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I Had No Business…

If ever I were to write my life story, this would probably end up being the title.

What does “that” really mean?

That my life has been characterized by my feeling that I’m a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

That as a square peg in a land full of round holes you will do a lot of searching to find a place where you fit in.

Which also means that chances are you’ll become involved with a lot of stuff that you really…

“Had No Business”

being involved with.

I’m not saying it’s been all bad or anything, or that I’m really any different than you are.

In fact, I’ll bet you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

A couple of weeks ago one of the transient cats that frequent my yard decided to have seven kittens and abandon them there.

My wife was the first to hear something crying, we found most of them inside of an old cabinet next to our house.

All efforts to reunite them with their presumably overwhelmed mother failed and so the task was taken up by my daughter, who passed it off to my wife…

Without getting into the details of my personal financial situation, let me just say that

“I had no Business”

spending the money I did on “cat formula replacement” or the eye dropper and tiny bottle that I bought at Wal-Mart.

I didn’t even know there was such a thing, it’s about $10.00 each, I bought two containers.

(I call this “one” Don King)

Now it’s a week or so later, six have died from aspirational pneumonia which is caused by formula getting into their lungs and causing an infection, one is left…

But he is SO cute!

What the head makes cloudy,the heart makes very clear…

Last November I decided to rent a building in a nearby city and try to establish what I called a “ministry center”

It was an idea based not only on what I believed to be an unmet need in the community, but also on what I perceived as being a need to “walk the walk”  in the Christian community.

For eight months I showed up five days a week during the scheduled hours. I promoted it, and I paid every bill associated with it’s operation.

Including but not limited to…the rent,electric,phone,water,to the tune of about $500.00 a month, and during the entire time I think I might’ve talked to a dozen people about their drug/alcohol problems.

It’s sort of a double entendre

I had no business spending that money, and I literally had no business going on!

“I Had No Business”

When people use that phrase to describe someone else what are they really saying?

At least in part I think it means that there’s no profit in what you’re doing.

maybe it means you were involved in something that was better left alone or that wasn’t your affair.

And in these times we’re in right now, minding your own business is a pretty easy sell when it comes to doing something towards meeting the needs of our fellow man.

(or beast)

Do you think that “minding your own business” is part of being a Christian?

In the story of the good Samaritan that Jesus told to His disciples, I’ve always thought it was interesting that the first two people who came across the man in great distress were representatives of the church…

If we fear becoming involved, whether it’s financially, personally, or BOTH! And we rationalize that fear because of our circumstances or based on the possibility of negative outcomes, it may well be said that we’re simply “minding our own business”. And although the primary motivation I mentioned is fear, we can further rationalize that our choice’s are right by referring to them as being

“self-love”

But that’s in stark conflict with my understanding of what being a Christian is about.

It’s definitely not loving God and others as yourself.

It’s not trusting that God has all of our circumstances under His control.

Not being interested in expressing love can only mean you’ve yet to receive it.

Lately it seems to be a popular thing for Christian people to refer to themselves as

“followers of Christ”

Luke 2:49

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business

Many church’s and individual Christian’s are seeking a move of the spirit, and yet they’re standing still! One possible interpretation of Luke 2:49 is that the church is seeking Christ in the wrong places. That if we’re seriously interested in following Jesus or in being used by the Holy Spirit we’ve got to come down off of our mountain and move towards the front line’s of this battle for souls that’s going on, that’s where the Spirit of God is, and I believe that’s where the Father is looking to “do business” and that’s where He needs His church to be!

So go and rescue some kittens, and then go and volunteer at a rescue mission if you want to see the spirit move!

Well, not exactly…but what I am saying is to let it be your constant compulsion to find a way to

“let your light so shine”

among men that your Father in heaven is glorified!

Never be convinced by the apparent lack of results from your efforts to serve the Lord that you

“had no business”

In attempting to do something.

Our adoption into Gods family makes it our family business to proclaim Christ!

I have no business other than the Fathers

In closing, this quote from C.H. Spurgeon

“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.”

Also this…

Evangelism is a process of bringing the gospel to people where they are, not where you would like them to be… When the gospel reaches a people where they are, their response to the gospel is the church in a new place…–Vincent Donovan

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Weeds…

Have you ever felt insignificant, Like a weed? Perhaps even a bit resentful at the thought of you’re life being played out as a supporting role in someone else’s

“big life”?

Perhaps your a frog who dreamed of being a prince…

Or maybe a plain old brick that wanted to become a great building!

The ugly duckling?

Many of us are inclined to see our ambitions as the problem. Reasoning that to act on the desire to rise above our apparent station in life is to choose to be openly discontented in our present circumstances.  And the only “call” on our lives that we’re aware of has to do with maintaining our status quo.  Change is an uncertain thing and depending on the results of it,  it can sometimes be looked upon by others as a vain manifestation of our selfcenteredness…and that’s BAD!

Isn’t it?

Blooming where we’re planted is the key, if I’m just a brick then I must be the best brick possible!

If I’m a weed, I’ll proudly and earnestly go about fulfilling Gods purpose for me!

That’s the ticket, forget about being a flower and just get happy!

After all, wherever you go, there YOU are!

If you weren’t happy as an ugly duckling then becoming a swan won’t solve your problem!

will it?

I believe it to be a very true statement that there is nothing so common in this world as men with God given talent and intellect. That they literally walk the streets, sleeping under bridges and in alleys.

“Well that’s crazy” you say, “how could that be, those people are bum’s?”

I believe it’s true because I’ve met them. It seems as though these men were at some point convinced that they were weeds, which is of course a lie. Everything in their lives beyond that point was merely living down to the expectations that were placed upon them. That’s not to shift the responsibility off of them, how could they not eventually come to know the truth? What could be more painful for them than to live with a yearning in their soul’s for the good and perfect will of the Father in their lives instead of their own profoundly misguided choices. Not to fret, our crafty enemy is ever ready to provide them with his  “answer”.  And so with the lie of  “I’m a weed” firmly implanted in their mind, and something to numb the pain, we can begin to understand the helplessness and hopelessness that’s expressed through the circumstances of their lives.

As much of a believer in education as I am, I’m an even bigger fan of people with a vision that can inspire others to put aside their personal agenda’s and start bailing the knee deep water out of the boat we’re all in! This nation has jumped the track, they say that in order to get a train back on the tracks after it derails you have to reverse it until you get back to it’s point of departure. How far back do you think that is? I’m not as impressed by how many diploma’s you may have on your wall, or with the capital letters that follow after your name as much as I am in knowing

“Do you know how to fix this and can you make this thing work?”

It’s always more cost efficient to take care of what we have than it is to repair or replace it. The investment that’s made through providing education and protection from harm to societies most vulnerable members is one that’s made in everyone’s best interest. The real payoff isn’t immediate, it’s a long term investment that societies make in their own future. It’s an investment that we’ve failed to make because our short-sighted leadership stood by while our real collective wealth as a society was plundered. It’s would’ve been cheap to fix at one point, especially if you give any credence to the sixteen to one exchange rate expressed in the phrase,

“an ounce of prevention is worth a whole pound of the cure”

Those who’s destiny it was to be the much needed missing elements of today’s society were thwarted through various means. The holocaust of abortion, our unchecked nationwide epidemic of drug/alcohol abuse, and the crown jewel of our undoing, the compromise of the American family! It’s a fairly common thing for men to take an old rusty car and restore it, not just because they hope to turn a profit from it but because they love doing it. How much more important is doing “rehab” work with people? And rewarding, look at the return on that investment in terms of the number of added hands being put towards the successful outcome of our common cause.

They say that a weed is a plant man hasn’t found a purpose or a use for yet, and that’s probably the best reason I don’t recommend looking to man for your validation! God made man in His own image, so that means your not a weed, and God does have a vitally important purpose for your life! So if you’re not a weed, who were you supposed to be? What part of the solution were you intended to provide? When will you decide to do whatever you can from this point on to make that happen? Where do you belong? Why…why not?

You’re not a weed, your significance is in the difference you can make in the lives of others who are perishing because of their need of what you have. That knawing feeling in your gut is from you holding back what God sent with you into this world. Have you had enough of Satan’s lies, or are you going to let him continue to steal from you? Is the life you’re living the life that God meant for you? How do you see the focus of your life and who’s glorified by it? If it’s not God, then friend you have a sin problem! And that’s a very bad thing,

I’ll tell you why…

Inside your heart,a still small voice, is calling out to you.

But it’s very easy to ignore, and do the things you do.

Just don’t ever wonder why Your life is filled with pain,

or why things never do work out as long as you remain

The one who’s will is served by the living of your life.

This is not the purpose, it’s the product of your strife.

He said that if we’d be His people, He would be our Lord.

And that the battle has been won,

we don’t need to lift the sword.

A life that’s lived to honor God really blesses you.

So just let go of all your sin

and thank the Lord it’s true!


From my book of poetry, “Something To Read Besides The Walls”

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Gods In It…(Pt.3)

In some ways this is the most difficult part for me to write because it tells the story of how I went from being a regular three time a week church attendee to striking out and”accidentally” establishing a ministry of my own. It’s difficult because what I’ve got to say is critical of certain aspects of not just my church at the time but mainstream churches as a whole. Over time what I began to see and hear became very frustrating to me, the message I kept hearing was that we need to be a church outside the four walls but as far as I could see there wasn’t any real practical or specific plan as to exactly what that means other than to just “be a good person” or “invite someone to church”. Being able to confidently share your faith with others is a weak spot with most Christians. But from my perspective, after all of the ways I had witnessed the Lord’s provision in my life through all of the circumstances I’d been through it was very natural for me to tell others how good He was to me! Over time what I was hearing just ceased to minister to me.  I wondered if I was being spiritually prideful or if I was just tired of sitting in a pew week after week hearing the call to GO being given but not feeling as though it was something most took seriously. I tried to make suggestions for various outreach activities but they were all ignored or dismissed. There’s an old joke about a church that was seeking a new minister, they were particularly impressed by one man and asked him to return and speak to  their congregation again, he does but he gives the exact same sermon! The elders met together and asked the young preacher “don’t you know any other sermons?” he relied “Sure, and as soon as this congregation start’s practicing THIS one I’ll preach another!”

One Monday morning in October of 2009 I couldn’t get my car started and wasn’t able to figure out exactly what was wrong with it and fix it for 26 days.  During that time I was unable to attend church and when I finally did get my car fixed I just didn’t want to go back. What happened was kind of sad but in another way it was a blessing because it forced me to make a change that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have otherwise made.  The next twist was what I thought was a God ordained partnership with a new friend I had found. Instead it was another necessary nudge that also helped serve the purpose of moving me from being a pew sitter to a well, whatever it is I’ve become…An evangelist, a counselor, or perhaps just a Christian who’s wiling to trust in a God that has brought him through so many things, and in His promises of a plan He has for my life to establish me and not to harm me!

In the beginning of this three part series I used a card game as an illustration to expound upon the ways in which I believe God has shown Himself in my life. Playing cards requires that you pay attention to what’s in your hand and that when you have something to “lay down” it’s best to go ahead and just do it. To me that’s what my blogging has always been about, trying to tell or “lay it down” to others that it’s not about what we may go through in this life, it’s who you go through it with that gives it meaning or value! Every story I’ve told here is about how God showed up in the midst of my circumstances and kept me from hitting bottom. I’d also like to say that what I’ve written here is a very abridged version of many, many ways God interceded on my behalf, far too many for me to even mention!  Nobody in my family has ever been hungry or gone without any thing they really needed. Even during the worst of it, when I lost my home, He made sure I had enough money to rent a truck, that I had help moving, and most important a place to move to! God knows me so well, and He knows what I can take and what I can’t take.

The following verse in Isaiah really sums it all up for me.

Isaiah 54:17

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Our enemy comes only to kill,steal,and destroy! If the trials and troubles that you have in your life can steal your joy or make you doubt Gods great love for you than his weapons have prospered! It’s only through the blood of Christ and the sustaining power of Gods Holy Spirit that we can have victory over life’s most difficult challenges. For what was meant for evil against us, only God can turn into good!

One of the most common questions I’m asked by people regarding what I’m doing in my ministry is “How are you funded?” and the answer is that I’m privately funded by Jesus!

Say What?

That’s right! He’s sustained me through all things and now and has moved me into the position I’m in and even though I only make about 13,000 a year I’ve been able to financially support my ministry! I live a wonderful life It seems like I always have plenty of money for life’s little extra’s, going out to eat occasionally or just buying something I need, it’s absolutely true that you can’t “out give” God!  He’s made a 17yr old car that I got as a gift with over 255,000 miles on it last for two years and just last week I was given another car that’s the exact same model and color except it’s 10yr’s newer and in immaculate condition!

He’s made sure that my daughter always has nice clothes to wear because He knows that there’s no way I would be able to do what I’m doing if I thought she was being made to suffer because of it or if it prevented me from taking care of her. I’m sure that there will be some people who read this and say “Your circumstances were the result of your own bad choices!” Sure I’ve made some bad choices, who hasn’t? But if I had gotten the choices I wanted I would’ve gone back to work driving a truck, remember? or “I think that there are quite a number of other more practical ways to explain everything that you’ve attributed to God“, and in response to that I say, “You’re right! But this is my story and I’m going to tell it how it make’s sense to me, I was there, I lived it, and from my perspective it definitely doesn’t make sense to me any other way so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree as to whether “Gods in it” or not!

Well, I’ve laid all of my cards out on on the table, and slid my entire pile of chips into the pot. And all I want out of the sum of my life’s experience is to be able to say that when it came to my faith, “I wasn’t just shuckin’! To be able to say that my belief in God not only sustained me but moved me into action, and that I chose to step out in faith and answer what I feel is the call on my life which ALL Christian people have. To live, despite the circumstances of my life in such a way that others just have to say…

Gods In It!

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

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It’s About Time!

I can hear it already,

“It’s about time? yeah it is…

You haven’t written a blog for three weeks and this is all you’ve got!

I’m sorry but that’s just weak”!

WOW! Give me a chance! Would it kill ya to have a little faith or to be a little more patient? Maybe YOU should do like I’ve been doing and embark upon a study of the life of Noah…

I feel as though I’ve seen a lot of things change during my short lifetime. We’ve become a “microwave society” who’s tongue in cheek prayer is “Lord give me patience, but hurry!” We’re used to having the “instant gratification” of our desires. We spend our lives watching thirty second commercials on television and then wonder why attention deficit disorder is so common!  We’ve become a people that seek constant reassurance of our being on the “right track”, it’s a herd mentality and the message is “don’t stop and eat the flowers”!  We’re not sure exactly where it is we’re in such a hurry to go but hey, everybody seems to be going there and even if it is wrong  it seemed like the right thing to do at the time…

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

The story of Noah has always been one of the most fascinating in the Bible to me. As I read through one of the more well known parts of it I paused for a moment and reflected.. 

“How did God talk to Noah and tell him to build an ark?”

I know what it says in Genesis 6:13, God spoke to Noah, but at the risk of being allegorical I’m simply wondering…was it in an audible voice, or did God somehow just place the idea in his thoughts? Perhaps it was Noah’s “inspired” conclusion based on his knowledge of Gods character and his observation of the pervasive moral depravity of his time that convinced him that God surely wouldn’t let this go on indefinitely. Building the ark was based on the faith Noah had that God would do exactly what He said!

Maybe God had to speak directly to Noah because Noah didn’t have a bible to read!

I read Gods word quite regularly and I continually try to understand the meaning of it and apply it to my life. Of course I’m a long way from reaching either goal, but so far what I’ve gotten from it is that it tells us to love, to go, do, and be, to the ends of the earth!  Maybe just to the end of your block, or the edge of your town, wherever you find yourself if you’re a child of God you’re there on His time!

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

In 1 Peter it says that Noah preached to the people of his “time” for over one hundred years and yet the only people he took with him into the ark were the eight members of his immediate family! Can you imagine the ridicule he endured from the people who heard his warnings of coming destruction, saw the giant boat he was building on dry land and thought he was a fool? And from the perspective of the world he was a fool, right up to the time when the waters began to flood the earth!

Studying the life and ministry of Noah has really helped me to be more patient with what I feel is my calling. It’s helped me to give everything over to Him, to have a stronger faith and to know that He’s the one in control of the circumstances of my life. To be peaceful and not be anxious when things work out differently than I might of expected or wanted them to.  We all have the same two choices when that happens, we can respond emotionally, and become frustrated or discouraged at the “No” we seem to be experiencing or we can instead keep pressing forward looking for the better “Yes” that God has waiting for us!

Maybe it is about time, more than anything else in this country our most common ailment is “hurried sickness”. There’s not enough time for people to be able to “unpack” emotionally toward each other and really let them know how they feel.  We hardly even understand the need for it but we certainly understand the unavoidable consequences of not doing it! Isn’t it about time that we as the church, the “body of Christ”, reached out with our arms, legs and anointed hands and showed this world Gods heart that’s broken over the gulf of sin that separates them. We’re living in a culture very similar to the times of Noah and I believe that one day soon God will once again shut the door behind those He will deliver from the coming deluge and the time of the Gentiles will come to a close…

It’s about time!

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Who Cares?

Yesterday at the Ministry Center I met a woman who was kind enough to share with me some of her ideas of how to generate more community interest in what we’re doing. She told me that despite all of my efforts to publicize what we’re doing here that word of mouth is still by far the best method, and that the key was to get people in the door with free food/stuff in order to have the opportunity to talk to them for a few moments. I understand that what she’s saying is correct, but at the same time it made me wonder if given the scope of the problem in the community, wouldn’t  a certain percentage of them be motivated to seek out any help available to them in ending their addiction?

I thought about my own circumstances for a moment, I am overweight but I don’t feel as though it’s primarily because what I eat is so wrong,instead I chalk it up mostly to my sedentary lifestyle.  I believe that what I need is someone who’s passion is health and fitness to assist me in engaging in an effective program to slowly guide me back towards a more healthful body weight, perhaps improve my joint flexibility,and improve my overall physical wellbeing. If someone were to open up a “center” where people made themselves available to others  free of charge I would love it! I think that I’d be there at least a couple of times a week and that I’d also have no problem financially supporting such an enterprise by my freely given donations.

The more I thought about it the more similarities I began to see between this scenario and what I’m trying to do. In order to be succesful with physical re-conditioning one of the most important things to be mindful of is that especially at first you’ve got to make it a pleasurable experience for people. If you try to push people or expect to much from them too quickly, or come on too strong you’ll probably end up hurting them, and that’s what makes people want to quit! By enabling them to experience as many of the benifits of working their physique and as little of the pain as possible you stand a lot better chance of being sucessful in the long term with them. Of course there’s going to have to be discomfort involved at some point, but to really be a help to people who are in the process of change we need to do what we can to help manage “the pain” with them. Slow them down when they want to move too fast or when they set their expectations too high, be patient with them during times of slow or no progress,our unconditional support is critical to them when they’re facing obstacles we may not fully understand. And yes, even give them the tough love treatment when it’s called for.

No doubt about it, someday I want to have a ministry like this at the Outreach Center, I’d be the first in line!

Which brings me to my next “revelation”…What is a ministry? I think that  “ministry” is a word we use to describe our response to Gods love for us “back to” God and to others. It’s something we do because it brings us a sense of  fulfillment which only comes from being a part of that flow that happens when we correctly use the gifts God has given us. It’s something we share with others because it’s our passion, it’s the axis or hub that our spinning world is centered on. It provides us with a perspective or a point of reference by which all other things can be prioritized under or compared to.

It’s our answer!

In the end, it’s really not a matter of “who cares”, everybody cares when it’s their own fat that’s in the fire or their pretty baby that’s in trouble; perhaps instead it’s more a question of  “who dares” to have the audacity to believe that love truly is the answer…

I recently discovered this quote which is credited to the renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow,

“When all you have is a hammer,everything begins to look like a nail”

Maybe that’s true, after all Jesus fixed everything with three nails, and a whole lotta love!