Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Hope of Following God - The Light

**you can read the first two posts in this series # 1 and# 2.**

So where were we....hmm...let me check. Oh yes, the burden of following God and how in the book of Ephesians Paul tells us that we "were darkness"  There's nothing quite as exciting as someone telling you that you have lived your life as darkness. That's pretty depressing.

But luckily this verse has two parts and the Hope of the following God shows up in the second part of that verse. Here's the verse as a whole:

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

You see the 'emo' first part about darkness. But then Paul contrasts that with the line "but now you are light in the Lord. "

What a transition! At first we are darkness. No matter where you go, darkness is always seen as bad. Horror movies are usually set at night. Little kids (and a lot of adults who don't admit it) are afraid of it.

But Paul says that NOW we are "light in the Lord" We are light. Light is always seen as good. Light takes away the scariness of darkness. Light is good.  We've gone from darkness to light. 

Why does this give us hope when we are burdened by following God?  I'll tell you.

1. It reminds us that we have been saved - whenever I see someone who doesn't know God, I'm burdened for them. When there is a whole lot of people who don't know God, it seems overwhelming. This verse is a constant source of hope because it reminds me that even I was darkness but thanks to God, I am now Light in Him. So often, Christians forget over time that we are a saved people. We forget that we were destined for a life of darkness but God saved us.  When we forget that we tend to stop caring about others who don't know God. Even worse, we begin to judge them. They are somehow worse than us. That's not the case. It's a good reminder of where we came from and how God has brought  BOUGHT us out of that. 

2. If God can save me, He can save them -  Because we are reminded how God has saved us, we can have a renewed hope about what God can do with the people around us. It's like when I watch "The Biggest Loser". They have these stories about people on the show and how they have to overcome these huge personal obstacles in order to lose their weight. But they work hard and lose hundreds of pounds. I watch that and think. Well crap, that guy just worked like crazy to lose 200 pounds, I can put the work in to lose 20. "  Ok so that's not the best analogy but the point is that when we.

3. We are light! -  my love language is Words of Affirmation. That means that the best way that I feel love is when people affirm me through the things that they say to me. So when Paul says that "we are light" I get a little happy inside. I find myself longing for the day that I get to stand before God and hear the phrase "well done my good and faithful servant" Can you imagine the King of all Kings giving you a good job? How amazing is that? Because we follow God we are saved, we are on the right side, and in the end we have a God who is please with us. 

That is the hope of following God.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Burden of Following God - The Lost

*Before you jump into this post like I know you will, you might want to take a look at the introduction here. This post is part of a series and should be read in order...*

It all started on a long drive. Somehow my deep thoughts always do.  I had been with a large group of people for a few hours one Saturday, (which for an introvert was exhausting enough) but as I settled into my drive I started to think back over the previous few hours.  When I thought about the time, I became sad. Really sad.

I had sat and observed everyone around me during that time and the realization hit me.

"These people don't know God.  I'm not ever sure they want to know God. Some of them proclaim to know God and follow Him, yet what I saw today makes me wonder.."

First off, I never ever want to pass judgement on who knows God and who doesn't. Only God can truly do that. However I can look at someone's life and make an educated guess. And when I look at the world around me I see a lot of people who don't know God...and that kills me.

It kills me that there are people out there who don't have the peace that I do. It kills me that they don't know TRUE hope. It kills me that instead they put their hope in things that ultimately will either leave them empty or lead them to more pain.

One of my favorite songs is by a band called Project 86. It's called "One Armed Man". The song is essentially about this point. There are people who seek to find happiness and fulfillment and end up searching forever because they never find what they are looking for. One line goes like this:

"zombies staring, looking my way, crying out for something they can fill their stomachs with enough to satisfy the hunger growing.....they need something REAL." (look it's very loud.)

It hasn't always been this way. In fact, I would hear people talk about how they were overwhelmed because they knew people who were looking to Alcohol, relationships, drugs, work, and other stuff to fill the void in their lives. I would hear people saying that and I would wonder what was wrong with me. I didn't really notice. I even prayed about it. "God help me see people who need to know you.

God likes prayers like that.  And boy did He respond.

So that brings me to my drive home. I had just been with a group of people who were seeking to find fulfillment in every single place that won't give it to them. I've seen it in so many teenagers over the years. Constantly searching for love and acceptance that they'd so anything to get it. I've seen it with adults who work non-stop just to feel like they've made a difference.   It may sound harsh to compare these people to zombies. But when you watch someone who is looking for comfort consistently turn to something that hurts them, it's like watching a zombie.  And besides that, I was once a zombie. We all live that life at some point.

In the Bible, the book of Ephesians says this:  "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord."  Notice that it doesn't say we were "IN darkness" it says we "WERE darkness"

We were darkness.

I'm a zombie, you're a zombie, we're all zombies..hey...hey. ( i can sense a pop song here).

As I drove down the interstate I sat and thought about each person I had seen. I thought about how they were trying to find fulfillment, and I thought of how it would probably leave them empty. It was sad and overwhelming. As I drove, I felt burdened for those people. That's where I realized that following God can lead to being burdened.

But that's not the end. Fortunately, that verse from Ephesians has a second half. And that half leads us to the Hope of Following God. But that's another post altogether.

until next time,

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Burden of Following God - the explanation

The problem about writing for me is that I never know what I'm going to write next. I decided that for a season that I wouldn't have a real plan for this blog. I would simply write when I felt the need to write. I wasn't trying to grow my blog or increase my readers (you 7 readers are the best readers anyways).  I simply wanted an outlet for whatever God has put on my heart.

The problem comes when what God is putting on my heart is tough to say and tough to hear.

I've been sitting on this one for a while. It's been percolating up in my brain which can be dangerous. It's grown from a single thought to a multi-part series that is still growing. But it's tough to write something as you are still trying to figure out. So the next few posts are going to be part of my processing.

I'm calling this series. The Burden of Following God

Just the title is hard for me to write. I guess it's because for 10 years I've tried to tell people of all of the great things about following God. It seems weird to start a post talking about the burdens of following God. I mean why would you want to talk about the negative aspects of a potential decision?

"Hello sir. You should buy this car! It's got an amazing interior. It has awesome engine in it! And it gets 3 miles to the gallon which will cause you quickly to abandon your child's college fund and you'll have to mortgage your house in order to afford the gas for it!"

So that's a crappy analogy but you get the idea. It's weird to start off by talking about the burdens of something. So why do it?

1. I Hate Sugar Coating-  Unless it's on top of an otherwise bland bowl of cereal, I hate sugar coating. But in the church, we've done this for far too long. We've made it sound like following God is a walk in the park. Like all of a sudden when you follow God, everyone sings everywhere they go and there are always flowers and puppies. (this going on the assumption that flowers and puppies make people happy). The truth is that life is still hard after following God...and sometimes it's hard as a result of it. (sometimes the flowers give you allergies and the puppies pee on your new shoes). I feel like it's time to be honest with people. Following God is hard.

2. Jesus did it-  The thing I love about Jesus is that he doesn't do #1. As we'll cover throughout this series, Jesus is pretty blunt about the realities of following Him.  He was clear that there would be struggles to come. I figure if Jesus did it....I can do it too.

As I began to think through this series, I realized something though. That with every burden that I discovered, there was a glimpse of hope that accompanied it.  That's the beauty of God.  When there's something hard, God provides something to give hope. We'll cover that side of things as well.

So that's the explanation. My request of you is to open your mind and heart as I venture down this road for a little bit. If you read the burden, take a minute to read the hope that comes with it.

I think that's it for now. Talk to you soon. 


Friday, May 6, 2011

WholeSale Craziness

My wife doesn't let me go grocery shopping. I mean that when I say it. Apparently I get lost in grocery stores. What takes 15 minutes usually takes me 2  hours. I come home with stuff that wasn't on the list. It's sad really.

Which is why I was surprised when my wife asked me to go to a local wholesale club to pick up a few things. You know wholesale clubs, like Sam's or Costco. Mollie had 3 coupons that were going to expire so she sent me with them to go shopping. What followed was an hour long trek through one of the weirdest stores ever.

I've been to wholesale clubs before. But I think that this was the first time I've ever been to one where my main goal was not to hit every sample food table multiple time. (seriously, this is a lost art). So I got a chance to look around at my surroundings. I was overwhelmed! Here are a few of my thoughts about wholesale clubs as a whole....

1. Where is the peanut butter?- Seriously. Your store is roughly the size of 8 football fields and there aren't any signs point to anything. Where do you keep the peanut butter? I walked the perimeter of the store twice and still couldn't find it. I could have asked but I was convinced it was in some super easy location and I didn't want to look like an instead I walked around for 20 minutes with an empty cart and a look on my face that said, "I'm a man and therefore I'm lost."  I did find the peanut butter though. It was way in the back next to the Gatorade.  I guess that makes sense.  Then I realized I was buying 88 ounces of it. Who needs that much peanut butter? I feel like George Washington Carver used less than that in his entire career. But it's ok. I had a coupon after all.

2. Disturbing Products - On the quest to find the PB, I passed an item that greatly disturbed me. It was the generic brand of mayonnaise. Now I think that mayo, is from the devil anyway so what I saw on this label disturbed me even greater. "Real Mayonnaise" REAL MAYONNAISE?? Isn't all mayonnaise real? I mean what exactly is Fake Mayonnaise? Would anyone buy it? I mean what is the slogan for fake mayonnaise? "The best imitation crap on a spoon you can buy!" Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up. ugh. Luckily I still had my coupons to keep me motivated in my shopping

3. Would you like a surfboard with that? - on my PB quest there was one point in which I stopped to look around. Within 15 feet of me  were the following items:  Shrimp Cocktail, Hamburger Patties, Pizza, a shed, a surfboard, a ocean kayak, a gas grill, and a swing. I felt like I had died and gone to A.D.D heaven.  I mean you have to be A.D.D to shop in that order. "Hey honey can you pick up some hamburger patties...oh and while you are there, grab an ocean kayak if they have them. Just seeing all of those items in one place made me want to take a nap...which I could do on the mattress that someone was carting out the door. Still I plugged on for the rest of the items on my coupons. After all that's what I was there for.

4. Underwear- I'm sorry if you do this but do we really need to buy underwear from a wholesale club? I mean how bad off are you if you need 42 pairs of tightie whities. I understand if say a wolverine gets loose in your closet but seriously, how often does that happen? Like once every couple of years? Plus how do you know if you are getting quality undergarments?  That's just odd. Do they have coupons for underwear? I didn't, so I kept moving coupons in tow.

5. Register Extras -  So I track down all of my items on my coupons and head up to the register. I was lucky because I just had one guy in front of me and he was part of the way through his order. The cashier looked up at him and asked, "Sir, would you like to donate some money to the Children's Miracle Network?" I'm not sure why they ask. I've never seen someone actually say yes. In fact when I worked at a grocery store I got tired of asking because the answer was always no. So as I stood there and waited it caught me off guard when the man said "yes".  What?  He said yes. The cashier had an look of overwhelming joy. "THANK YOU SIR! THANK YOU!" I can't believe it. 

It might have been selfish of me but all I could think of was..."oh great, now if I say no I'm going to look like a jerk." I started to think through how I was going to tell this now radiant cashier that I wasn't going to be giving him any extra money.  Do I look sad that I'm not? Do I just shake my head no?  That stupid guy in front of me. I can't believe the position he has put me in. Now I look like I'm a children hater because he gives money and I don't. I can't stand him. Such a jerk.

While I'm getting rung up, the cashier asks me and I softly say no. I didn't look up but I'm pretty sure that he was giving me the glare of shame. I paid for my stuff and left. As I left I sat in my car and steamed (felt bad) for the kids. None of it would have happened if it weren't for captain generosity in front of me. That guy was terrible...I looked for a chance to pull out and head to the exit. There were tons of cars leaving. They all passed until one car stopped to let me out.  It was the guy who was in front of me in line......jerk. 

I started to drive home. At one of the stoplights on the way to my house I glanced down. Sitting right in my shirt pocket were three coupons....never used. My wife was going to kill me.

Portions of this tale are true, and portions are fiction. See if you can guess which is which.....comment your thoughts below. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Lost My Mojo.

I should probably start this post with a disclaimer. The word "mojo" has several meanings. It references witchcraft, voodoo, and drug use.  It is most commonly used to refer to sexual prowess thanks to Austin Powers. Since it would be incredibly awkward for all of you to read a post about that,  I'm going to use it to mean confidence for this post. Now that I think about it I could have just said that I lost my confidence...but that doesn't sound as good. 

Boy this post isn't starting out well. That won't help get my mojo back. Let's keep going.

The truth is that the past two months have been a little rough for me. I've had a number of things happen that have really shaken my confidence for whatever reason. They've shaken my confidence in my job, in my writing, and in life in general. And to be completely honest, it sucks.

It sucks to write something and think..."this isn't really that good" (i'm doing that right now)
It sucks to plan something and think..."i bet no one will like this"
It sucks to have to make a decision and think..."I bet someone will complain about this."

I don't write all of this to complain,or to look for sympathy. I write it for a couple of reasons. First, to be honest and clear about the life of pastors. I think in America people, expect pastors to be super humans who never struggle and can do every aspect of ministry perfectly. My hope is to be honest and human about being a pastor. But that's only a small part of why I write this.

The main reason is that I'm writing in an attempt to identify with you and offer a bit of hope. The thing about losing your mojo is that at some point it happens to everyone. Depending on where you are in life you might be experiencing it right now. Everyone goes through it. That's the good news.

I'm reminded of Moses at times like these.  Moses had the good life. He was raised in the house of Pharaoh. It would be adequate to say he was the son of a king. Given how Pharaohs were seen in Egyptian culture, it would be more correct that He was viewed as the son of a god (although adopted of course) He had it made. Then he made a mistake. He got emotional when he saw an Egyptian guard beating an Israelite. So He kills the guard. This didn't make Pharaoh happy and he tried to kill Moses. Moses had to go on the run and settle for a life of being a shepherd.

Son of a King to a shepherd. Talk about losing your mojo. Moses had to be in rough shape.

That's when God steps in to do something big with Moses. He talks to him through the burning bush. I think that's funny. Why a burning bush? If God does that with me, I hope He uses a bear that talks kind of like Yogi Bear.  "Hiyah Jon, You should feed the homeless with some pic-i-nic baskets." haha. I'm just thinking about that. Anyways I digress..

God tells Moses to go toe to toe with the most powerful man in the world.  The man who was trying to kill Moses. The best part of this story is that Moses gives God all kinds of excuses as to why he shouldn't be the one to do the job.

Moses didn't have any confidence in himself and much less confidence in God. Moses at one point complained that he wasn't a very good public speaker to which God responded, "who made your mouth?" I can see God getting impatient and just saying, "TRUST ME! I'M GOD!"

That's what it comes down to isn't it? trusting God? When we get past how shaky our confidence is and just trust in God, He shows up and does some crazy awesome stuff.  

God made me.
God made me a youth pastor and he'll tell me what to do next.
God made me a husband and father and he'll tell me how to lead my family next.
God made me a writer and He'll tell me what to write next.
All I have to do is trust Him.

That's where I'll find my mojo.

Have you lost your mojo?  Where do you need to trust God?

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Quick and the Dirty: Dressing Room Signs

I hate going into the dressing room to try stuff on. Part of it is that I'm a guy and well I should know what size I am. Another part is that I would rather drive home, try it on there, and drive back then use the semi-private phone booth that they call a dressing room. Today I had to go to Target to get some running shorts for the 10k tomorrow. I didn't want to try them on...but my wife insisted that I try them on before I left. (I'm finding that she's usually right about these things) While in the midst of my shorts adventure I noticed a few things about the dressing room.

First, why are there 17 mirrors in one dressing room. Ladies, I'm blaming you. There's no way a man came out of a dressing room and said the phrase "How do you expect me to see how these pants fit in the rear?"  Seriously. I felt like I was in a fun house somewhere. I half expected a Carnie to knock on the door and try to guess my weight. But that's not what this post is about. This post is about the following picture.

There's something wrong with this song. It's not grammatical. At least not as far as I can tell.
My problem with this sign is the word swimwear.

Maybe I'm being a little picky but shouldn't the sign read:

Please leave on undergarments when trying on EVERYTHING!

My use of the exclamation point may seem excessive but I feel that I can't express enough the fact that you should probably keep your underwear no matter what.  I mean if you like the commando lifestyle in clothes that you've purchased  that's cool. 

But for these clothes that are about to be put back on the rack so that some unassuming person will grab and try on next,  you should definitely keep your underoo's on. 

So please, please, for the sake of humanity. Keep your undergarments on when you are trying on things!!



Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Absurdity of it All.....Potty Training

There comes a time in every man's life when he finds himself doing something that he never thought he'd do. He says thing that he would never say. 

Things like: "Let's go Potty" 

Potty training has terrified me since the day Kate was born. There was nothing that made me look forward to trying to teach our children to use the potty. (see even saying the word potty sounds weird to me, yet here I am)

Mollie's mom bought Kate a potty (really that word just annoys me) and we've been testing it out with Kate. Not really going all out with potty training, but just giving it a try to see what's what. So it's been sitting in the kid's bathroom and whenever we go to take a bath we'll put Kate on the potty and  start talking her through stuff. That's where the absurdity begins.

One night last week we decided to try it out. I give the kids baths and so I was filling the tub up for Kate while Mollie was tending to Drew. Mollie got Kate ready for her bath and put her on potty. Then she said this:

"Do you need me to stay?"
"No you go ahead, me and Kate are going to take care of things here"

Why haven't I learned that when my wife asks if she needs to stay...the answer is ALWAYS YES?!?!?!

Molls leaves and and Kate and I are hanging out and chatting. A little time passes and I check on the bath water. It's starting to get where it needs to be when I stick my hand in it to double check the temp. It was way too hot. Hmmmm. I had to fix this. I turned the cold water on and then began to swirl the water around to even out the temperature.

Apparently, I was swirling the water a little to hard because I felt it splashing on my leg....or so I thought.

When I begin to focus on the bath I took my eyes off of Kate. She saw me leaning over teh side of the bathtub and doing something. She wanted to know what that something was. So she stood up, climbed up next to the tub and peered in.

It was then that she went to the potty. Right then. Right there. Right on my leg.

This should be a good time to mention that I hate the smell of urine. I hate taking out the diaper trash every week because it smells that way....ugh. just thinking about it makes me gag.  So it's no surprise that the first thing that I did was scream.

"AHHHHHH KATE!" I picked her up and placed her on the potty while she stared at me stunned.  She finished up on the potty.

"Mollie! I need you in here."  That phrase was more painful to say given my earlier response.

Mollie came in and immediately got excited for Kate. "Way to go Kate!......What's wrong with you" is the response that I got.

"She peed on me!"  This is where I might have had some unrealistic expectations of my wife. I expected some..."oh dear, I'm really sorry!  How can I help you out?"


In fact that's what I got for the rest of the day.  I love that my wife can laugh at the crazy times in life.

Later I sat and chuckled about the crazy first potty experience....little did I  know that it would pale in comparison to my 2nd potty training experience....that was traumatizing for me AND kate. But that's another story for another time.


Friday, March 18, 2011

I Make Fun of Christians

There's a point in time where God has to teach you a lesson.  A time when you think that life is going fine but really underneath there's trouble brewing.  This happened to me this past Wednesday night.

On my way home from church I stopped at a Walgreens. If you remember my car has a little oil leak problem. Whenever my oil light comes on I have to stop and put oil in my car. The beacon of efficiency I am not.  This happened Wed night after church. I stopped to grab some oil and fill up my car.

As I walked into the store there was a couple near the register having intense conversation. I'm not sure why they were so intently talking. The wife was really excited and telling the husband to grab some more of something.

I walked to the back and picked up the oil. By the time I got back up front there was a line 8 people deep.  Now ordinarily that's not terrible, but after 7 pm apparently drugstores run a lot like DMVs. IT was taking forever! You know how I get around slow people in line!

I lean out of the line and glance to the front. Guess who's there. Yep, captain eager shopper and her husband. I rolled my eyes and glanced at the counter to see what they got that was taking so long.

What I saw blew my mind.  15 cans of refried beans and 20 bottles of salad dressing.


Immediately I started laughing on the inside. I don't laugh at people outwardly in public because that's not what Jesus would do.  Here's what I was thinking.

"Geez, how many refriend beans does one person need? Perhaps I should pick up some toilet paper for them?"
"Wow, they could bathe in that much salad dressing....that's disturbing."
" What food can you make with beans and salad dressing? These two people are the strangest people I've ever met. I think I will have a hefty laugh at them internally. But not outwardly, that's not what Jesus would do"

I actually let out a little chuckle thinking through these thoughts. Then God dropped a bomb on me. As I got closer to the register, the cashier ringing the couple up looks at the other cashier and says this:

" Did you hear that?  These two are buying all of this food to fill a food pantry."

There's a moment when you are so ashamed after you hear something like that. You automatically try to believe that they said something else.

"There buying this food to build a monument to Tom Landry?"  That's weird. Or it would have been if the cashier didn't repeat himself.

They are buying this food to fill a food pantry.  Ouch.
20 seconds before I was making fun of them. I was making fun of them and they were only thinking about feeding the poor. But it got worse.

The woman continued on..."Our church has a food pantry and at prices like these people can get food for cheaper than going to the food bank."


I hung my head as I paid for my oil and headed past the couple who was still paying.  These people were doing EXACTLY what Jesus had asked of us and I was making fun of them in my head.

I was being convicted of my dumbness as I walked to my car.  God reminded me that laughter was good but that laughing at the expense of someone serving him was probably not the best way to spend my night.

But in a way that God can only do, He had one more lesson in him.

I lifted the hood of my car and began to poor the oil into the engine. I heard the couple come out and head to their car. As I poured oil into my engine I see a figure coming over.  It was the husband of this couple.

"Hey man, you need any help?"

This guy was the real deal. It's amazing the people you run into that inspire you to be a better Christian. These two people are definitely on that list. The crazy thing is that I never got their name.

God used them, salad dressing, and refried beans to teach me a lesson.

A lesson that I hope I don't soon forget.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

5 Reasons the World WILL NOT End Soon

So yesterday I posted 5 reasons that I thought that the world was ending soon. If you missed it, you can read it here.

But I didn't want to alarm you with the fear of impending doom. I want to be fair, so here are 5 reasons why I think that the world WILL NOT end soon.

1. The Mayans predicted it-  The Mayans succeeded in several areas. Math, written language, .etc. But they didn't exactly succeed in the area of future predicting. There's something about having your civilization collapse without you realizing it that really hurts your the credibility of your future predictions. I hope no current Mayans read this, otherwise it could be really awkward for me if their prediction of Dec 2012 turns out to be true.

2. There is a Wedding this Saturday - It is every grooms nightmare that on the eve of his wedding, Jesus will decide to come back. I mean at least for the couples who have decided to wait until they are married know....pick out curtains....That's just a lame way to say have sex. I mean the two aren't even comparable. I hope my wife doesn't read this. Anyways, I imagine that God is so loving that He'll wait until the one Saturday that there are no weddings scheduled.

3. The Orioles haven't won the World Series - When Jesus said that the last shall be first, I don't think that he meant that we should apply that to Major League Baseball.  Otherwise, the Orioles would have won the last two world series. I think that if the O's win the Series I'll have to wonder if the end is coming. Being in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox has re-assured me that this is not an immediate worry.  However, if we get to September and the O's are in 1st place I would suggest you start praying.....

4. Steve Jobs hasn't Declared It - Apple makes some cool devices that's for sure. In their press conferences though, Steve Jobs, sells them as if each device is the savior of mankind. FRET NOT PEOPLE! THE IPHONE 17 IS HERE! EVIL WILL NO LONGER EXIST! GET ONE! GET TWO! But I just read that the Ipad 2 is about to be released so maybe that'll usher in the end of the world.

5. I Can't Think of a No. 5 -  I know that this is a cop out and that you are probably want your money back. But, you're not the one who's son decided that he wanted to play at 3 am this morning.  I was honestly hoping for the end of time about then. Then perhaps I could get catch up on rest for the first half of eternity.

What signs do you see that say that the world WILL NOT end soon?


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

5 Reasons The World is Going to End Soon

I was reading in the Bible this morning and ran across a portion of scripture where Jesus gives people a head's up about some things that will happen when the end of the world is coming. Now I don't think that anything needs to be added to Jesus' list, but there are a few things that cause me to believe that the end of the world is coming.

Here are 5 of them:

1. Larry the Cable Guy has a show on the History channel -  Go ahead and re-read that. Yep. I could technically end the list right here but I won't. I mean really, who at the History channel thought that this was a good idea? The show is about Larry searching for things that pertain only to America. The first thing that was mentioned was a donkey that can shoot basketball.  There's something that will improve our reputation internationally. I was thinking that maybe they would cover the origin of, i don't know, Apple Pie. I mean the saying isn't, "American as basketball shooting donkeys".   And when did the History channel take a hiatus from their 20 year coverage of Hitler?  Anyways, I'm sure I'll be glued to the tv for this one.

2.  The Fast and The Furious 5-  Somewhere in a board room a group of rich people sat and said this: "You know, Tokyo Drift was a good movie, we should make another one." In fact, I had no clue that there was FAF4 in there too. It slipped in there sometime a couple years back. No, this is supposed to be the last one ever, at least until the 6th one comes out. It will  be titled "The Slightly Less Fast and Less Furious, the Buick Skylark Years" Sigh. As long as Paul Walker isn't in this one it'll be ok......hmm.....a quick visit to has shown that he is indeed in this movie. Now I'm praying for the end of days.

3. The Price of Cereal-  Have you actually looked at the price of cereal lately? Holy Cow. When buying cereal I feel like I need to borrow against my house. Soon there will be a sign on the cereal aisle that reads: "You have been Pre-Approved to purchase Frosted Flakes: followed by a bunch of small legal jargon that no one reads but promises Kellogg's your first born child or french poodle named FiFi. " If there is anything that we need to fix in this country it's cereal prices. Seriously. I eat it for every other meal.

 4. The NBA still has an All- Star Game -  does anyone still watch the NBA? that being said, at least the Dunk Contest was interesting again. Check this out.

5. Because it's Predicted for May 21st of this year-  Some church in Pennsylvania has predicted that Judgement Day is set for May 21st and the Earth will be destroyed in October. They come to these dates by reading almost every Bible verse out of context and then making up some math based on numbers in those verses. They even challenge what Jesus said when he said "no one will know when the end of the world is except God". So they mis-interpret the Bible, make up math, and challenge Jesus.   So why am I including them on this list?  Because if I were God,  I would end the world the day AFTER they predicted.  I just think that would be funny.

Do you have any thoughts on when the end of the world will be?


Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm a that explains a lot (the worst valentines day ever)

Whenever I do something incredibly stupid I usually blame my Y chromosome.

why you ask?

Because it's easier than to say..."I'm really sorry that I

a) forgot _______.
b) said ________.
c) did ________.
d) didn't _______.
e) lied about _______.

You know what, I could come up with enough of those for the entire alphabet. So you can see why, when my wife gives me that look that says "You're an idiot" I just throw my hands up and cry "Y Chromosome!" Granted this doesn't make anything better, but it makes me feel better.

Unfortunately I couldn't use that in the year 2001. The year of the worst valentines ever.

February 14th, 2001. Mollie and I had been dating for 1 month. We were talking as the holiday came closer. We learned that this would be the first time that either of us had a significant other for Valentines Day. This is where things started to go wrong.

Growing up, I always hated February 14th. Everyone had a girlfriend and they could hold hands and cuddle among other things. They would bring flowers and teddy bears and balloons in order to impress their girlfriends. The girls would bring something for the guys, maybe candy, maybe a teddy bear, maybe a collage of all the fun times that they had together. (what's the deal with girls and collages? I'm pretty sure that's not included on the Y chromosome) I hated it. I would sit there while everyone was opening their gifts and hugging at the lunch table.  Even the cafeteria ladies would get in on it by cutting the pizza into little heart pieces....(ok so that's not true but it felt like the lunch ladies were in on it. )

So I swore an oath to myself.  When I got a girlfriend, I was going to respect all of my single friends and not rub it in that I had a girlfriend on Valentines Day. I was just going to keep a low profile on Feb 14th. We weren't going to have all of the candy and gifts. We were just going to enjoy each others company.

Stop shaking your head at me. I know you are. I was young and dumb....(Y chromosome)

On the other side of things was Mollie. She had watched all of her friends in high school get flowers and gifts on Valentines Day. Every year she waited for the day when she could be dating a guy and go through the fun of getting flowers or notes. She waited patiently for the day that she could make a collage of pictures for her man.. (I know, I still don't get it)

Which brings us to Valentines Day 2001. Our first Valentines day ever.

Here's what I said....

"I was thinking that I don't want to alienate all of my single friends. Let's just skip everything for Valentines Day this year. I hate it when other people rubbed it in my face. I don't want to do that to other people.

This was her quiet response,


So that's what we did. We sat in Cascades Cafe in the Student Union at ASU. We had bagels and cereal.

No Flowers.
No Gifts.

(seriously, stop shaking your head at me)

It gets worse. A few rooms away from us, a group of our friends were having dinner. Not just any dinner. The guys had prepared a nice Italian dinner for their girlfriends. They were all dressed up and serving the girls dinner.

Molls and I stopped in to say hello. I can't really imagine what Molls was thinking at that moment. I mean these guys were serving their girlfriends a nice dinner. I hadn't even offered to spread her cream cheese.

It was a few months later that I found out that Mollie's dream was to have a romantic Valentines Day.  Thinking back to that day makes me shudder. I was so preoccupied with not upsetting others, that I ended up upsetting the one who would eventually become my wife. In fact, I think that this date was proof that God was behind our relationship. Most girls would have kicked me to the curb but she stuck with me.

Don't worry ladies. I made up for it the next year. I took Mollie to a restaurant that served the best steak we've ever had and paid $75 out of the $90 that I had to my name. After all, she was worth it.

These days, Molls and I are pretty low key about Valentines Day. We prefer to show crazy amounts of love to each other on random days instead. (hello Bruster's ice cream last night!) What about you?

What was the worst Valentines Day story from your life? 
Drop a comment below!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Play the Background

I have a few dreams in my life.

To be a rapper.
To be a well known speaker.
To be a writer.
To run a restaurant.

Dreams are good. They give us focus. They give us drive. They give us purpose.

As you might have noticed, I haven't written much on this blog lately. In fact over the past two months my number of posts dropped significantly. I love to write and honestly I've missed writing here. I have a lot of fun poking fun at things and digging into the deep complexities of life.

But as much as I love writing, I desperately want it to take off. I want it to be read by thousands. I want people to read my writing and laugh and cry and occasionally think, "what's the deal with that guy?"

 So after every post that I wrote I would check my stats constantly. Sometimes I would check stats 10 times a day. I would get excited with every new visitor that came through. I became obsessed.

Then I got an urge. That urge was to push my wife into blogging. The only problem was that she doesn't really have any technical background when it came to setting up her blog but she had the topics to write about. She needed someone to run the background. That's where I come in. And it's why I haven't written much in the last 2 months. I've been playing the background.

The crazy thing is that God has been all over it and I haven't realized it until right now. Like right in the middle of writing this post. See I was so obsessed with getting big that I started to lose my desire to help people. I just wanted it to blow up and become popular.

I think that God knew this and so he gave me this urge. This urge that I gave to my wife.

This urge that resulted in the site 

I think that God knew that I needed to take a little break from writing because my desire to be BIG was in itself getting too BIG. At least He knew more than I did.

When you realize that you are in the middle of something that God is doing, you can see some really amazing things.

In my writing I wanted to help people. By playing the background on Mollie's blog, I'm helping people in a way that can't be seen. And I'm helping more people than I ever imagined. (did I mention that was the name of the site yet?) has met goals that I never thought were possible.

For example: In 1 month, it has tripled the number the visitors and pageviews that this blog has had in it's ENTIRE existence.

Hopefully people are taking things away from reading it. And I still get to say that God used me to help others.

The point of this post wasn't to publicize my wife's blog (although I did plenty of that). It also isn't to just give you a reason why I haven't made fun of as many thing lately.

It's to challenge you to look at your life and consider this: Are you called to Play the Background? Maybe you are called to work in the background where there isn't much recognition. Where there aren't a lot of people congratulating your latest thought or post or tweet.

Maybe you are called to feed the poor without anyone knowing.
Maybe you are called to work with children during church services.
Maybe you are called to work with teenagers on retreats.
Maybe you are called to just sit and listen to others.
Maybe you are called to give up everything and follow God.

Maybe. Just Maybe.. You are called to Play the Background. What do you think?


*this post was inspired by the song "Background" by Lecrae. Check it out on youtube. It's worth it.*

Friday, February 4, 2011

An Assault on Wintry Mix.

This year has proven to be kind of crazy when it comes to weather. It's been cold and snowy almost everywhere. In fact at one point in time there was snow on the ground in every single state except Florida. (and you wonder why older people move there) But it's not just that it has snowed. It's that it has snowed FEET.  There are places in the Northeast that have gotten over 100 inches of snow and we're HALFWAY through the season.  It's also been ridiculously cold. If I wanted to live somewhere that the temperature was often in the teens, I would have moved to Canada a long time ago. I blame Global Warming.

But that's not what this post is about. Nope. It was just an incredibly long intro paragraph written to make you start shivering from thinking about all of this cold weather. No. This post is about something in winter time that is completely deceptive.

I'm talking about Wintry Mix.

No one likes Wintry Mix. Normally I would say things like that because it would be mean, but let's be honest here. NO ONE likes Wintry Mix.  Why not, you ask?  Because the term Wintry Mix can be roughly translated as "Crappy Weather"

I think that's my problem with Wintry Mix. The name. When I hear the term Wintry Mix I always think of happy things. Things like:

1. Snow Cones- Snow is very wintry. And the best snow cones are the ones where you mix all of the flavors together. I think that we should rename this delectable treat the "Wintry Mix". Kids everywhere will run to concession stands across the country begging for Wintry Mix.

2.An Ipod Playlist - When the first sign of cooler weather comes, my wife insists on turning on "winter" music. This involves some Christmas music but there are also types of music on there. Generally it involves music that makes you want to cuddle up with some hot cocoa.  The Wintry Mix playlist is very popular between November and March.

3. A Type of Trail Mix -  No one can resist trail mix. Every year I talk about how I hate it but then I start eating and end up eating an entire bag. Wintry Mix is trail mix but it has Wintry items in it. Items like; red and green M&M's, Peppermint Bark, and that chex mix that is covered in powered sugar so that it looks like snow..  Seriously, it's scrumptulescent.

But there again is the problem with the real Wintry Mix. When I hear that there is going to be Wintry Mix outside I jump up and run outside  with my mouth open. Instead of Chex mix goodness, I get pelted in the face with ice pellets.

Even the weather radar is misleading. Every winter storm that comes through your town you become glued to the tv. Where is it going to go? Who will get the most snow??

You watch the radar and you see 3 colors. White, Green, and Pink. White is for snow. Green is for rain. Wintry mix is Pink.....really?  Pink??  Pink is such a festive color! Why should we use it to show the crappiest of all winter weather?

Pink should be reserved for the day we find a way to cure 100% of breast cancer. Then we can use pink for everything. I think that Wintry Mix should have be black on radar maps because that's the color the ice will be when you are driving over it the next day.

We should also rename it from Wintry Mix. Here are a few ideas for new names.

1. Wintry Crap - I'm not sure if you can say crap on tv. My mom never liked me saying crap at home either so this might not be the best idea. Although it would be the most accurate.

2. Winter's Hail - Technically it's not hail, but seriously how many names do we need for ice that falls from the sky? Plus hail is close to another word which adequately describes how your drive to work is going to be the next day.

3. Mother Nature's Revenge - "Hey man, you want to go to the mall today?" "Nah dude, I heard we are about to get a bad day of MNR! I'm headed home!" You see that works well. It is negative and communicates that you don't want to stand outside with your mouth open.

So my question to you is this:


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lessons Learned from My Secret Guilty Pleasure.

Everyone has a secret guilty pleasure. You know, something that you enjoy that no one else knows about. For some of you it might be knitting. For others it might be reading books on the subject of Advanced Quantum Physics. For some of you  it might be listening to Barry Manilow and singing the song "Mandy" in the mirror using your deodorant as a pretend microphone. (that's messed up, really)

Not for me. For me, it's watching the Antique Roadshow. If you've never seen the Antique Roadshow, (or The Roadshow as insiders refer to it) let me explain it to you.

Essentially what happens is this:  Someone digs around their attic or garage and finds something that their late Aunt Bertha gave to them when she passed away. Aunt Bertha's are usually reliable in what they bequeath to you.

So the person finds this ancient relic and then they take it to a taping of The Roadshow. Once there, an antiques specialists takes a look at it and tells people the background information on the antique and more. The biggest part of the show is when the antique specialist reveals how much the antique is worth.

You can learn a lot in this moment. I have learned that there are 3 things that usually happen.

1. Antique is Worth More than You Thought- This is always fun to watch. The antique specialist reveals the worth and instantly you see surprise on the person's face. It's that expression that says: "Holy Crap, and to think that I've been using it as a door stop." The surprise  look fades to the a big smile that is accompanied by the thought, "Forget Aunt Bertha, this bad boy is gonna get me a new Minivan!

2. Antique is Less than You Thought -This has to be one of the most painful things to watch. It's just sad to see that people invested money in something that they thought was super valuable but turns out that it's worth nothing. I saw this happen once. This lady had purchased these Chinese Vases for $500. She took them to AR to get them appraised for "insurance" purposes. (or she really wanted a Minivan). As it turned out they were counterfeit. They weren't even worth the $500 she paid for them. She stood there in horror as the antiques guy explained to her how she had been duped. I wanted to jump through the TV and hug her.

3. Antique is Absolutely Priceless - This is the best ever. You see a person who brings something in and they have a feeling that it's worth something. Then you see the antique specialist get all giddy like a teenage girl who just got asked out by her crush. They excitedly talk about each little part of the antique as if the world is about to end.  The want to share the news with everyone that they run across. LOOK WHAT I'VE FOUND!  It's pretty intense.....well in an antique kind of way.

As I've grown older I've learned the same lessons in life.

1. Certain Things are Worth More  - if you've seen the movie "UP" you know what I'm talking about. Things like family and friends are worth more the older that you get. You live for these moments. I love playing with my kids because it's those memories that will last a lifetime. I like helping others because it will make their lives better. These things are worth more now that I'm older.

2. Certain Things are Worth Less- The more that I find more value in the things mentioned in #1, I find less value in other things. Money. Status.  These things just aren't as valuable to me as they used to be. Sometimes I'll look on Facebook and look through different profiles. I'll see people trying desperately to get ahead in life. I'll see people spending most weekends getting drunk enough to forget life. I see people who are so desperate for physical affection that they will do anything.These things might have appealed to me at one time as a teenager but looking at people doing it now just makes me sad. It's like we invest in worthless things in the hope that they might be extremely valuable. 9 times out of 10 we miss and waste our time and money.

3. One Thing is Priceless - I'm not shy about my faith. Well at least not on this blog. The truth is this. My relationship with God is absolutely priceless. It's something that as I was beginning my journey I knew that it was probably important and valuable but I had no clue that it was life changing. When I decided to follow Christ my life changed in a way that could never be described. I'm often overwhelmed because the Creator of EVERYTHING seeks to know me. It's best explained with this verse in Matthew 13.

 44"God's kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.

A relationship with God is worth so much that you could give EVERYTHING to have that relationship and still you would come out on top. In other words, a relationship with God is worth more than you can ever have.

If you don't know this relationship, I encourage you to check it out. It can be overwhelming but it's so incredibly worth it. If you have any questions you can email me at  

If you do know this relationship, get excited! Describe it to others and be giddy like a teenage girl!!! You could be like the guys in the video below. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Be Careful What You Ask For....

Sometimes I get really bold. It doesn't happen nearly enough. but sometimes I get bold. When I get bold I am more willing to ask for things.  Even when it comes to God.

Let me give you some background. Last Tuesday our staff watched a video of a speaker at a conference. This speaker was talking about how Christians needed to be a people of blessing to others. In other words, everyday we should live to bless others lives. That's a good thing right. I mean it's always good when people attempt to make my day better by praying for me or helping me in some way. So after watching the video I walked into my office and said this simple prayer, "God, let me a blessing to the people around me."  That's it. No big words. No churchy terms. Just, "let me be a blessing to people around me."

I think God probably chuckles to Himself when we pray things like this.

God loves to answer "yes" to that prayer.

In December, I had gone to buy some bagels for our Sunday School class.  As a 'holiday' gift the bagel place included a $5 gift card for any future use. When you have two kids and one income gift cards are like gold! Needless to say, I was exited.

But then I lost the card....until last Wednesday, the day after my prayer.  Some people would call that coincidence.  I call it God.  
Have you ever put on a pair of jeans and found a dollar in the pocket?  It was that awesome except extra awesomeness because it was free bagels. (everyone knows that bagels increase the awesomeness scale by 37)

So off I head to the bagel place with my $5 gift card in hand. It's a glorious day and it will be a glorious lunch. What will I get?  Will it include cream cheese?  Can I get a Cherry Coke? (awesomeness scale is through the roof) There's a little bounce in my step. I park my car and head towards bagel heaven....

and that's when I see them. Two homeless guys about 20 feet apart walking in my direction. As a pastor I'm kind of ashamed to say it but when I see a homeless person my first though isn't, "hey I bet that guy is hungry". It's more like, "when he asks me for money what am I going to tell him?"

I kept walking hoping that perhaps they wouldn't approach me. The first guy gets close to me and.....keeps walking. *whew*.   I didn't have to give my, "I'm sorry I don't have any money" speech. 

As I was thinking about this, the second guy calls out to me. In a scraggly and broken voice he asks me if I had any change to spare. The truth is that I didn't. I don't use cash that often anymore so I don't usually have change in my pockets. I started to give my "no money" speech when I heard from God. 

Not audibly. That probably would have made me wet myself and then there would an awkward time for the homeless guy who wanted some change but instead got a guy with no bladder control. 

But I heard from God. The next thought in my head was, "Dude, you just asked me yesterday to give you someone to bless. Here you go!"  (I think God says Dude in an affectionate way)

I started to debate God there because the truth was that I didn't have any change to give the man. But when I reached in to my pocket to prove to God that there was no jingling of coins my hands gripped the gift card. Yep $5 of God given blessing. 

"I can't give you any change but I can buy you something to eat" is what I heard coming out of my mouth. I didn't think through it. It just happened. 

"Oh, can I get a bagel with Philadelphia Cream Cheese?"  He apparently knew of the Bagel Awesomeness scale. 
I got him his bagel with cream cheese and gave it to him. His trembling hands took them from me and he sat down and ate his new lunch. 
God loves it when we bless other people. In fact Jesus said that people would know that we follow Him by the love that we show to others.  So if you ever want to be bold. Ask God to put someone in your life that you can bless. Then just open your eyes and wait for it. 
It's amazing to be a part of what God is doing in the world around us.  If you really want to live an awesome life (even without bagels) make it a point to bless the people around you. 

Are there any times in your life that you got to bless someone unexpectedly?  
(this is the part where you drop a comment below!)


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Best Decision I Ever Made

You make thousands of decisions every. When to get up. What to eat for breakfast. Whether or not you should wear white socks with brown shoes because all of your other socks somehow got stuffed into the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.

They can change your morning or they can change your life. 

10 years ago I made one that changed my life.

It happened at 4:13am next to a dumpster behind my dorm in college. I sat in the passenger seat of a car and my heart was pounding. I couldn't think straight. It all started..... (this is where you cue the flashback)

... 2 months earlier......

I had been in college for roughly 3 months. My girlfriend back home broke up with me a few weeks before. She actually used 5 different cliche excuses..."It's not you it's me....I feel like we're growing apart...I have a weird fungus on my feet that keeps me from seeing guys named Jon...etc" You know the usual..

I was meeting people and making friends. One person kept inviting me to lunch. She was nice, cute, and she was very conversational. And she always brought along her friend which was cool with me. The more the merrier. (it turns out she was trying to set me up with her friend...she wasn't a very good matchmaker.)

Over a couple of lunch dates I begin to really like this girl. She was fun. I was a bit confused why her friend would keep showing up though, but whatever. We kept hanging out for the month of November and as December started we took exams and headed home. We talked a lot online over break. Something like 487 hours. It's a rough estimate.

In January we headed back to school..which catches me back to to the beginning of the story. However there's nothing in movies the lets you know that your flash back is over. I find that annoying. I can save that for another post.

This girl and I were hanging out with some friends watching movies when it was time for me to head back to my dorm. The girl offered me a ride back to my place because it's was like -20 degrees outside...ok I'm not exaggerating there. It was ridiculously cold.

So around midnight we drove back to my dorm. She pulled up to let me out at the side door. Right next to the dumpster. We sat for a little bit and talked. And Talked. And Talked.

4 hours later my heart was pounding. I had a decision to make. Do I or Don't I?

I made the decision. I was going all in.

I started talking. Incessantly. "so there is this guy.....and he really likes this girl.....and he wants to get to know this girl better....and he's kind of hungry right now...." No lie, the story lasted like 5 minutes and went absolutely no where.

Finally we got to the point of the story and she said yes.

10 years ago today I asked my wife if she would like to start dating. It was the best decision I've every made (other than following Jesus obviously!)

Since then we've gone through a lot.

3+ years of dating.
6+ years of marriage. 
2 kids. 
A number of fights (most my fault)
Many more laughs.
And God showing us things every step of the way. 

It's kind of nuts. It just goes to show you:

They can change your morning or they can change your life. 

Pay attention to the decisions that could change your life.
It might just be The Best Decision You Ever Make.

**it seems that my wife has had the same idea as me. We should probably start planning when we are blogging about the same subject. You can read hers at **

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tastes Like Chicken

Have you ever eaten something so good that you had to scream?

I'm serious. Have you ever eaten anything that caused you to make an audible noise of rejoicing?

I was thinking about that this morning as it was my turn to enjoy the spicy chicken biscuit from Chick Fil A. The entire world had already enjoyed it....or so it seemed.  Needless to say I was a bit excited.

We went to Chick Fil A, ordered, and sat down. We learned that they had had so many orders that they had run out of biscuits. They had to make more from scratch. I sat there in eager anticipation. When it arrived I got excited and started bouncing in my seat....

I should probably explain that I get really excited about these things. I mean it's not entirely normal for a grown male to excitedly bounce in his seat at the site of a chicken biscuit. Luckily I gave up on normal a long time ago.

I opened the package and took a bite. It was amazingness.  Pure AMAZINGNESS.  Now if you are like me there are a few responses that are appropriate following the first bite of the best food ever.

"mmmmmmmm" - This is pretty standard. Even people who don't regularly respond audibly to food will say this.

"Ha....ha ha ha..." -  Have you ever eaten anything so good it caused you to laugh?  It's like you laugh because you expected tasty but this has put your expectation to shame and you laugh at how ignorant your expectation was in the first place!

"Holy Crap!" - Yeah, this is a response you give when you weren't expecting it to be good at all but you were trying it because your wife ordered it and semi-forced you to try it despite your constant protest because you were enjoying your double cut porkchop and didn't want to try something that you didn't order in the first place..... This is all a hypothetical situation of course.

"Yatzee!!!" - I'm not sure why people would say this outside of  actually playing yatzee but if there is something that completely blows your mind when you eat it this is what you say. In fact there is a good chance that this statement is accompanied by standing up and doing a little dance. I mean it's really good if there is a jig involved.

I think I ended up laughing. I mean I had heard that the spicy chicken biscuit was good but it was better than expected. But that's not the part of this mornings adventure that made me thinking.

I sat there thinking...Why is food good?

Not like why is eating good for me...but why do things taste so ridiculously good?

I mean taste buds are not essential to survival. We could live off of tasteless food that was rich in proteins and everything we need.  But no. We have amazing tasting food.

I think that the ability to taste is a gift from God...I'm serious.  Again we don't need taste to survive. God could have created us without taste buds.  But He gave them to us anyways.

Think about the last time you ate something that caused you to say something out loud. What was that first taste like? What was it like to have that explosion of flavor in your mouth?

Amazingness. A second of pure bliss.

That bliss is a gift from God.  Next time you are eating (which should be relatively soon depending on when you read this) take a second to think about the ability to taste. Take a second to thank God for such a wonderful gift.

In the meantime, drop a comment below mentioning the last food you ate that caused you to be overwhelmed......


Monday, January 3, 2011

I Eat Magic Stars

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been busy with travelling, stomach viruses, and working on my wife's new blog, (you should probably check it out). I worked on a lot of the background stuff that you can't see and if something messes up it's probably my handiwork.  I've spent a lot of time thinking through the future of this blog and where we're going next with it.

There was one thing that was constant in the past two weeks.

Magic Stars

Oh yes. I eat Magic Stars.

Before you go off an assume that Magic Stars is some sort of nickname for illicit and illegal substances let me explain.

Since Molls has decided to stay home with our kids, we've started bargain hunting. This is especially true for groceries.  A couple of weeks ago I had to go pick up some things from the grocery store. On that list was cereal. That's when I saw them.....MAGIC STARS.

MAGIC STARS are the Food Lion brand of Lucky Charms. They are off brand so they are cheaper than Lucky Charms but that day was my lucky day. A box of MAGIC STARS (seriously, all caps? are they so magical that they have to yell at us?) cost about $3. This day they were on sale for 2.39....and buy one, get one!  That's right 2 boxes of cereal for $2.39!!!

Now the average person might step back and think...."2 boxes of cereal for $2.39?? It probably taste like cardboard." The average person would be right. Luckily, I'm not the average person. I bought both boxes and carried my prize home.

I triumphantly marched into the house and declared, "WIFE! SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE!"  (side note, you usually want to call your spouse by their name, not by their relation to you...) I pulled out both boxes of cereal and showed them to her.

"What is that?"
"Magic Stars!"
"2 for $2.39!!!"
" "

Apparently she was not amused. But that's OK I had found my bargain!

And then I tried Magic Stars. The only thing magical is that I didn't spit them across the room. They didn't taste like cardboard. They tasted like the Food Lion no name brand of cardboard. They were terrible. But it got me thinking about bargains.

There's a reason that something is a bargain. It's because usually it's of substandard quality. It's not worth a whole lot so it can be sold for a bargain. If you want quality you are going to have to give up more.(granted there are a few exceptions)

I find that I often settle for Bargain Faith.

Bargain Faith is great because it's cheap. It doesn't cost me anything. I can just say I follow God and life is good. I go to church every week and feel important in life. I get all of the promises of God without any of the effort.

It seems so great because it's cheap, but honestly Bargain Faith taste like crap. See Genuine Faith costs more than Bargain Faith. Just look at the book of Matthew in the Bible.

If you read through the Book of Matthew you see Jesus teaching his followers what it takes to follow Him.  Here's the thing, none of it's easy.

Sell everything you have and give to the poor.
Leave your family behind if necessary
Pick up your Cross and follow me.

Genuine Faith costs A LOT.  But it taste so much better.  Jesus says in the book of John that He came so that we may live life to the fullest.  As odd as it is, having Genuine Faith is the ONLY way you will live a completely fulfilled life.

You can settle for Bargain Faith but you won't be fulfilled. You'll still be longing for something more. You'll be longing for the real thing.

So here's a challenge to you. Put down the crappy bargain faith and start genuinely following God.

I think I'm going to get a bowl of Lucky Charms.