Archive for April, 2011

As I write this, I sit amazed.  God has been very good to me.  Among the blessings of life and salvation, He has allowed me to be in a relationship with a great woman.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Not necessarily an accurate representation of Hannah and me Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hannah and I are in the middle of planning our wedding and we couldn’t be more excited.  We have hit some snags, nothing serious, just planning and logistical problems and typical financial issues. Most of them come from the fact that there are some key points to this process that are fairly unique to our situation.

Hannah and I got engaged four weeks ago and our wedding is just over six weeks from now.  We are also getting married in another state, on the other side of the country.  We also need to find a place to live once we get married.  There are other issues, involved, but that’s the general idea.  But, God has been very good.  He has blessed us in so many ways, some small, some huge, over the past few weeks, and it has been awesome watching the Master work.  You see, it is not always easy to trust in God.  Trying to plan a small destination wedding has a lot of benefits.  We do not have to worry about tables, chairs, decorations, music, brides maids, groomsmen (we do have a best-man and a maid-of-honor though) and a myriad of other details most couples worry about.

That, in itself, is a blessing.  But we have to find accommodations and flights, rental cars, places to eat, all without ever setting foot in the same side of the country we are planning to visit.  That gets difficult.  Especially when you’re talking about doing this for twenty people.

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1786

This guy is probably planning a wedding

But, in the midst of all of the headaches, God has continually come through. We have found places for everyone to stay, rides for everyone travelling out there, and all of the other details are falling into place.  We still have to find a place to live once we get married, but I’m not worried.  God has been faithful and generous so far.  There is no reason to doubt Him or lose faith as far as that’s concerned.

I guess that’s what Jesus meant when He said not to be anxious in life. There are so many things in this world to cause worry and anxiety, even if you aren’t planning a wedding.  Life brings all kinds of troubles and concerns.  But the same God who created all things is still at work in our lives, and He will continue to take care of us.  Just keep praying and keep your focus on Jesus.  Hes got it covered.

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Finally!!!

Posted: April 15, 2011 in General Life
Tags: , ,
At thirty-three years old, I am now, finally, engaged!  I am going to marry an amazing woman who, for some reason, loves me and wants to spend the rest of her life with me.  I am truly in love with her and I cannot wait to start our life together as one.  Let me tell you about my relationship with my wonderful, beautiful bride-to-be, Hannah.

Shes way out of my league

Our relationship has been a very interesting one, starting about a year and a half ago with a simple dinner between new friends.  Hannah had been coming to the young adult group I lead for a few months and I noticed that we had a lot in common, so I decided to ask her out.  I always knew that our first dinner was a date, but she still says that we were just friends.  She put up a lot of opposition due to some past relationship hurts, so we ended up just hanging out for a few months.  It was great getting to know Hannah during that time, just spending time with each other.

As our time together progressed, we noticed that things were starting to become a little bit more than just friends, so last spring we decided to take a break from seeing each other as much.  We thought that it was best that we remain friends and not ruin that by jumping into a full dating relationship.  During the summer, we really only saw each other at church, and that worked out well for us both.  Some of my friends thought that there was still something beneath the surface, and were not buying the whole non-dating concept.  I guess, looking back, they were right about that.

In September, I took a weekend trip with some friends, and Hannah and I started texting each other.  A lot.  I mean really a lot.  We decided to meet for coffee when I got back, and it’s then that we decided to start dating.  Since we had spent all of that time hanging out earlier that year, we already knew a lot about each other, so we both knew that this wasn’t going to be some sort of frivolous dating experience.  We figured we would start dating with a purpose (we actually told people I was courting her).  Over the past seven months, we grew very close to each other, and spent more time talking about our pasts, our presents and our dreams for the future.

While we were discussing our plans for the future, we started to realize that we couldn’t picture our lives without each other.  We just really enjoyed being together.  So, after a couple of months thinking about it and praying about it, we decided to get married.  So, that’s the basic gist of it all.  I will have more on some of the specifics in other posts I’m writing.  But, for those of you who want to know the basic scoop, that’s it.  We are planning on having the ceremony in Utah this June.  And for those of you wondering why so soon, don’t worry, it is not a shotgun wedding 🙂

Voices

Posted: April 11, 2011 in General Life
Tags: , , , ,
Taking the plunge

You can see the snow at the top of the picture. Where were you, inner voice???

I have a voice that tells me things.  Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but more an “inner voice” kind of thing.  I think we all have this voice.  Usually it is the voice of reason, like when I want to do something stupid, it’s the voice that tells me not to do it because it’s stupid.  Like most people, I believe that this inner voice is there to help save me from myself.  My inner voice is what protects me from bad decisions and keeps me from potentially unsafe activities and ideas.  This is the voice that keeps us (well, some of us) from taking crazy risks. Who knows how many times that voice kept me from jumping off a friend’s roof or seeing just how close I can get to that alligator in the pond behind my grandma’s house down in Florida.  (Where was that voice when I thought jumping into a frozen pond in the middle of the winter was a great idea?)

I am probably still alive because of that voice in my head.  A lot of you would agree that this voice of safety and sanity is a good thing.  But what happens when I want to step out of my comfort zone and try something different in my life?  What about when my inner voice is keeping me from attempting my dream?  What happens when my inner voice is stifling me, keeping me down?

I love to write.  I started this blog about a year ago.  I really just wanted to write and share my thoughts to anyone who would like to hear them.  As I have continued to write and post, I have started to really enjoy the process.  I still write for myself, even though there are some of you who do follow my posts fairly regularly.  I try to post more often than I used to, just because I need to keep writing.  I started to journal about a dozen times in my life, but I never stuck with it.  Now with this blog, I find that I have more motivation to keep writing.  I think it’s a good thing, and even though it hasn’t blown up or anything like that, I feel like I do connect with a few people out there who might think like I do.  That really helps me to keep writing. The strange thing is that this inner voice keeps telling me that I should stop wasting my time and do other things.  It doesn’t want me to try, to put myself out there, to risk anything.

What if I listened to this voice in my head?  What if we all did?  What if Mozart thought that his music wasn’t worth writing?  What if Michelangelo listened to the voice in his head that said his art wasn’t any good?  What if the Wright brothers listened to their inner voices that told them that flying was too dangerous?  What if?

I am not any of those people, and I honestly don’t want to be them.  I rather enjoy being me.  But I’m sure they all heard a voice inside of them that told them that their dream was not attainable.  I believe all of us struggle with stepping out into greatness.  We cannot all be time-honored musicians, painters, sculptors, writers, inventors… but we all have our dreams.  Our lives are generally filled with mediocrity, and most of us fall in line with what society tells us to do.  But inside of all of us is a great battle.  We are battling over ourselves, who we really are, who we are truly meant to be.  We can choose to listen to our inner voice, the one that tells us to sit down and shut up.  That is our choice. but it is just one choice.  We can also choose to step out into the world of the unknown and really attempt to do something great.  That, too, is our choice.

I choose to continue writing.  Even if I only get a handful of people to read what I write.  I love to do it, and I don’t want to let myself down.  I have to go to work, I have to pay bills; these things are necessities in life.  But what am I living for?  What is it that makes life exciting?  Am I willing to step out into the unknown and attempt my dream?

Things in my life don’t always go as planned.  If I had things my way I’d be a full-time youth or young pastor right now.  Well, maybe I’d be a rock star, or maybe  even an Apache pilot.  I would not be still working in IT.  I like computers, but I love people.  I enjoy meeting people, growing relationships and helping people.  I believe that’s why I enjoy ministry so much.  The crazy schedules and events, the to-do lists, all of that stuff takes a huge toll on my life, but the rewards are worth the price.  Seeing teenagers and young adults grow is why I do what I do.  Like I said before, I would love to be a full-time youth or young adult pastor, but I’m content with the way my life is right now.  Would I like my life to look different, of course I would, but that’s not what God wants for my life right now.
Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If only this is what computer work really was

Sometimes we look to God as if everything He does for us should make us happy.  I don’t believe that though.  I don’t think it’s biblical at all, actually.  God doesn’t always shield us from danger or tribulation.  Jesus says in Matthew 10, “…anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.”  Those are some strong words from Jesus.  What I believe He is saying is that following Him is not easy.  I also believe that to think that stronger faith equals an easier life is just wrong.  The apostle, Paul, knew this better than most.  In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul writes, “…Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”

Paul knew that his suffering was the cost of his ministry, and he counted it as joy to suffer for Christ.  His resolve was strong, and his faith even stronger.  He knew that faith did not always lead to a trouble free life, but Paul knew what was truly important, following Jesus.  A life of faith and obedience can (and does) lead to a hard life.  We have to die to ourselves, daily (sometimes even hourly, or even minute by minute) to allow God to work in our hearts and in our minds.  Sometimes that process is easy, but usually there is struggle and pain involved.  Our joy comes from God, not from worldly happiness.  We will lose things we don’t necessarily want to lose.  We will battle our own wills, our personal idols, our desires and even our childhood dreams.  We will have to bury our own ideas of comfort and stability to know that true comfort and stability come from God.