"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1 Peter 3:15

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Pain that hurts so good

All of you who read my last blog are expecting a walloping good blog on the art of flatulence lighting. I have let you down. I hope it doesn't hurt to bad. You are all "aghast" Sorry,...That was a really horrible joke. I decided that today I would talk about why God allows us to go through tough times and what can feel like aggravating, unbearable, unrelenting, and excruciating pain. I am going to show you how, even though it kills inside, maybe this pain isn't as bad as you believe, in fact...maybe its even a good thing. Don't get me wrong, I am not a masochist, I hate pain just as much as the next guy, probably more (thats why I rarely work out and am a skinny wimp), but pain has the amazing power to get you places that comfort would never bring you.

There are two times in life when God brings a person pain. Those times are as follows; when we deserve it, and when we don't. I really don't think that anyone could debate that, its a given. Now we just got to ask ourselves, why? Surprisingly, i think for the most part the reasons are pretty close to the same for both cases.

When God poors pain on us when we don't appear to deserve it, i believe that through those times of pain we can learn somthing, and maybe a greater good is being done for us or someone else. Its like this, say you break your arm. you have to get the arm set and put in a cast so that it will heal and you can use it again. despite the pain, somthing greater than the pain (in this case, the healing of the arm) is being done. Its the same way with the death of a loved one. It may appear we don't deserve it. Perhaps in this persons death however, this person went to be with Christ, or maybe someone at the funeral questioned their own eternity. Both are far greater goods then the bad of the pain. What can we learn? In pain, we can learn multitudes of things. "Things".... good word choice huh? I couldn't think of a better word than things..., anyway, in times of pain we do two things, we either run to God or away from him in bitterness and anger. when we run to God, we can learn whatever he has to teach us. When we run from God, we will learn that a life away from him hurts even more than the hurt that sent us running in the first place.

Now to look at those of us who deserve pain. i believe God sheds the pain on us because we also need to learn something, even if its as simple a lesson as "don't do that anymore". He also gives us pain because he is a just God and won't let our sin go unpunished. Sure, we are forgiven if we are Christians, and sure God will wipe our sin away as far as the east is from the west. He doesn't condem us for our sin anymore, but that doesn't mean we won't feel the consequences of our actions or that we can do whatever we want as Christians. And here is the cool part, i believe God is also longing to give us who have sinned and deserve punishment a greater good as well. He is saying to us, "don't live that way anymore. Come to me, i have somthing so much better in store for you." God isn't a God who says tough luck, you blew it. He says instead, oh well, maybe you'll do better next time. lets try living my way now. This is where I feel i am at. God took somthing away from me recently that i treasured greatly. So greatly, that I very often put it above him. That in itself is sin enough to punish, but I was doing several other things I knew i shouldn't be doing and they were in my opinion, secret. Only a few other people knew about the sinful struggle i was going through, only them and God. God took away my relationship with my girlfriend, a girl who i love deeply and truly thought that i would marry one day. he stripped me of my pride, he brought me to my knees he brought me crawling in my tears to his arms. She made the decision that it was time to put Christ first, forcing me to do the same. I had become callused to my sin and God very painfully ripped the callus away by touching me in my most tender spot. Let me tell you, it was the first time in a long time that i ran to my bible for comfort.

Lets look to the bible for an example of one whom didn't trully deserve the pain, and one man who did.

Job was "a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil." the bible says he was blameless. in other words, Job was a pretty dang good guy. Yet God allowed Satan to take away everything from Job except his life. His family, his great riches, his health, his honor, his friendships...everything. Job did nothing wrong, yet everything was taken from him. God did this to show Satan Jobs extreme devotion to him. throughout it all Job never once cursed God. He questioned God, and basically made the "its not fair" speech, but in his position who wouldn't? In the end, God blessed Job by giving him twice as much as he had before.

Now, lets look at our good friend King David. You probably all know the story of David and Bathsheba. How Dave caught a glimpse of the only woman i know of with the word bath in her name taking a bath (you got to admit, thats kinda ironic) and was filled with lust for her so instead of overting his eyes and fleeing temptation, he decided to find out who she was, sleep with her and murder her husband. He became callused and the sins did the snowball effect. Yeah, you know the story...first soap opera ever. But how many of you know of the punishment and pain David went through? First, his son, born by Bathsheba dies soon after birth, but the trouble goes on as one of his sons commits rape on his half sister, others commit murder, and still another trys to overtake the throne. His wives are bitter, and his son solomon follows much of his fathers footsteps when he decides its a great idea to have a bazillion wives and concubines.... Yeah, David went through pain for his actions, and he paid in full. But here is the part of the story that gets good. David repented and turned from his sin. He was trully sorry for what he had done, and God gave this adulterous murderer the title of "a man after Gods own heart".

i don't want to make people think that they deserve the pain they are going through all the time. i am most definitely not saying you deserved to have your best friend die or to be beaten by your father, or loose your house in a fire. Not at all, those things are not your fault, you do not deserve those things at all. i repeat, you don't deserve that pain so don't tell yourself you do. I am saying however, that we are all sinners and deserve hell, but God chooses not to give us hell if we accept Christ into our lives. So we shouldn't wallow in our pain because we do deserve alot worse, and God will use our pain for our benefit in one way or the other.

And here is where things get really exciting. So, we have screwed up. So we did deserve our punishment. Its time to get over it and use the tool of our pain to teach us a lesson. We must repent and turn to Christ. We must get over the fact that we sinned, step out of the guilt and do what Christ calls us to do. we must stop wallowing in the pain, the bitterness, the depression and live lives out loud, lives that scream Christ. then we too will be "men after Gods own heart"

"This is all going to turn out for my good"! (Philippians 1:19 TLB)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Reasons not to date

This following blog was written throughout the year of 2002. It is all my reasons for not dating. everyone who knows me well now is reading this with a big question mark/exclamation mark in their head because they know i now have a girl friend. Yes, yes, I know that you are thinking look at Tyler's horrible double standards. Maybe you are right, maybe I am not practicing my sermon very well here. Still though, that doesn't mean i think that everyone should hop into a dating relationship as soon as possible. I can say that i am pretty darn sure that i wouldn't be dating yet if I had never met Tina. the only reason we are dating is because it kinda just happened. We became really good friends and talked for about five months and the inevitable just sorta fell in our laps. I am in a relationship and i will tell you that there are draw backs to being in a relationship. its not all fireworks and fun. its work, its responsibility, and i think most of all, if you aren't careful, its a distraction. A distraction against all the great plans God has to use you. The reason I am putting this list on the net is because I have seen so many of mine and my sisters friends depressed over their singleness. I have written this to tell them to rejoice in it. enjoy it when it lasts. don't try to rush into things. you will spend the majority of your life married to somone special. right now you already have the greatest relationship you'll ever have, and thats with Jesus Christ. If you don't have a relationship with him yet, i suggest you make a date. Take Jesus out for supper one night, now theres a relationship that will last. ok, heres my list, read with an open mind.

"this little blip was added on December 27, 2003 (*remember that i wrote this in 2002). ok, well now i have a girlfriend. crazy crazy. i have a list of reasons not to date, yet i have a girlfriend whom i love very much. so, i thought it would make for some interesting writing to look at my relationship under the magnifying glass of my own reasons not to enter a relationship and see if my relationship is a healthy one that i should be in and that God would want for me.

1. dating is a very intimate thing. the two people become very, very close, and can even learn to love each other very deeply. a person has all this love and passion built up inside him/herself. now what do you do with that passion. naturally, to put it bluntly, a couple who deeply love each other will want to partake in Gods gift of sex. However this gift is created by God strictly for married couples. Why put yourself in a situation where you could fall deeply in love with somone and risk the temptation of sex. temptation is not a sin, falling into it or dwelling on the thought is. why start a relationship when you could put yourself in temptations way. even if you are positive you'd never allow yourself to have a sexual relationship before marriage, can you be positive you'd be able to block the fantasies of you and your gal/guy? i'm not sure i'd be able to wait until marriage, at least thought wise, so i will not date yet.

2. As a teenager, we are rather free. the only things we truly have to worry about are school, a part time job, homework, youth group,extracurriculars,....and maybe a few other things. now look at a married man. he has to worry about his wife, his kids, his, fulltime job, his home, his car, his taxes, his payments, and whatever anyone else in the family deals with. those are allot of responsibilities. being that we have few responsibilities as of now, when's a better time to grow spiritually with God. would not having a relationship add to your list of responsibilities? relationships devote allot of time and effort and love. sure you can grow spiritually while having a family and even a girl/boyfriend. but wouldn't it be better to devote fulltime to God until he gives you that special someone?

3. dating shows seem to be as popular as game shows or reality tv now. they are on all the time. a guy meets a girl at the beginning of the show, takes her out, kisses her, makes out, and maybe even sleeps with her. then at the end of the show they decide there really was no chemistry so they have a harsh dumping. its just plain pathetic. it seems the mindset of america is get what you want then dump em'. people will go out not even planning to make it last. i've had friends say to me " i think this one might last more than a month,....i really like her." how sick! We wonder why the divorce rates are going up. adults are taking their dating mindset with them. instead of "If it doesn't work, i'll just call the relationship off", they say, "if it doesn't work out in a couple of years, I'll file for divorce" i don't want this. i will not date.

4. I will not date until i'm positive that she's the one God wants for me. why start a relationship not planning for it to go to marriage.

5. i've seen the pain that a dating relationship-gone-bad can cause. bitterness, pain and anger. i don't want that, and i don't want to give anyone that.

6. in dating you give physically, and emotionally. with each date your on, with each person you date, you give a little bit of yourself. how much more special would it be on your wedding day to have never kissed anyone but your wife, and on your honeymoon never to have slept with anyone but your wife. the bible says "and the two will become on flesh",...how many people do you want to become one flesh with?

7. in 1 timothy 5 it says to think of young women as your sisters in christ. it would be very hard for me to think of the girl i was dating as my sister. now what exactly does sister mean in this context? purity. you would not have lustful thoughts of your sister, don't have them of anyone else.

8. i had another really good reason but i forgot it.

9.to many people go into a dating relationship thinking what they can get out of it. will dating this chick get me in with the guys? will dating the QB get me lead in the cheerleading squad? will she sleep with me. will he spoil me with gifts? relationships aren't about what you can get, they are about what you can give. ( this is what reason number eight was, i remembered, so there really isn't a reason number 8)

10. i am really good friends with this special girl. i like her allot. in fact i could probably ask her out on a date. but i will not do that because my friendship with her is something very special and i don't want to jeopardize it. its just plain not worth it. i'd rather get to know her really well as a friend and see where God takes it from there.

11. I'd rather watch cartoons and hang with shawn.

12. I don't believe in interacial marriage. Perhaps your definition is different than mine, however. Believers shouldn't mix with non believers. enough said. I know, i know,...it was corney, but its very true.

13. one thing about dating is that the relationship is founded on insecurity. since you can break up at any time, its really bad prep for marrige. it also teaches you to very often settle for a the person whos not best for you. both sides of the relationship know that somone better may come along."

Ok, well, thats my list. wow, i forgot about reason number 10, how embarassing...sigh... I may have written those ideas down two years ago but, i gotta say, i think that they all are still pretty stinkin good. so, if you aren't dating anyone, don't fret my friend. Your time with someone special will come soon enough, and in the meantime, enjoy your opportunity to change the world solo. God bless, and tune in next time when we talk about flatulence lighting!

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

testing the waters

this is my first ever blog and this is all i am going to say just to see if everything is working. so, for everyone who just read this, i apologize. you just wasted a good 20 seconds of your life. don't worry though, the next blog will be worth while to read