus Christ. We believe in a God who wants us to be at our best, because when we are at our best, he is most glorified!!
So here's the rub.
Fred asked us:
Are you positioning yourself to grow?
Then, in typical teacher style, he gave us the how-to answers in the form of questions;
Are you creating space for God's word?
Are you creating space for community?
If not, why not?

As the year gets underway, and our time gets taken by our classes and busy schedules, let's make it a point to create space to grow this year. It will only happen if we are intentional about it... remember, we may have to sacrifice in some areas to make room for growth, but we have everything to gain from an all powerful God if we do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stones are heavy...

My family and I were vacationing in Maine this past summer and spent a lot of time at tidal beaches where the kids could play. With eleven foot tides, the beach is much different than what I am used to. For half the day, the beaches are wet sand and for the other half, they are covered with up to eleven feet of water. Also interesting, is the various sundry of rocks that cover the ocean floor, and are exposed when the tides are out. Maine is a glacial moraine. This means that toward the end of the Ice Age, much of Maine was covered by glaciers that had traveled southward across Canada. As the glacier melted, it left stones, sand and debris, from throughout the northern part of the globe. Many were worn smooth by glaciation, and all were different colors, shapes and sizes. My dad was an earth-science teacher and loves to "read" the stories in the rocks; where they are from, or how they came to look the way they do.
Of particular interest to me were the rocks that contained a large amount of iron in them. Not only were they rust red in color, but they were much heavier than all the other rocks on the beach.
1 Peter 2:4,5 
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  
We are stones. But I think this verse points out that we are not just the smooth stones that make up the majority of the rocky tidal beaches, we are the stones laden with ore - the heaviest stones. We are "chosen and precious". The older I get, the more I need to remember that I carry more weight in my influence of others. High school students carry weight with middle school and elementary, college students carry weight with high, middle and elementary and even begin to carry weight with those older than themselves, and this trend continues until life ends.
My actions are watched by those who see me as a "heavy stone". My opinions are valued in the same way, and my decisions effect more and more people. While this can be exciting, it is also humbling. My choices, and passions must be kept in check, for the benefit of my own spiritual health, as well as those in my sphere of influence. The stone that is my life continues to have more and more weight on other people - their lives, their decisions etc. Am I using that weight to build others up and serve so that in serving, others may do likewise because of my influence? Or am I piling my weight on others as I stay immature in my faith, and always expect those around me to serve my needs. A child has many needs, but they are also "lighter stones". We no longer have that luxury as we get older.
It is also humbling to know that as our weight increases, so does the burden we are continually stacking onto the cornerstone which is Christ. It is what Jesus has told us to do, and we are right in giving him our stones, but we need to remember the price that he had to pay for us to be able to do so.
Today - remember the weight you carry. Recognize the influence you have and embrace it. New students are moving into the dorms, new freshman are walking onto high school campuses for the first time, and all of them need a place to put some of their weight. Go out of your way to serve them, and just see what happens in your own life as you do.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


1 Corinthians 10:23 "All things are lawful", but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up.
WOAH... So basically, if something is not in direct opposition to scripture (or the law of the land - which Jesus says to also follow) then it is okay? Not necessarily. This is one of the pot-smoker's favorite verses. Mostly because it is easy to couple it with verse 26, For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." and feel really spiritual as they take another long drag and sit back in a worn out lazy boy with a silly smirk, feeling very spiritual and Bob Marley esque... But I digress... It's easy to twist this one wherever you want it to go, but in the context in which it is written, it really only works one way.Paul is writing to the Christians in Corinth, which is a city much like Asheville, a place with many cultures and religions. Contextually, it speaks of eating what Jews would have considered "unclean" meats and then expands outside of the bounds of food into how to live in a diverse city such as ours. Check out verses 28, 29 and 30, and don't get stuck on the idea of clean and unclean food, but think more broadly about things like tattoos, dancing, smoking, etc.
28 "But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience - I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why and I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?"
Here is crux. If I know someone (especially a non-believer) who believes that something is very wrong, such as dancing, drinking, tattoos, etc, then I need to abstain from those things so as not to lose their ear to the gospel of Christ. Everything keeps pointing back to that one thing - the Gospel. There is an old adage that says "If you cut off someone's nose, there is no use giving them a rose to smell." The Gospel is our rose, and if I let some little personal freedom get in the way of that, then I am counterproductive to what has set me free, and thus in rebellion to the freedom-giver, Jesus Christ... woah...
V:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offence to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved."
So here's the responsibility part. I need to know my Bible and my God so intimately, that I am sure of the freedoms He has granted for my life, and then I need to be ready at any moment, to give up any of those freedoms for His sake. This is not easy stuff - - following Jesus never is, as it always requires us to fight the nature in us that makes us want to hold on to every good gift - - no formulas, no rules, lots of grace. It is a two fold responsibility, that requires humility, discipline and willingness to give up any freedom for the sake of others knowing what I know...

"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried."

GK Chesterton

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eagles and Roots

Ezekiel 17 tells the parable of the Two Eagles and the Vine. There are lots of connections to be made here to the Gospel, the kingdom of God, Christian growth, etc. But here's a crazy connection that I was just thinking about. We start off with one great eagle who plants a cedar on rich soil, and as the branch grows and it's roots mature, it notices a second eagle and "bends it's roots" towards that eagle. What has happened here is a loss of focus on the one who set it in place in the first place, and a change in focus toward something else.
Isn't this where we often find ourselves in our schools and jobs? The branch was placed in it's location for a purpose, that it may prosper and "learn", but that it would always stay what it was meant to be by staying connected. It is so easy to make our education, relationships or social circles the main thing. To "bend our roots" away from the source and try to get our nourishment from something other than what was intended.
We have been placed in specific locations for a purpose, to learn, to work, and to love others, etc. but if we try to get our fulfillment there through good grades, accolades from bosses, teachers, friends, etc. then we are going to dry up.
I remember watching MTV in high school to find out how to dress, what to say and what to listen to. I didn't see it as my moral compass or anything like that, it was just a guide to coolness. Looking back, I was basing my actions and appearances on people who have no idea what they are doing either! Their source is the thing they are creating for themselves. Try making your car go by filling it up with the air that it gathers as it moves down the road - it will eventually stop moving!
Try this today. In every situation, ask yourself. Am I handling this with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (the fruit of the spirit)? If I keep my roots planted in these things, I will find myself not only finding my identity in what is good, but also staying constantly aware of my need for a Savior as I fall short time and time again... it may also guide you to your true identity - what an awesome by-product!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

thoughts from a jackrabbit: Thinking of you...

thoughts from a jackrabbit: Thinking of you...: "new"

Thinking of you...

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer and just underwent another chemo treatment. She posted on facebook how she felt after the treatment and was then barraged by friendly sentiments from the people she knew and loved. I quickly noticed, that my response was the only one that said that I was and am praying for her. Most said that she was "in their thoughts" or that their "thoughts went out to her". What an empty sentiment!! Sure, it feels nice to be thought of, but in an instance where intervention needs to happen, thoughts just don't cut it.
I read Nehemiah 1:1-3:14 this morning about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes and finds out that the walls of of his native land, Jerusalem are in ruins. This troubles him deeply. In the long and short of it, he gets permission from the king to rebuild it and, even through much opposition, he makes it happen. But at the very beginning of chapter 1, right after he hears about the gates being in ruins, Nehemiah, prays. Verse 4 says "As soon as I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven."
Nehemiah, knew there was no way he could do this. Jerusalem was under foreign rule, and rebuilding the walls would be considered an act of rebellion, but he prayed in earnest about it anyways, and God delivered.
I know I pray for people, and I have seen prayers answered, but I still think I am a long way off from realizing how powerful prayer really is. I't like having someone more powerful than Donald Trump for a dad, and asking him for a BMW, but way bigger, of course. Let him know how important this is, show Him through your actions (Nehemiah fasted and prayed for days) and ask him. It's so much more than just giving someone your thoughts, its asking a king, THE King, to work for you. This is REAL stuff here, not some feel-good crap. If I really believe He has the power to answer, I need to pray accordingly.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day... something.

Usually on dives I stay above the group a bit shallower, so today at one point I decided to hit some deep water. Most of the walls go from 20ft and drop off straight down to over 100ft. Let me remind you that I am also breathing nitrox which greatly improves my chances of not getting bent. All this to say I shot for the bottom of the wall just to see how deep it really went. At 109ft, I heard the divemaster use his little quacker and looked up to see him telling me to come back up with the group. They were all hanging out at about 55ft, so I was a little ways away, but I could still see them just fine and the max depth on the dive was supposed to be 100ft and there was no way he could have known I was at 109! Nonetheless, I ambled back up the wall like a scolded dog and spent the rest of the dive above the group at about 25ft to get some of that excess nitrogen out of my bloodstream... don't worry, I was still well within the safe limits of plain air, let alone Nitrox. All this to say, I am being safe, and having a great time as well. I don't mess around with the bends and am always keeping well within the regular safe areas for plain old air, even though I am using Nitrox the majority of the time. Sorry if all that tech stuff is confusing.Greg has been taking a lot of great underwater pictures with his 3k$ rig. He will be sending those to us when we get home. These pictures were taken with my $100 point and shoot that has a max depth of 12ft. ENJOY!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bonaire contd.

The water is so blue here it doesn't even look real. There is a picture in a real estate ad that shows a place with one of those endless pools that looks out onto the ocean and the pool and ocean are virtually the same color. The native people are all really friendly, though I am still trying to figure out what language they speak. The island is owned by Holland, but is so close to Venezuela and so visited by the US that it is really hard to find what their identity here is. They even use US currency. I don't mean like they take US dollars, but that is ALL they use! From what dad said, they used to use this standard called Gilders, but now they don't even have those. US only. We went to a grocery store yesterday and bought hot dogs in a can and some weird kind of spam meat made from chicken and packed according to the religious rights of Islam... don't know exactly what that looks like, but it tasted like very lean spam. 
All the dive spots are marked by rocks painted yellow, so basically you drive down a coastal road until you see a yellow rock and then you stop, park, dive, and then drive home. Diving is a strange thing. Sure, there are young people that do it, but for the most part, it's engineers, investment bankers and other older and retiring professionals. There is a lot more gray hair in the water these days. It seemed like mostly people in their thirties when I was growing up, but now, it's still the same people and they have aged. Especailly Dad. I guess you can't go through a kidney transplant, open heart surgery, cancer treatment and two strokes and not have at least some of it show up in wear. It's like his body has gone through some sort of war, and he wears the scars on his skin and it's effects somewhere inside. I guess I probably notice it more because when we used to do this together, he was in better shape than most of the people we used to dive with, who were all younger than him. It is good though, to be able to kind of reverse roles here. He even asked me at one point if mom told me to keep an eye on him, and said that if she did, I was doing a good job! The coolest thing about it though, is that serving him feels so good. I round up his gear, carry his tanks and wait for him on our dives. I check to see that his air is where it should be and drive everywhere we go. My new role is different, but I like it, and Dad says I can carry his gear any time I want! (of course right?)
Let me explain to you what I am looking at right now. I am on a second floor patio, looking through the rungs of steel railing at the roof of a tiki hut, beyond which is several dive boats, teal ocean and in the distance, the desert mountains on the far end of the island. To my left is Klein Bonaire, which is a little island off the island that is perfectly flat and covered with cactus and very thorny vegetation. In the air are sounds of generators, construction, the lapping of th water on the natural rock seawall, and the sounds of people speaking English, Dutch, and the native language here.
We went on an 8:30 am dive this morning and then explored the downtown area and the salt mountains that lay near the salt peer from where they ship the salt all over the world. They have these huge drying beds where the pump in the salt water and let the sun evaporate out the H20 and leave the salt behind. Then they scoop it all up and load it onto huge freighters to be made into industrial salts for water softeners, etc.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Here I am in Bonaire with my dad. We are celebrating his 1 year anniversary from getting his new kidney. Yes, my dad is an organ transplant guy. Dad and I were huge divers back in Florida and when his kidneys decided to quit, his diving had to slow down.
This is trip is like a second chance at life, second chance at diving second chance at just about everything. We drove to Atlanta together and then flew straight south to a little country that is just off the coast of Venezuela. Their major industries are salt and diving. It's this tiny little desert island that caters to divers and just about everything here helps divers from all over the world have a good time. The first thing dad and I did was have a cheesburger. According to him, we needed our CHEESBURGER IN PARADISE. So we settled into our room and donned snorkeling garb and headed into the water, which was so clear it was like floating on air. The next day we met up with an old friend of ours from FL and did 3 dives today including my first night dive... which was awesome. My favorite thing was to turn off my light and see the world of dark underwater from the lights of others and the moon. It was amazing. At one point, dad and I came upon a small wreck and both turned off our lights. By waving my hand in front of my face, I could see the glow of phosphorescent organisms that literally glow in the dark when disturbed.
My writing right now is distracted because there are a lot of distractions going on conversationally. I'll write more later...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I am a great listenter... what did you say?

It's kind of crazy the things you learn as you get older. Things you knew when you were ten but forgot somewhere between there and twenty. Like how not to care about what people thought about what you looked like, or the things you said. Or how to run circles right after you jump out of bed... or maybe just how to JUMP joyfully out of bed every morning, instead of miserably rolling out.
I'm learning that other people may actually have something good to say. I've always thought I was a good listener, but I'm not so sure anymore. For instance, my wife Laura is an amazing professional, partner, and mom. Every day she spends her time problem solving to help students overcome their learning disabilities, or to aid teachers in reaching students in spite of their limitations. In the midst of this, she counts calories, talks with friends and reads about the best ways to raise our child, gets excited about new recipes, and learns better ways to stay healthy through diet and exercise. Yet, when she speaks to me about something that I feel is in my expertise, my ears tend to close off, and I dismiss what she has to say before she says it. This is dumb. If my wife was an ignoramus, it would be a logical thing to do, but my wife is brilliant. So I am learning. I am trying to listen when she talks and to stop my male ego from blocking my ear-holes to what my wife has to say. Sure, sometimes it may be something I have already ruled out, but how will I know unless I have listened in order to understand? The craziest thing about all of this is the bi-product that this cultivates. When I listen - I mean, really listen, she lights up, and all the things I fell in love with are glowing in her eyes. She becomes even more beautiful and seems to fall for me the way she did when we were dating... Maybe I'm on to something here... if I can just keep it up.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Funny thing - when you first hear the Gospel, you think "Yeah, I got that". But here I am at 34 years old and I'm still learning. If it's really Jesus+nothing=Gospel, then that creates a whole new role for the Holy Spirit. One role of the HS is to convict us of places we need to improve. The place where the gospel makes the difference is in our response to that prompting. If we respond by hunkering down and hashing away at our new found nemesis, are we really trusting the formula of Jesus+nothing? It may just be that the better response would be to say "I can't fix this but you can." I think this is more at the heart of the Gospel. A loving father that says "Here is an opportunity for me to know you more. This is a place you need to improve. If you will just hang out with me, just spend time with me and read my word, I'll fix this. It may not be easy, but I'll guide you through the necessary steps and trials to defeat this. Just be with me."
It's counter-intuitive. It doesn't make sense not to take on a problem face first... but maybe this counter-intuitive action is consistent with the theme of the gospel. Maybe seemingly senseless action is part of the building of our faith.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

First Thought

Growing up, my mom used to call me Jackrabbit. My dad was John and I was Jon, so there had to be some way to differentiate between the two. My initials were JR so, it seemed only right to make my nickname fit my initials, and thus the Jackrabbit was born.

My nickname wasn't just an endearing term, but a sort of temperature gauge to let me know whether my summoning was positive or negative. If I was the Jackrabbit, dinner was ready, mom wanted to hang out and talk, or I had done something praiseworthy. If she used my first, middle and last names in sequence, I may want to act as though I was not within hearing distance so as to avoid the consequences of whatever it was I had done.

So this blog is "Thoughts from a Jackrabbit". Truthful, and real, with as much of a positive spin on things as I can achieve... after all, I am the Jackrabbit.