Living Like Jesus

Donna and I have been trying to live out the Gospel in our lives. We’ve really been trying to live like a real Christian should live. As we have gone through the book by Francis Chan, Crazy Love, We have learned so much together and we’re not even finished with the book. It has been so eye-opening in so many ways. I wasn’t sure what living like Jesus would look like in the small rural town in North Dakota that we live. I say small, it’s small compared to some areas. Like if you’re from New York city, we’re small. we live in the oil boom town of Dickinson, North Dakota. Though we love the town we haven’t lived here long and don’t have many connections that would generally be found when one is looking for service opportunities for Christ. However, we’ve joined a local church and are working to become members so that we can serve as Christ wants all to.

You see, I generally am a normal average American Christian. Which is a joke. It is a joke because American Christianity is so self-serving. It’s all become about comfort and if you have a lot of stuff it’s God’s blessing. I think I’m sick of that.

I am so analytical by nature. I have to think everything out and everything has to have a plan and a backup plan and a plan C. I think so much that sometimes I don’t see gods blessings. I think naturally that I am the one that thought it through and made it happen. Which is goofy because most of my life every plan that I’ve made changes so dramatically that there’s no way I could’ve planned it anyway.

Donna and I have both been struggling for a while just longing and overflowing and wanting to find a place to serve. We have been longing to serve our God. And so what I really want to do is very quickly explain what has gone on in the past week. So God had me on standby to loan some money to a friend. And at the same time paperwork was being sent to my human resources department at work so that my wages could be garnished. You see I have a one-year-old son that has one eye . And that was an expensive situation. So the day after I talked with my friend about potentially loaning a little bit of money to them I found out from my work that my wages were going to be garnished. This naturally made me nervous because I am a human being. But there was a part of me that for the first time in any crisis situation I was excited. Excited because I knew God was going to do something awesome. When I got home from work that evening I found out that another friend of ours was in dire need. She had been struggling with some family issues that are very tough. And so naturally because we’re trying to live like Christ, we didn’t think,we didn’t plan, we just invited her to stay with us for a while. I know now you’re looking for an awesome ending where we gave some money we didn’t have we brought another person into our home and Jesus saved 1000 people that day. But that’s not what’s going on. Sometimes the coolest part about living in a Christlike way is that you get to watch God work in other lives so that you are not needed. Our friend ended up not needing any money because God magically made some appear. As with our other friend, probably not going to take us up on staying with us for a while but God is still working in that situation. It’s not a spectacular story, but it’s a start. Donna and I plan on pursuing every opportunity to serve our neighbor and to serve our brothers and sisters during times of need. And I cannot wait to see and experience what God is going to do with both of our lives as we continue to serve him with enthusiasm. Please pray with us through this time as we are stepping out into that world of faith that we have never had to before. And I will definitely update as much as possible.

Dad: Relationship Isn’t Automatic

“Hey Dallas, do you wanna help daddy move his big truck?” “YES!!”, the three year old replied. “Alright then, let’s go buddy. C’mon.” Dallas ran to me and leaped up into the 6″ lifted F-150, with a boost from dad of course. And what began as me needing to move my truck for the sake of convenience, ended with making my son’s day. He not only got to come with daddy to move the truck, but he sat on my lap, both hands tight on the steering wheel, following my every move. We went around a couple of blocks within the suburb where we live in north Bismarck, North Dakota. We arrived shortly back in front of our home and came to a halt on the street (where I intended to park in the first place), and that was that.

That was all it took for my son to feel like a milion bucks. So important. That his daddy loved him and that he was special to me. Beginning this relationship when he is young will allow me to have more of his ears when he is older because we will be close. We may not have the same hobbies and he may turn out to be WAY different than I am, but I’ll be his dad. I won’t only be the guy that provides and complains when he breaks things. I won’t be that person that goes to work and then comes home and becomes a vegitable in front of a big screen TV. I’ll be daddy.

When you deal with kids, even ones that aren’t yours, you soon realize how fragile and yet how simple the impressionism is from you to your child. This is how easy it is…are you ready?

All your little one wants is to feel like he/she is important to you. They just want to be a priority. They want to know that they can trust you; then that they can rely on you; then that they are sombody to you.

In the same way that Christ loves us and chases after us and wants to spend time with us. In that same fashion we are to show our sons and daughters that we care and that they are a priority in our lives.

Men, as you go throughout your day today, be selfless with your time. When you are at home, love your kids. Spend time with them. Make an intentional effort to be with them and make them happy.

I look forward to many more drives around the block with Dallas, and Wyatt when he gets a bit older. And someday, just maybe, they will make Jesus a priority in the same way that I have made them one.

Be a daddy, not a veggie.

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Get Ready!

13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,1 and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Our outlook, most generally determines our outcome. Your focus is what determines what you do. Your attitude determines your actions. This verse would also read well without changing any context like this:

Therefore, by setting your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, you are being sober-minded and you are preparing your mind for action or work.

I will confess that back when I knew it all, I had read over this verse many times and thought that it simply said to prepare my mind for action. Not until recently in my studies did I realize that it was telling us HOW to ready our minds for action. And that’s really a big difference. To have our hope set FULLY; all the way; as set as it can get on Christ and the grace gift that we are in the process of receiving…well that allows us to have a mind that can be used for God.

Peter mentions two (of many) things that having a focused hope will allow for us:

1. A disciplined mind. Preparing your minds for action here is a call to have a discipline in our thinking. The presentation here in this phrase is of a robed man tucking his skirts (different time…lol) into his belt so he would be free to run. When our thoughts are centered on the return of Jesus and show it with your life, then we escape the many worldly things that would get us off track normally. It allows us to grow.

2. A sober mind. This is different than a disciplined mind. This is a picture of being steady, calm, and under control. We can all attest to what it looks (or feels) like when you’re not sober, in body. What happens? You lose focus on important things; you aren’t balanced; you don’t have tact in your life; and typically, at some point, you fall. Now, think of that, but with your mind. That’s what we’re looking at here. Being sober-minded allows you to keep focus and to keep your life balanced. It gives you tact in difficult situations.

All the discipline in the world without having a sober mind is worthless. It would look like a Chihuahua minded football player preparing for a big game and then running out on the field. It’s a hyperactive Christian who is COMPLETELY sold out to Jesus and yet never accomplishes anything but annoyance. Adding the “sober” part in there really makes a BIG difference.

The point, however is that NONE of this can be accomplished unless our focus and hope is on our Jesus.

So. Today I pray that our focus would be on the grace that we received so freely that wasn’t deserved; that our hope would be in Christ. SO THAT, we can have disciplined and sober minds and be of good service to His kingdom, of which we are apart.

Have a God day.

Love is Blind

8 uThough you have not seen him, you love him. vThough you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,

Our love for Jesus isn’t based on anything that we can physically see, because, of course, we haven’t seen Him. It is based on our spiritual relationship with Him and what we have learned through the study of Scripture about Jesus. In Romans it says that the Spirit has poured out God’s love into our hearts, and we, Christians, return that love to Him. We actually experience Christ Jesus in our lives. The Spirit, that lives inside of us shows us that love, and if we allow it, makes it an intricate part of our daily lives. The love that we have and demonstrate for Christ (because you don’t truly love without demonstration of that love) is what allows us to heal and hang on through trials instead of being hurt and either not realizing that you’re hurt or knowing it and not caring to get to a hospital. This love that God has for us CAUSES us to surrender FULLY to Him and to obey the Word; to make it the ONE guide for our lives as we live them. We love Him simply because He first loved us”

This begs the question though; Do you love Him? Does your life show that you love Jesus? If the actions throughout your daily life do not show that you love Him then you don’t. At least not enough. Do you understand why it is that we are so in love with Jesus and why we “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible”?

We are fallen. We are horrible people. We kill one another. We cheat on everything from our OWED taxes to our wives. OUR WIVES! We are regularly double-minded and two-faced in our actions toward one another. We pretend to be Godly and go to church, so people don’t question the massive amounts of sin and yuck that is built up in our lives. We SEEK out ways to sin and get by with it in our minds. We deceive our families and friends into thinking that we’re great. We somehow justify in our minds that we are great, “follow me”. We tell Jesus on Sunday that we love Him and then spend six days wallowing in filth and sin and dirty jokes and lust and love of money and anger and neglect.

And Jesus came down knowing this and all other sins that you and I would commit. He came down to this world. Jesus knew that our punishment for being so bad and ridiculous was indeed DEATH. He knew that we would spend all eternity in Hell (which is NOT a high school party by the way). He knew that we would turn our back on Him many times. He knew that we would cheat, lie, steal, kill, and seek sin. HE KNEW ALL OF THIS AND CHOSE TO TAKE YOUR PLACE IN DEATH! He chose the most horrific death ever devised by mankind, SO THAT you and I could be with Him and learn to love, believe, and rejoice with and in Him.

As you go through the rest of your week, think about this. Ask yourself, “Are my actions showing my love for Jesus?” Do you really love Him? Do you love Him? Do you love Jesus?

Answer as Peter did earlier in His life. “Lord, you know I love you”. “Then feed my sheep, Peter.”

Love Jesus with your actions this week.

Extravagance

Your Love Is Extravagant

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel like moving to the rhythm of Your grace 
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend

Capture my heart again
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate

Who Are You!

Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word.

As I thought about words to write regarding this bit of scripture, nothing came to mind that would render the reader as deep in thought as I was this morning when it was read to me. This, while most likely due to my extreme lack of writing ability, is also, I believe, a section of scripture that speaks for its self. Ponder this today as you grow with God.

My MarsPad

So I recently came across an IPad and was able to trade it even for my highly regarded Kindle Fire which I acquired for free some time ago without even having to use a gun. Having always been straight forward about my love for Kindle and the disdain for its rivals, the iPad was no different.

A good analogy of what has happened to me over the past few days is that of a guy who goes out and has fun all of the time. He has a pretty good life and as far as he’s concerned it couldn’t get any better. Then one fateful day he discovers through a coworker that there is this guy named Jesus who opens his eyes and enhances his life in ways that he didn’t even know existed.

Since I’ve been in possession of “the pad” I’ve become an obsessive freak. Then…to top it off I discovered during one of my millions of app browsing extravaganzas that they have A MARS HILL APP!!!

Long story short…
I’m still on it…right now.

Jesus, thank you for opening my eyes to how rockin sweet the iPad is.

If you just happen to run across $500 or $600 lying around any time soon…spend all of it on an iPad…the rent will take care of itself.