Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why You Don't Get What You Want

I will prepare you for this now.

This is a rant against Facebook.  No, I am not complaining about the new layout.  Why would I complain about a FREE tool I get to use on a constant basis?  I am complaining about the users of the free service, but more specifically I am going to rant against the attitude that says if something good is going to happen to me it needs to happen on my terms.

We have a very twisted way of looking at blessings.  God says, "Child I am going to give you want you want," and we respond by saying, "Great, now give it to me like this..."  I watch people talk about how much they hate school, and then when they get done they complain about the job they worked to get.  This is just one example but in the last year or so I have seen people complain about getting married, being pregnant, getting a new home, getting a new job, getting out of school, gaining new responsibilities, and even blessings for their children and spouses.  How much do you think we insult God when we crap all over the incredible things He does for us?  Then we go to God and say I want this, this, and this oh and by the way do it now and do it like I say.  Some of the people I see on Facebook (and a lot of you go to church with me) could be given $1,000,000 and you would complain about having to pay taxes, and if it was tax free you would complain about having to tithe on the money.

I am not being nasty, but I want to wake you up to what you are doing to you and your relationship with God.  God wants us to ask Him for things, big things.  God loves to show off and radiate His power through those who will allow Him to.  What God doesn't honor is when we try to make Him a god of our convenience.  When we look throughout scripture (and our lives if we are honest) God gives us 90% of what we think we need and the rest has to be an exercise in faith to cheerfully accept the blessings that have been given and to honor the blessings that we have been given.

I guess we are fortunate that God doesn't think like me.  I see where we are just complaining ingrates that do not deserve anything, but God still wants to bless us in spite of our poor attitudes.  We do need to realize that in order to be more like Him we need to become a grateful people and not like everyone else out there that thinks we are entitled to more.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Passion For The Lost: An Open Letter

This was going to start very different.  I would have started this with an anecdote that was funny (and you wouldn't have laughed because it wasn't that funny), or a cultural reference about some television show or sporting event.  Instead I post this as an open letter.


I have known you in some way shape or form since you were seven.  I was around you in those years as a leader even when you were in youth group and I would fix pizza bites, tacos (we still laugh about you eating eight in one shot), or other foods.  I remember that the perfect mix of pizza and laser tag when added to heat and humidity and multiplied by soda will make you sick.  I was the leader, but I had a lot more to learn.

I moved away and after a couple of years I was forced to going to church on Saturday for a special service.  See I lost my job and I would have been gone that weekend because of the work I did, but when I thought that I was getting the shaft because of losing my job, God was working.  People that I don't know to this day underwrote the entire service that Saturday.  They thought they were doing this in order to raise up an army within the Church, what they didn't know is that they were going to make sure the "fat kid" got a one-way ticket out of hell and into a life he NEVER expected.

I stayed out of church for a good period of time.  I didn't feel like I got burned by the church, I felt like I got slow-roasted.  I watched people close to me get denied the opportunity to serve and I watched leaders who once had passion begin to turn to their traditions just as they were getting close to what the Spirit had shown them.  It wasn't until much later that I would see that begin in me and I had no desire to stay where I was.  Now hear me.  I don't think I am or was better than these men.  I was given the fast lane in instruction while they, who are still light years in front of me, are happy leaving on the blinker in the slow lane.  Don't get me wrong sometimes we need the slow lane, but that is not the place to stay.

Once I became a Christian God began showing me the darkness inside of those who didn't know God.  I began to grow confused as I sat in a great church, with great music, tons of programs, and incredible teaching only to see people have no reaction to the things they were being taught.  At once the darkness of the people in that church was shown to me.  We left service early that day (sometime between tithing and "Just As I Am.").  I could not handle what I felt.

This is when I absolutely changed.  Once I became a Christian I was passionate about reaching those who didn't know God, but when that happened God spoke in my spirit, "See how I feel?"  Make no mistake our churches, as much as we want to believe it is filled with "God's Army" are weak.  Remember the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:1-23.  There are four soils that represent four people, and you are the sower.  Your job is to sow the seed.  Three of those groups will not take it to heart, but one will and that one will change the world.  How many of us are actually sowing though?  How many of us know how?

It is amazing that Jesus just before he leaves this world says (NESV - New Eric Standard Version) in Acts 1:7-8...Before I jet remember this, Go Everywhere, Tell Everyone, Do It Now!  So we can have big faith to call out money for buildings and provision for sustenance.  We have huge faith to speak words of healing and to agree with the vision of the house we are apart of, but when we go to tell someone about Jesus we are petrified that we will get it wrong and summarily send someone to hell.   Does that makes sense?  Not to me.  I think that we are looking for cheap excuses.

Remember back to the parable of the sower how many places the seed was getting spread to?  Now how many of those non believers do you think have infiltrated our churches.  A church as forward-thinking and spirit led as is our church still has several people that are active in the church but they are as lost as they can be.  Lets not fool ourselves.  This is a way Satan gains footholds into our churches.  As much as I care for you, you would have been better off not having me around as a leader in those formative years.  So here is where the rubber really meats the road.

We should have passion for the lost because:
1.  God does.  He did to such an extent that He came to earth.  Left behind His comforts and suffered a death without dignity.  So, yeah, He really cares about the lost.
2.  We are helping people avert certain doom.  If someone was going to get in a car to drive and they were drunk and without brakes, I would physically restrain them from driving because I know that they are going to kill themselves and/or someone else.  I refuse to send people to their death (even though it is their fault) without a fight.
3.  It is easier to fight when you have an army.  The more of us that are actively sharing our faith will bring about additional believers.  This will continue to replicate.

These are three of my big reasons in order without saying God said so.

When you get passionate find others who are too.  Early on I would get frustrated because others didn't share my passion.  I would hear the lazy tell me how busy their week was.  I would be told by the unwilling that this isn't how you do it.  The "holy" would tell me it wasn't their spiritual gift (show me in the Bible where sharing your faith is a spiritual gift).  I got angry because of the cowardice I saw by those who claimed they had "Big Faith."  This effected how I ministered.  It bred an attitude of  "I will save the entire damn world if you won't help, then I will show you."  Probably not what God was looking for either.

The fact that you are asking God to give you that passion is BEYOND encouraging.  The fact that you are asking shows that your spirit has the passion and you just have a slight disconnect when it gets to the brain.  You will have this passion soon, and there will always be one person you can talk to that understands that passion.  When we talk it will no longer be as a learner and a leader, but it will be as contemporaries that are ready to change the world.

Your Brother,


Saturday, September 3, 2011


So my wife and I were watching Hoarders today.  For those of you that are not aware of this show allow me to explain the premise.  While we are led to believe that these are individual essays on people that can't throw things away, and often live in their own filth, these are not just messy people though.  These are deeply psychologically wounded people that I think (remember I am not a mental health expert just in case you were wondering) believe that trash cans are supposed to be feared.

I can't help being infuriated by this show.  I watch things, for some odd reason, that stir an emotional reaction within me.  These are people whose inability to throw things out actually push out loved ones and destroy their homes.  I watched one home being cleaned out today where they found two cats that died at the bottom of the pile of debris.  Follow this, practically the most agile domesticated animal could not escape the mountain of waste and were likely suffocated at the bottom of the pile.  While the woman seemed ambivalent to the fact that her son and daughter would no longer have anything to do with her because she chose filth over them, she would just sit and complain about things and would have to be prompted to thank people for the hours and days of hard work that would have to be put in while working in biohazard conditions.

I was in full "I hate this woman and wish she would be euthanized by a cat" mode, and then it dawned on me, "We are all hoarding something."

What are you hoarding?  Maybe it is a hurt from a past relationship. You put on that brave face and maybe you even post on Facebook about your independence, but you still carry that scar and it jades your outlook on everything. Another person may be struggling with past failures.  So many times we collect our failures and allow our worst moments to define who we are to ourselves.  The next time you see me ask me what my strengths and weaknesses are.  Watch me struggle to eek out a couple of strengths, and then watch me struggle to figure out which of my many weaknesses are the least inflammatory to admit to.  All of us need to stop focusing all of our demons and start realizing that there is a God that sees us as treasures and not as the worthless people we view ourselves as.  Let me expound on that point:

Imagine my father gave me a $1,000.00 and I set it on fire in front of him, my Dad would view that as a huge sign of disrespect.  He would see that I had no respect for the gift that he graciously offered to me.  In the same way we hurt the Heart of God by looking our lives, lives that He has created for a purpose, as worthless and littered with our faults.  God wants us to live a life that exudes Heavenly confidence.  The type of confidence that I am referring to is not a "God is in control so I will just sit here and do nothing so He can fix it," but rather a confidence that understands that while we are human we a subject to God's rules.  God has a way of taking horrible hurt and turning it into incredible opportunities for growth.

That growth doesn't come without work though.  We can't just sit around and think that we are going to grow because something bad happened and expect God to pull us out of our despair.  God allows us to go through things that are less than pleasant (or flat out suck for that matter) in order for us to grow in our faith and gifts so we can become more like Him.  Going to church alone is not going build your faith in the face of adversity anymore than I am going to acquire rock hard abs by watching Six Minute Abs while sitting on my sofa.  We are going to have to go through work.  God will show you what it is that he is wanting you to do if you will spend time in prayer and listen for His voice.  The listening part is key.  Prayer without listening just becomes a laundry list of demands without truly trying to seek him.

You are not the sum total of your mistakes.  You are were made with a purpose and that purpose is not to be a luggage carrier.  Your baggage is not meant for you to carry.  To become all that God has intended us to be we have to stop hoarding pain and depression, and start stocking up on His promises and seeking His blessings.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's Been A While, but at Least I Am Not a Hack

Since I last blogged Osama Bin Laden has been killed.  Dirk Nowitzki won an NBA championship.  The NFL settled a labor dispute.  My son graduated Elementary School and started Middle School.  I have had three jobs (I am really enjoying the new one by the way) and a ton of blogging ideas.  Why have I not brought it to you good people?  That is a short story that I will make undoubtedly longer than is needed.

So, a little back story on me for a moment.

For fun I used to do stand-up comedy.  If there is one thing I hate it is getting sick, but if there are two things I hate, it is a hack.  A hack steals other people's bits and then uses them as their own without any real passion and by proxy makes the original bit come off as stale.  I can't stand to see a comic go up to the stage and do other people's material.  Comedy is hard.  For every George Carlin that has 20 hours of original material, there are 1000's of local guys across the country that survive on the same 15 or 30 minutes that they have been doing for 10 years.  I made an early proclamation that I would not be a joke thief.  Since then I have tried to be somewhat original.  I know that I am influenced by the things around me and that can often shape the cadence of my speech and the integrity of my ideas, but I work to arrive at notions through my own process.

Why did you make us read that last paragraph, Eric?  I did so because I didn't blog on many things because the ideas I had were getting written or preached around me, and the last thing I wanted to appear to be was a HACK.  Example?  I am glad you asked (although undoubtedly you are sad now that you have).

I wanted to start talking about the 10 commandments, but I wanted to tackle it from the side of saying these rules provide freedom.  Illustrating that anytime rules are broken, bondage is sure to follow, but I found out that my Pastor was preaching on the same thing.  I didn't want it to appear that I was stealing his material so I sat on my thoughts.  I didn't want to be a hack.

Several times things like this has happened to me.  I want to talk about money, guess what the current series at Church is?  I want to post something about pop culture and I find it was just written about on Grantland.

Today it dawned on me.  Who cares if I feel inspired to write something guess what?  I should just write it.  Inspiration comes to all of us and if we are honest many times we have similar thoughts but they are delivered differently.  We should all risk being a little hacky from time to time.  If you look at your communities the same problems that existed ten years ago are still there, but only now they are a little worse.  Drugs got cheaper.  Families get split up more.  Abortions got more prevalent.  Children get parented less.  People get deeper in debt.  Foods got more fattening.  We all got more lazy.

When one of us is sharing our message it is good.  When all of us are sharing our message it is better.  When we all starting sharing and living out the message it brings change.

I know it brings change because when all of the drug addicts and alcoholics tell people about their message and they live the lifestyle that is in harmony with that, we get more addicts and drunks.  Same with debtors, homosexuals, and the obese.  Is the message that you say in accord with the way you live, or are you even sharing that message you have?

Too many times we are guilty by our silence.  We speak our minds about everything else, but we forget to speak about what is most important.  I allowed my small platform here to be vacated for fear that I would sound like someone else.  No more.

I will be here to ramble about what I am inspired to talk about far more often.