Monday, November 17, 2008

Found Objects: Army Men


These men were located protecting an important beach front (in one of our beach combing excursions) in Rockport. I was inspired by them having been beaten by the sea and sand yet still standing strong together.

Anyway, these little found army men reminded me of many things. I even remembered bringing these thoughts together when I talked about how I gave swords to our groomsmen for our wedding. They remind me that the Christian life is often compared to a war. All throughout the Old and New Testament the analagy of war is used. Whether it be between internal desires, natural powers, spiritual powers, and even principalities and powers. Paul states this idea eloquently in Ephesians 6:12 (HCSB), "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens."

But we don't walk around fighting people. I don't punch people in the face just because they aren't Christians. So in many aspects this training metaphore has to be individually appropriated. It needs to be understood that the idea may not lead us into a physical battle. The ways we wage war against our own 'flesh' will constantly be reforming the longer we know Jesus. Our methods and tactics will develop. We mature in our understanding of the Christian life. I appreciate the verse in Colossians 1:9-11 (HCSB) which states "(that you) may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing [to Him], bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy."

Found Objects: Guitar Pick


I love playing guitar. But I am convinced that my love of learning has carried me farther in my guitar 'career' than my musical ability. My love for learning far exceeds both my musical talents and rhythm. In fact, I would say I am lacking musical intuitions.


Shortly after I became a Christian I decided to begin playing guitar. My intention was to lead music for our Campus Crusade group, Revival. Though I can't be certain, somewhere deep within me there was probably a desire to be a rock star. It all began back in the day...I was one of two or three third graders learning the upright bass. But it soon became too much trouble to continue. I do wish I had kept at it.

So when we were beach combing a few weeks back and I came across this broken, multicolored guitar pick, my mind was flooded with fond musical thoughts. Though I haven't played in a long time, when I do, I enjoy myself. I usually find my finger calluses too thin, my voice too weak (and pitchy), and my rhythms tend to drift back to the same mellow 'worship tempo.'

Nonetheless, I still love playing guitar. Whether it be an individual or corporate vehicle for personal praise or just an exciting hobby, I still love it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Series of Found Objects: Copy Paper

I don't post enough. I have come to terms with it. I have grand plans to post quite often but them when I begin to flesh the ideas out in my mind I see those thoughts as relatively narrow or irrelevant. But recently I came across something that made me want to post again!

Heather and I were taking a walk around Staples moments before closing a few weeks back. We were asking for information about printers (shopping for technology is something that I truly enjoy). During our searches, I lifted up a scanner cover and found a paper with a copy of someones glasses on it (as pictured above).

When I was a young lad, I was notorious for making copies of my hands, face and anything else near the copier. I was so completely enthralled with the concept of a copy machine, I just couldn't get enough. [This could be the birth of my love of all things science related-but I'll leave that for further reflection.] It brought back some fond memories of playing around with copy machines and showing the masterpieces I had created to my mom. I was so proud of my work, I just had to show it off!

Finding this page brought a smile to my face and made me laugh. I could just picture some little one (or an older one) playing around in the store and having fun with the copiers.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

My Book of the Month: May

According to a recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services, "Fathers play a unique role in fostering the well-being of their children, not only through providership, protection and guidance, but also through the way that they nurture the next generation." But there is a huge catch. "A father's involvement with his children...is powerfully contingent on the mother's attitude" toward him. Research consistently shows that the father-child relationship depends more on the quality of the parents' relationship than does the mother-child relationship.

This same report from the Department of Health and Human Services states: "Girls with active dads demonstrate higher levels of mathematical competence, and boys with more nurturing fathers display higher levels of verbal acumen. It is worth noting, of course, that girls tend to struggle more with math and boys tend to struggle more with language. Having an active, emotionally invested father appears to help children overcome the intellectual weaknesses typically associated with their sex."

Fathers are more likely to foster independent, exploratory behavior on the part of their children, compared to mothers....children raised by engaged fathers are more comfortable exploring the world around them....
A playful, challenging, and nurturing approach to fatherhood is associated with more self-control and pro-social behavior among children throughout the course of their lives....One study of seventh graders found that boys who had close relationships with their fathers were more likely to control their feelings and impulses, to obey rules at school and home, and to make good moral judgments....This same study found that boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems and that girls had more self-esteem....
Boys and girls who are exposed to the nurture of a father, and who see a father being nurturing to their mother and other adults, are much less likely to associate masculinity with predatory sexual behavior and hyper-aggressivenes....Fathers help their children, especially their daughters, develop the self-control and the sense of self-worth that protects them from premature sexual intercourse and teenage pregnancy.

Paul Coughlin, No More Christian Nice Guy

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Swords

For the groomsmen at our wedding I gave them swords. I removed the pommel of each sword and had it engraved with their initials. I had to hand polish the brass on the swords to remove tarnish. It was quite laborious. But the endeavor was a labor of love as I found time to appreciate every guy in our bridal party.

"Why a sword?" you may ask. Well, swords represent many things to me. If you have ever read Wild at Heart you may already understand much of what I have to say.

Swords remind me of nobility.

A cause on behalf of a King. Remembering I am a son of the Most High King.

Swords remind me of battle.
A team of men fighting with common vision and direction for a common purpose.

Swords remind me of a princess.

A beauty to fight for.

"The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name." Exodus 15:3 (HCSB)

"Who is this King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle."

Psalm 24:8 (HCSB)

As I have sought to clarify the battles in my life, I have found new strength to act as the person God created me to be. My ability to sense what God is doing in me has grown. I have sensed a new type of communication between my heart and the Divine is evolving.

Something in my heart is calls out for battle. A fight. Victory.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Addition to Addictions Post

Destination Sickness

Another problem with the quest to use all our gifts and fulfill all our promise, no matter what, is that it sets us up for the heartache known as Destination Sickness. There's nothing worse than arriving where you wanted to go, only to realize you don't want to be there. We've all experienced it at some level-having left something good for what we thought was much better; only to find the greener grass was painted concrete. But perhaps the saddest part of the journey to bogus greener grass is that it almost always leaves behind broken relationships. Co-workers, family members, friends, and those who depend on us are devastated to discover that our deepest loyalty is not to them, but to ourselves and our potential.
Larry Osborne, A Contrarian's Guide To Knowing God

This quote gave me much to think about. It is a very interesting was to augment my thoughts from a previous post. I have been surprised at how selfish I am. I think destination sickness is very much related to that God-Shaped vaccuum.

Friday, February 29, 2008

http://www.puritansermons.com/

"A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant."
Stephen Charnock

This quote knocks on a door in my heart and I don't yet know what is behind that door.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thoughts of Addictions and Behavior

I think everyone has addictions. At least a friend from work says everyone has them. The more I thought of it the more I agreed.

Cigarettes, Coffee, Eating, Not eating, Attention, Control, Internet, Nail biting

I think they are caused by gaps in our hearts.
Blaise Pascal said "There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart."

I think addictions nest in that concept. Addictive things. Obsessive things.
Everyone has needs that tend to manifest in different ways. Depending on who that person is includes infinite factors: personality, temperament, grooming, environment, childhood and current situations, stress, feelings for the day, emotional maturity, etc...
Somehow 'connection' with God fills us so addictions have no hold.
It takes time for things to be dislodged. It takes time for God to remove things. God is the Counselor He says He is.

So everyone of us needs counselling?

For those with a more logical mind...
A) If everyone of us needs God.
B) God is the counselor
Therefore
C) Everyone of us needs the Counselor
Q.E.D.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thoughts of the Day

I read Our Daily Bread yesterday at work. It was about a man who reflected upon his life and he could see there was a time in his life when his walk with God could have been best described as 'side to side rather than face to face.'

Mose's relationship to God was often described as 'face to face.' I have even the translation better stated 'eye to eye.'

Heather and I have been reading the Experiencing God Day-By-Day Devotional [H & R Blackaby] we picked up free. [Thank you Scott and Erica.]

This devotional repeated the same message. Except it added the importance of loving one another. This has always been a challenge for me.
But it stated, more like reitterated what John often says in his Gospels and Epistles...Loving God also means loving one another.
Somehow loving people is an evidence we: love God and have matured in our faith.

How long had I avoided intimacy with people? In my CCSU days deeper relationships often resulted in hurting those I liked the most. The deeper the friendship was the more caustic I could have been with that person. The more judgemental, the more negative expectations, the more hurt I delivered.

Now that I'm married I often find I can be most critical of my wife.

But I press on hoping my fruit of loving God will be endurance to love people.