Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Today marks the day that Jesus died on the cross... and the word good in front of today is finally sinking in a little bit. I never understood it growing up... death just isn't a good thing. Call it good Easter and leave just Friday in my opinion.

Last night at the church we had a presentation from a completed Jew about the meaning of the Passover Seder (the meal the family has). There was a part where they play a game with unleavened bread. They wrap it in a napkin, place it somewhere in the house, and then send the kids out to go find it. When they find it, they take the bread from the napkin and distribute it in olive size bites to everyone present. This picture stuck out to me because Christ's body was literally and figuratively broken for me. It was broken for you who are reading this. It was broken for people you are going to see with your very own eyes today. And it was broken for people that you will think about. He died so that we may live... not just on Earth but in heaven after death. My life is now eternal.

The funny thing about that is now I just want to give it away. There are days I genuinelly struggle with this, but in principle I feel free to give my life away to others... I was bought with a price and I choose to be in submission to the Lord in whom I love with my whole heart. He gives me such hope that I can't even explain it. When I think about Him, I can't be consumed with worldly things or even worldly problems. They're still there, but they don't control my life anymore.

Jesus gives me meaning in life. Without that I don't know what I would believe in. I would be a different person. I wouldn't be who I know as myself. But when Jesus went to the cross, he died for my sin before it was even committed. He's infinite, outside of time as we understand it. He's omni-present... He can be everywhere at once. What in the world would that be like? How...

Jesus, I love you. I love that I can't understand you. I love that I can find rest in awe. Thank you for today, for hearing insults that you didn't deserve. For taking beatings that were meant for us. Thank you for sacrificing your life and not being scared. Thank you for following through, fulfilling prophecy that had been told hundreds of years before your birth. You felt things on this day that I'll never have to. You saw hate like I will never experience. But because of the love you had for me, you're now the love of my life. Above my wife, above my family, above my friends... I love you more than anything in my life. I find security in you, I feel you growing me and pushing me towards more meaningful things everyday of my life. I feel you living inside of me and pushing me out of my comfort zone. I hear you in the morning making verses come alive to me and helping me understand why they're coming alive at this stage in my life. I know you're preparing me for my life and glorifying yourself through the process. Help Becky and I die to ourselves and let this day serve as a reminder to always do that. Thank you for giving me a joy that doesn't make sense.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You're the key...

Given that Becky has 168 blog posts compared to my 25, I'm going to try to catch up.

I heard this phrase the other day, probably from Glenn Beck, and it got me thinking.  He was talking about how you (the people of America) are the key to turning our country around.  You're the engine that drives our economy.  Part of me doesn't see how this could be true after politicians do whatever they want regardless of what I tell them.  Maybe it's because I live in a Democratic county and I don't understand a lot of Democratic ideals and policies.  Trust me, I want to.  I just haven't been able to grasp it yet.  I beg someone to explain these to me.  But then there's another part of me that doesn't see how this couldn't be true.  We elect the government, we tell them what we think and if they don't listen, they don't get re-elected.  And beyond that, how many campaigns do people get excited about only to go back to "their" life after it's over?  And what changes with the government?  Oh it's hopeless... please don't tell my President I said that.  That change is hopeless.  I digress...

This phrase struck a chord in me.  Back at Purdue at my church (Elston Heights), they used to have a youth minister there that I really didn't know very well.  I would see him around everywhere, like helping people move or playing basketball or whatever... and would talk to him on occasion but not really about deep stuff.  Then all of a sudden, my senior year rolls around and I start seriously thinking about what I should do after school.  I could either go into ministry, which I would find fulfilling, or I could go into corporate world and try ministry there.  The challenge seemed endless in the corporate world, so I ended up choosing ExxonMobil.  But there was about a month where this choice really wasn't clear to me.  So one Sunday this guy decides to leave the church and move on to bigger and better things.  I go up to him at the end of the service (kind of like an invitation time) to tell him good luck, and he grabs me in a hug and tells me in my ear, "You're the key Chris, you're the key to this place."  Elston was at the brink of growing (which it eventually has, it's doubled since I graduated).  But at the time I felt a lot of pressure to stay and "do ministry" at Elston because people depended on me and I would've been good at it.  I went back to my chair while the service wrapped up, and sat there staring at the ground with tears streaming down my face.  Not a sob cry, just a silent cry.

Megan asked what was going on so I told her what he had said.  Later on that day she was pretty upset by it because it seemed like the only way you could do ministry is if you went into a church position or some type of full time vocational ministry.  Her and I always agreed that corporate ministry would be far more of a challenge and would probably grow us more as Christians.  Listen, I'm not talking down to working in a church.  My wife does it.  Lord knows I would much rather do it from a comfort factor, but he's wired me in a way that has to keep pushing towards what He's called me to live out.   So after a lot of debate and a lot of counsel from people I trusted at school, I decided to go with ExxonMobil and hope that I wasn't the only key that could unlock the barriers that kept Elston from growing.  Well the Lord provided another key... not a person, but Himself.  At the end of the day, I couldn't believe that I was bigger than God.  He created me... once I thought those 3 words, my decision was made.

So the question is, are you really the key to anything?  Or are we asking the wrong question?  How would you live your life any differently if you knew that someone else's life depended on you?  If your smile to them during the day made their day better, would you smile when you saw them?  If you working later one night allowed your boss to spend a stress free dinner with his/her family, would you work later?  Tonight while reading my old yearbook, I read a lot of things that said, "Seeing you made my day... I admire you... I look up to you... thanks for caring about me."  The funny part to me was it was a shock to read those things 7 years ago for the first time.  It still is a shock.  I think to myself, "What did I do?  I was just being myself".  I didn't have to try to care about what was going on in your life, I actually did.  It's helped the way God has wired me because I don't have to write down conversation starters for when Becky walks in the door.  I don't have to painfully think of questions to ask her.  I genuinely want to know, and usually want to know more than what she tells me the first time around.  I want details.  I don't know why I care so much, but it's not something I try to get better at.  I just accept how I am and honestly look at Jesus' character when I read the gospels in the morning (most mornings).  I read it and say, "I want to be that.  Lord, you live inside me so make me a reflection of that characteristic in you."

For me, if I knew it would make someone's day if I smiled at them I honestly wouldn't do it.  It's extreme I know and it could be heartless, but I have such a negative reaction to fake.  I don't want to come anywhere near it.  I would rather have the character to work late not knowing what my working late is doing for my boss.  I would rather do what's right, because it's right, until it feels right (thanks Mom for DRILLING that into our heads).  I would rather smile because of something I'm experiencing or because of a memory, not because I need to be happy in that moment.  There are times in life to fake it, but very few.  Becky and I challenge each other to not make excuses even for those few times where it would make sense.  It's my prayer that you would do the same.

You are the key to something... just don't get jaded into thinking you control what lock in life you're meant to open.

How are you? Stay tuned...

Whenever Becky leaves town, something weird happens to me.  For one, I lose all ability to make myself a decent meal.  I literally forget that I need to eat and end up eating cookies at 9 o'clock because I'm really hungry.  Second, I get REALLY introspective.  This house is so quiet.  I'm not a talker when Becky's around, so you can imagine what I'm like when I'm by myself.  It's downright boring.  But in the midst of all that, some pretty cool things happen when my brain starts thinking for the sole purpose of thinking.  It hardly ever happens.

Tonight I pulled out an old high school yearbook and started reading what people wrote.  I didn't look at any of the pages (sorry yearbook team, but even 7 years (what in the world, it's been 7 years!) after high school I still don't care who's going to be most successful).  All I wanted to read was what people wrote.  And really I only wanted to read what people wrote that I still "know".  There's people in high school you would say hi to if you saw them, but very few that you could talk to for more than 5 minutes without wondering when the awkwardness would go away.  Thankfully, I have a handful of friends that I still keep in touch with on a very loose timeline.  I get upset with myself every time I think about it because I haven't kept in touch like I thought I would.  But with these friends, I can call them anytime and we can pick up like no time has passed.  Same with college friends.  It feels nice to be loved and to love.

Recently I heard from a whole lot of you through facebook.  Monday was my birthday (25) and out of the woodwork you all came to wish me happy birthday.  It was a fun surprise seeing my email fill up throughout the day!  But I hated the few times someone got a hold of me through text message or by phone and asked "how are you, it's been SO long since we've talked!"  It's near impossible for me to make small talk.  It's also impossible for me to not say something that I'm thinking (just ask Becky... I don't really have a filter.  She tells me all the time, "Some things are supposed to stay INSIDE your head... but I love that you're so open.")  When someone asks me that question, I want to immediately schedule a two hour session so we can really catch up.  Even though I don't talk to you on a daily basis, or even a regular basis, I still really want to know what's going on in your life and I really want to tell you what's going on in my life.  The good parts come out first, then around 20 minutes or so we get into the first pieces of the real story of what's going on in your life... then if you can stick it out for about 50 minutes, then filters are usually gone on both sides and you can have a real conversation.  It's getting people to stick with me for 50 minutes (and for me to have that much free time to run my mouth on the phone) that's the hard part.

So here's what I'm going to do... On this blog, I'm going to write a 5 part blog series titled "How are you?"  I'm going to update my readers (I think I'll start calling you my fans, that sounds more fun) on how I'm really doing.  I'll do my best to filter things but still be completely honest.  And yes, Becky will more than likely proof read before I post.  But there's things about our marriage that I just truly find fascinating that I want to let all of you in on.  And there's things that the Lord is teaching me that I wasn't ever trying to learn.  There's a lot of things that I'm (and Becky) are sacrificing in our lives right now.  Balancing work with life is a reality.  Talking to GOOD friends somehow takes planning now.  And traveling to go on vacations isn't an option unless someone else wants to pay for it.  If you really want to know what's going on in my life, then you have two options.  1) Call me and ask the question.  I'll know what you mean.  If you don't have my number, leave a comment and I'll email it to you.  Sorry, I've grown a lot, but I'm still paranoid putting my phone number on a blog.  2) Read the posts.

I'm making no promises on a timeline.  By now I'm sure there aren't a lot of readers.  No problem.  I had a lot of pride to deal with when it came to writing.  I don't know if I'll ever trust myself again to write with absolutely pure motives, but I'm not going to be paralyzed by that fear.  I used to write to impress, now I just want to write.  If I notice the performer coming out in me, then I just shut it down and really look to the Lord to do a work in me before I'll attempt it again.  So be patient... or don't :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Call Sheila Jackson-Lee

Ok Houston, here we go...

First things first. Sheila's phone number is (202) 225-3816. Don't email, call!

Today the House is voting on the "stimulus" package that Obama and most Democrats support. Our representative is no different. I just called her office and confirmed that she is in support of this. However, I talked to a wonderful lady named Judith who was very good in talking this over with me. Our representative is led to believe that 2/3 of the stimulus will be spent in the first 18 months. By other estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, only 16% of the package will actually be spent in the first 2 years.

She said her whole point in supporting this is to create jobs and get this economy moving again. Then, very awkwardly, she threw out the term "tax relief". Kind of funny.

So this is what I told her. I asked her to let the Congresswoman know that I am against this stimulus because over a third of it is geared towards expanding government (which it is), it contains very little that will stimulate the economy now (which it doesn't), and if she really does want to create jobs then REAL tax relief is the way to do. I asked her to pass along that we should cut the corporate tax rate in America by 10% and that the federal income tax rate should be cut as well in order to give companies incentives to hire (they get to keep their money and therefore create an income for someone else) and people will have more income to spend, invest and save.

She thanked me for my comments and assured me the congresswoman would know my views. I thanked her for her time and said, "We're all trying to do the same thing, I'd just like to see jobs actually created."

So if you're in our district, I urge you to call. It's one thing we really can do today instead of feeling helpless with the news. There's A LOT of opposition to this and Congress needs to know about it.

Monday, January 19, 2009


After returning from Washington D.C., I started thinking about the state of our country these days. One of the most memorable parts of my trip was going to the Jefferson Memorial at around 7:30 at night. It was pitch black except for a few lighted posts along the sidewalk leading up to the monument. Once inside, there are 4 different quotes from him talking about the freedoms American's should experience and the belief that God should be central to our governing decisions. I was inspired by this. I sat inside the memorial (all by myself by the way) and just stared at his statue and his words. It wasn't a worship type thing at all... I was just truly impacted by the forward thinking of this man. What insight, what conviction, what decency was at work in him when he was alive?

Coming back home, I watched 2 documentaries on George Washington and Andrew Jackson. For different reasons I found myself viewing them in much the same way as I had viewed Jefferson last week. These men weren't perfect... they didn't even live "privileged" lives. They simply found the cause of freedom something worth giving everything they owned to experience. We've lost this as a nation. Instead of giving, we've turned inward to protecting our interests before others. We've become pretty selfish... so much so that even when you try to give you ask yourselves questions that I don't think they would've asked back then. Will we be able to survive without this? Their answer, "I won't be able to live if I don't give my life for this cause." It's so inspiring to me!

On the eve of this inauguration, inspiration isn't a word that I tie to politics anymore. So I thought I would share something I heard on the radio the other day in hopes that you will be inspired. They were talking about inaugural addresses and went all the way back to George Washington's very first inaugural address as President of the United States. This had never been done before so there wasn't really a precedent to follow. After taking the oath of office with his hand over the Bible, he leaned down and kissed the Bible with his lips. After that, he followed by opening the Bible to Deuteronomy 28 and read from the chapter about the blessings and curses a nation can expect to experience depending on their devotion to the Lord. I read this chapter today and in light of the state of our country and the attack on religious freedom and truth, it was a very chilling chapter to read. Filled with truth, but when thinking about our current government... little hope.

"Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. But now, all who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from my hand: You will lie down in torment."

Isaiah 50:10-11

I read this this past week and it was talking about the urge to do something when you see something that is in real need of fixing. Our first question is always, "What can I do?" This verse makes that question uncomfortable for me now. I don't want to ask that of myself in fear that I'm following my plans to fix whatever the problem is. I need to be less concerned about what I need to do and more concerned about what I'm naturally doing.

We've been created uniquely in the image of God. Each one of us with different personalities and characteristics being a single representation of a God that's beyond explanation or characterization. His representation is endless. Therefore, if each of us could be everything that we were made to be, do you think the Lord would be glorified with our lives? It's so much more realistic to me than trying to put me into a role that I don't really fit into. I'm in computers for a reason, and out of fine arts and stunt devil work for a reason. It has to do with my design.

What state would our country be in if we paid attention to how we were designed and lived in accordance to the natural heartbeat that God placed in us to follow Him?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


21 posts in 2008? What a joke... I'm taking another approach to blogging. I'll still blog long things for those of you who like to see that I posted and then read it when you're off of work and won't get in trouble for spending an hour on a site. Don't worry. But I'm going to try to post short things too. Keyword is try... this does not come easily to me.

So we started something new yesterday. A way of eating that includes everything organic. Becky found out about the plan from her Dad & Step-Mom so we decided to do it too. So we go to the store and spend a couple of hours finding organic vegetables, fruit (did you know avocado was a fruit?) and anything else in the store that had an organic label on it. Pretty soon it didn't matter what it was, we just threw it in the cart and Becky decided that she would find some way to insert it into a meal.

At first it seemed fun. Eat healthy, feel better, live longer. As I came upon hour number 2, I started getting really sad. When Becky picked up rice milk is when it started. I had switched to soy about 6 months ago which I thought was a HUGE sacrifice. Apparently I had more room to grow... when Becky saw that I really didn't want it, she frantically started searching for something positive. Thinking she found it, she said, "Hey! Look at this. What does that say??" I looked and said, "October 2009". She said, "See it will last forever..." in which I said, "Oh joy! You mean I can drink this til October!?!"

Becky was great about it. She even joined me in humming the Undertaker's theme song (think of a funeral march... bum bum bum bum, bum, bum bum bum bum bum bum (I'm singing it in my head and just realized that typing the same word 10 times probably doesn't convey the song to you. Good luck with that.)) as we went to the checkout counter.

Good news: With having nothing at home to eat, we only spent $220. I was amazed it was under $300 and so was Becky. She was so worried about it, she said later that she was praying it would be under $300. Bless her heart.