Thursday, December 28, 2006


Hey everyone,

Sorry that I've been away from the blogging scene for some time. Not to worry, I hope to be back in full swing now. These holidays you know have been quite hectic, fun, inspiring, and all sorts of other things.

Before i get going, thanks to Ronnie for the comment reminding me that I need to get back at it and write something useful. So, here goes. (Ronnie, just for you, I hope that this doesn't stink!)

Vacation. Is that what these last few days have been? Hmm...Let's play word association for a minute. I say vacation, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Beaches, warm weather, sunny days, mountain scenery, traveling, lazy days of watching video rentals...maybe it could be any of those things. I would pretty much take any of those options right now. My "vacation" has been somewhat different I must say. This is the first year in my life that my Christmas vacation with my parents/extended family lasted less than 2 days. Rennata, Taylor, and I drove to Savannah, Sunday and returned on Monday. It was a whirlwind of eating too much, listening to Christmas Eve cantatas, opening gifts, and eating some more. I returned from my "vacation" with not just one, but two sick women. That's right, both Rennata and Taylor returned home from our whirlwind tour under the weather. Rennata has been at work even though she's not been feeling good, and Taylor and I have been at home.

Tuesday we learned that Taylor has an ear infection in both ears...LOVELY!! So, in summation, let me see if I can sum up my overall vacation experience...I've eaten too much, gained weight, feel guilty, haven't gotten out of my pajamas in three days, am constantly cleaning up after Taylor who by the way, doesn't like to sleep with her ear ache, so I wake up every night at 3a.m., I have a wife who is doesn't feel good, and I wish I was at the beach. Does that pretty much cover it? I think I need a vacation from my vacation don't you think?

Now, if you've read this far, please don't stop here, I do have a point I promise. And this blog post is not quite the gripe session that you might be thinking that it is.

OK back on topic here. My thoughts on my current vacation (or lack of vacation) are similar in many ways to the way that feel about our walk with Christ. The spiritual life, if looked at from the proper perspective can look burdensome and time consuming. Many people look at the spiritual life of Christianity as one of constant drudgery or petty tasks to be completed. For many, there is no joy in the life with Christ, and therefore, many folks choose to want to vacation from the spiritual life. Do you ever want a vacation from church? from Jesus?

Don't those thoughts cross your mind?
"I'm so tired, if I never get to sleep in!! I need my Sunday mornings."
"Sunday mornings are the only time I ever get time to myself"
"I can pray any time...why do I have to set aside time to pray?"
"Read my Bible? I barely have time to read all my school work (or substitute what ever you want to read?"

Hey, I know. The Christian life can be tiresome. But, I think it has much more to do with our attitude about the spiritual life than it does about reality.

Let me give an example: My vacation. If my attitude is negative, bitter, pessimistic, etc. Then my attitude about my vacation looks like the rantings that you see above. However, if my attitude is positive. If my attitude is loving and seeking God's hand in my life, I get to see greater things at work. For instance, yes, my daughter is sick, and because she's sick she is not allowed to go to her daycare for the 10 days that she is on her anti-biotic. That is tough, but it comes at a great time of the year for me. This is the slowest 10 days that I have. My mom is a school teacher and it is her time off, so she's been up here in Macon helping me to take care of Taylor while Rennata's at work!! And next week, it just so happens that Ren's mom has free time and is coming then up here to help me then!! How cool is that?! In the past two days of being at home, I've spent more time with my mom than I have in the past 2 years. We've talked and share more in the past two days than we have in such a long time.

No, the past few days have not been FUN! But they have been a blessing. It just so happens that in the past few days, I've developed a bit of a sore throat myself. However, since I'm already at home relaxing, I'm already doing what needs to be done to take care of myself.

I guess what I'm saying is, even when we find ourselves in some situations that are less than ideal. God has a way of meeting us and blessing us. Our attitudes, however, often influence how we choose to look at God's blessings.

We don't need a vacation from the spiritual life. We don't need a vacation from church to get ourselves rested. We don't need a break from Christianity to get it figured out on our own. What we need is an attitude adjustment.

Matthew 11:28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Need a vacation...need to feel rested and restored...where do you go? Jesus says to come to Him, and He will give you the rest you need. Hmmm

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"there is always hope"

Hello again everyone! I hope that this blog post finds everyone doing well.

Well, the reason that this blog post has the title that is does is because I'm at home now at youth and everything and I'm sitting here in my easy chair watching "The Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers." What a great movie! I don't know if you are a Lord of the Rings fan or not, but these movies are so captivating to watch to me. Well, there is this one scene where Aragorn - he's one of the main characters. (Disclaimer: Before I go any further, if I ever reference a character name or a situation or generally anything about any of these movies and it is not 100% accurate, please deal with it. I do not claim to be a Lord of the Rings guru, nor do I want to be.) As I was saying Aragorn and some others about to begin a really big battle in the second movie at Helms Deep (a castle). The long and short of it is that Aragorn is talking to a young man that is about to be involved in the war. When I say young, I'm talking about 14 or 15 years old. The young man says that the other men (the other soldiers on their side) have given up hope. Then Aragorn gets all serious and he says to the young man "there is always hope."

If you've never seen this movie should. The coolest part of this movie clip is the message behind that quote... "there is always hope." What a great message. HOPE.

I think that many of us live without hope on a daily basis. We all do. We all experience hopelessness at times. Here are some examples...maybe they speak to you:
-maybe you lose hope about in thinking that you can overcome your family situation.
-maybe you lose hope about the fact that you have an addicition to something.
-maybe you lose hope in thinking that someone you care about could actually become a Christian.
-maybe you lose hope in thinking that people care for you
-maybe you've lost hope because someone you care about has passed away
-maybe you've lost hope regarding your education...either you just can't get any momentum going or maybe you can't get into the college you want to get into.

For whatever the reason, hopelessness gets in the way at times. And the truth is, God desires to bring hope into our lives.

Psalm 25
1[a] To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse.
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths;
5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

I would love to offer more commentary on the subject matter of hope. Maybe tomorrow. But right now I can't keep my eyes open. gotta go to get some sleep.



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

second wind

When I was in high school I had a summer job cutting grass for a local company that worked on Skidaway Island at this really nice country club community. My job was basically to drive around all day and cut people's grass and make their yards look nice. I remember having to get there just about everyday at 6:30am. Now, I don't know how many of you reading this really know...but I have never really like waking up at 6:30am. Not then, not now, not for pay, not for pleasure. I will wake up early if I have, but I'm not excited about it. Make a long story short, we would have to get there that early so that we could actually be ready to crank those lawnmowers up at 7:00am. (That's the earliest we were allowed to start cutting grass at someone's house.)

We also started work that early in the morning because by about 10:00am in South Georgia in the middle of July is just HOT!! I distinctly remember everyday me and the guys I worked with would start out working really hard, knocking out job after job from 7:00am 'til about 10:30am or so. Then you would eat lunch. Well, once you ate lunch, there just wasn't a whole lot of excitement. Your belly's full, your sitting comfortably, and the A/C in the restaurant feels real good. After lunch there was always this lull 'til about 2:00pm. During this lull we were lucky to accomplish much of anything. We were spent. We were tired. We were out of gas (physically, not for the lawnmowers).

Then about 2:00pm something would happen. We would catch a second wind. Do you know what a second wind is? It's that moment where you receive this burst of energy that pushes you, it drives you towards your goal. In those days, my second wind regularly came about 2:00pm as I would looking forward to better times (mostly quitting time 3:30pm).

Today, most of my day is spent doing stuff on a computer, or sitting in meetings, or visiting with people, or playing my guitar planning worship services. Nowadays, my work day is not nearly as physical. So, I don't need or experience a second wind everyday around 2:00pm. Most of the time, if I've gotten enough sleep the night before, then I will have plenty of energy to do whatever I need to do.

Even though I don't need a physical second wind anymore, there are still times when I need a fresh wind to blow in my life. There are times when I need an emotional second wind. Maybe I'm depressed because things aren't going my way. Maybe I'm insecure about what people think about me and I begin to believe the lies that are floating around in my head.

Sometimes, I need a spiritual second wind. There are times when spiritually I feel dried up like stale, crusty bread. I feel like I could turn to dust at any minute. You know those feelings, when you feel like you are thousands of miles away from God. You feel like you just can't get it right.

Believe me there are still plenty of times that I need a fresh wind to blow in my life. Do you need a fresh wind? I God could blow a second wind in to your life right now, where would you need it? In your relationships? In the way you get along with your parents? (or if you are an adult reading this, with your children or husband/wife?) In your motivation to stick with your goals? In your desire to grow and be discipled? Maybe you need a second wind to blow just so you can feel like God is even there at all?

Whatever your situation, there is good news. God desires to breath a fresh wind into your life. He's been breathing life into things for quite a while. If you don't know what I'm talking about here are a few scriptures I would recommend checking out.

Genesis 2:7 - God breathes life into man and woman
Ezekiel 37 - God breathes life into an entire nation of bones. (If you don't know this story, this is a must read!!)
John 20:22 - Jesus breathes on his disciples and they receive the Holy Spirit. (talk about a second wind)

I don't know about you, but one of the places I CAN go to regularly receive a second wind is to church. Everytime I go to church expecting a fresh wind to blow, it does. Everytime I go expecting God to meet me and revive me, He does. Everytime. The problem is that most of the time I show up at church with frustrations, distractions, distresses, and problems, and I'm so focused on them that I miss the second wind that's waiting there to carry past all that junk. I wonder what would happen if more people came to church expecting God to move? Would He? I wonder what would happen if we got into the habit of expecting to meet God in worship? Would it spill over into the rest of our lives causing us to invite people to church to come receive what we've received? Hmm...I wonder? If God could meet me and give me a second wind at church, that fresh experience might actually create momentum in my life to change who I am, change my circumstances, and change my outlook on life the other 6 days a week?

I don't know about you, but I'm going to start looking a little more for that second wind


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Hey there everyone!! I hope this blog post finds you doing well. Before I go any further, I recently got some advice from a friend suggesting that I share some info about safe blogging.

Here is a website that can give you some information about safe blogging:

Before I get into the meaning of tonight's blog, let me add just a few tips of my own about blogging:
1. If you have a myspace or facebook or whatever, and you put pics on it. THINK through about the types of pictures that you put on there. Particularly stay away from putting provacative pictures on there.
2. don't put all of your personal info on there. for example don't put what city you live in, or cell phone or home phone numbers, addresses, or even your whole name.
3. If you create an online blog, and make posts...whatever you do, please remember that people can actually read it. That means ANYBODY can read it...your friends, your parents, your teachers, your pastors, anyone. Use good judgement with what you say.

OK, so sponges. The other day we had a small leak in the drain under our kitchen sink. The p trap became disconnected and we had a little mini flood result. One of the casualties in the mini flood was a box of sponges that we had stored under the cabinet. Because there was a bucket under the sink that held the box of sponges, when the bucket filled with water, it caused the box to get soaked and then all of these brand new sponges spent quite a good bit of timein the nasty stinking water.

Did you know that sponges can sour? These sponges absorbed all they could. Because we didn't pay attention to the sponges when we discovered the flood, these sponges were never squeezed to empty the water from them. Instead they stayed very wet. Well, today we found the wet sponges...and man did they stink!! They stunk really bad. I think that part of the reason that they stunk was because the sponges soaked up both the water and all the nastiness in that water. Also, the water, once soaked up didn't go just remained in the sponge. Water came in, but none went out.

The concept of the sponge, reminds me of a lesson I learned tonight in this class I was taking. I'm in a class about how to manage money, and the guy teaching the lesson was discussing the giving attitude that people should have. He basically said that most people are very selfish and don't like to give of themselves or their money. He compared most people to ponds. You know ponds...little bodies of water out in the cow pasture or whatever. The pond...somehow water gets in, but it doesn't get out. He pointed out that because no water leaves a pond, eventually the water spoils (kind of like my sponges) and becomes covered with scum. His point being that selfish people horde the goodness of God's blessings in their life and don't share them with others and so eventually become scum. My point, people that are like sponges, or ponds, can eventually become scum.

We all have relationships in life with people that remind us of sponges. The people that take and take and take from us, but never give back. We all have relationships with people where we know that the only thing they care about is themselves, and if you disagree with them, you will probably end up a casualty of that relationship.

But what if we are the sponge? Is it actually possible that there are times when we are the sponge? If we are sponge-like would we even recognize ourselves as being that way? I constantly have to remind myself that I have the potential to become sponge-like. I'm sure that I am not the only one that treats my relationship with God from a very sponge-like perspective. There are plenty of times where I act like God exists to give me stuff or to fix my problems, and all my prayers are focused on me, me, me (how insane is that!!) There are even times when I treat the church like that. I act like the programs at the church, or the worship services, or even the other staff and people at the church are there to serve me and make sure that I'm comfortable. When I behave like that, I become very sponge-like. I really do pray that God can help to teach me to think about Jesus and others first. I really pray that God will give me a great attitude to be giving so that the good stuff that he puts in me doesn't spoil. I really don't want to be equated with scum.

John 3:30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

I hope that some of the things I struggle with will help some of you as you pursue a deeper relationship with Christ.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Success is such is funny thing. I think that most us have spent or will spend a whole lot of time and effort striving for success in many, many different areas of life. I however, got a taste of true success this weekend...even if for a brief moment.

So what is true success? Money? power? enlightenment? influence? acceptance? I think that we all bring different opinions as to what we think success is. Maybe we focus on success being that thing that we desire most. For instance, maybe the people that consider money to be the benchmark of success feel that way because they believe they are underpaid or because they compare what they make financially to everyone around them? Maybe, the people that see success as being about power feel that way because they feel powerless in their own lives. Powerless to their parents rules, powerless to their friends pressures, powerless to the demands of work or school influences, or powerless to addictions.

here are some insights as to successful living from the scriptures. This is really pretty good. You should check this proverb out more in depth.

Proverbs 1: 1-7
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

As for me, I found success this weekend in my time with my daughter. This weekend my wife left for an overnight retreat with some of the senior high girls from our church. This was my wife's first night away from our 4 month old daughter. It was very tough for her to leave our little girl. But off she went, leaving yours truly alone with our little one. I don't know who was more nervous, me or my wife. I'm pretty sure it was me. I think my wife's nerves must have simply revolved around the fact that every female that knows my family was asking my wife, "is Jeremy going to be alright with her? Do we need to call in some reinforcements just in case?" In the defense of those naysayers...those comments were probably deserved. When it comes to handling little kids, I don't exactly have stellar resume' of babysitting or hanging out in nurseries. I'm usually the guy that says, "here you change her diaper" or "can you please make your kid stop crying in my ear."

This weekend however was different. It was AWESOME!! My little girl was in a great mood. She made meal time and bath time and nap time and bed time a pure joy for me. She laughed and cooed and hugged and slept in my arms for two straight days. It was incredible. Since it was my first time with her solo overnight, it was great to have the opportunity to learn some of her nuances and quirks. It was great to have the opportunity to learn what the different cries mean.

The fact that I was able to keep my child healthy, nourished, clean, safe, and LOVED. That's success...real success.