Monday, July 21, 2008

what i'm about right now

i must say that the internet is an amazing thing that sometimes really helps. it's been cool to see what i can do and how i can get the message out.

last night i spoke at River of LIFE in Smyrna. it was a smaller group, but i must say, it was an amazing time to share what God has me being about in my LIFE right now.

blessings today,
--mike ><>

Sunday, July 20, 2008

fun times...exciting times...scary times...

today, missy and i ventured out to a new church. we visited GracePointe Church in Brentwood with some friends.

i must say, it was definitely odd to just GO to church. we talked about it in the van on the way with the whole family in tow, that today was the first time since the first couple of weeks in seminary that we didn't know where to go to church. we have been going to church where i have worked for almost 14 years...pretty amazing.

all in all the service was good, the people were nice, and the experience was pleasurable, but it was definitely difficult knowing our home church was going through so much.

we're going to keep seeking and searching as we look for THE place where we'll wind up, but until we do, we're going to enjoy the process. what else can you do?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

more stuff i have learned recently

as i think about the things i learned, i have to let you know one more thing i have learned from my kids.

2. when i lay my kids down to sleep, one of the things i try to do with them is pray. i know, as a professional Christian you might expect that from me, but i do try to make it happen. unfortunately i get caught up like many people do, in getting the task done so they can get to bed and so i can finally wind down and crash myself. with summer upon us, it seems like i'm going to bed at the same time as my kids these days.

ok, so here's the lesson:
when Lane was young and still in the NICU, we got ready to leave one night, and we said his prayers over him. we quickly realized that we had "punched the clock." we learned it because we hadn't gotten too far down the road and my pager (yep, old school pager with a beeper) went off. we were notified to come back to the NICU. since we didn't have a cell phone, we immediately turned the car around and headed back to the NICU. when we got there we were greeted by a doctor who told us that things were ok now, but that Lane had stopped breathing while we were gone--even while he was on a ventilator. he explained that Lane was having bronchospasms--where his lungs just couldn't get air and no matter how hard the ventilator worked, they were helpless.

when things finally settled down early the next morning, Missy and i decided it was time to head home and try to get some rest. then we prayed with Lane again and realized the line in the prayer that we couldn't get past...."If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take..."

how do you pray that prayer knowing that it might come true? how do you pray and ask God to take care of your child who might die, when He just might do it? the only answer i have is faith. i don't know how, i don't know when, but i know it happened. we began to have a different faith. one that wasn't out for a comfortable moment, but one that said God actually knew best. one that said, our house will be great for Lane and we will take care of him, BUT God's house will be even better and God will take even BETTER care of him.

what a humbling and sober moment for a parent. i wasn't prepared for it. even with my professional Christian status and my theological training, i wasn't prepared for that giant growth of my faith, and God knew it. He knew i wasn't prepared, but He knew i was ready.

So today, regardless of what comes, i don't have to be prepared to learn, just ready. that's why through all of this with my Dad i REFUSE to give up. i REFUSE to blame ANYONE and i REFUSE to get angry. I don't have the right to question God's choice of when it is time for me to grow, i just need to be ready. i don't like growing, but i don't think Jonah, Job, Paul, Simon Peter, Moses, Noah, Samson, or anyone else did either. (pretty eclectic list huh?--and notice they all didn't handle things right!)

what are you going to do with your growing opportunity today?

if you have heard about Sunday's message at Two Rivers, then you might have heard i spoke a little about this. Here is the outline...
1. Our Problems are OUR opportunity to find God's strength and power.
Romans 8:18-19, 28, 31-32
James 1:2-4

2. Our problems are OUR opportunity to find OUR weaknesses
Romans 8:33-36
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul's background 2 Corinthians 11:24-29
2 Corinthians 4:8

3. Our problems are OUR opportunity to explore the height and depth of God.
Romans 8:37-39
James 1:5-8
Psalm 139:7-8

then we sang Great is THY Faithfulness...

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Things I'm Learning...

if you know me, you know i really like to learn. i like to read and i like to watch those shoes on the discovery channel and national geographic channel that no one else watches. now that i have HD tv i find myself watching more weird stuff!

over the past few months i've learned some things. i think i will share them with you in the days to come. today, i want you to know what Lane has taught me...

1. Lane taught me that i am his version of what God looks like--really.

this is how it played out. we were in his room one day and i asked Lane, "who loves you?" he immediately answered, "GAAHHD." if you have heard him say this, you can imagine the sound. it was pretty cool. on this particular day i decided to take it a step or two further. i asked Lane, "where does God live?" Lane took his thumb and hit his chest a couple of times and said, "AAAAHHHRR." that's Lane for HEART.

i beamed as a proud dad who realized his son was getting it. i don't know how much he got, but i most definitely knew he was getting something, so i decided to take it a step further. i asked Lane, "who ELSE loves you?" Lane quickly replied, "DADDEEEY!" yes, i smiled again with pride.

then i did something i had never done before and hadn't planned to do. i asked Lane, "who is God?" i did this because i honestly expected him to respond with the sign language for Jesus, or say "GAAHHD", or anything else, but he didn't. he said, "DADDEEEY!" i quickly told him "no, daddy's not God."

i asked again and again, he answered the same. i was beginning to worry about him. i know he has severe brain damage and doesn't comprehend a lot of what we say, AND he functions on about an 18 month level, but what was i doing to my child? was i locking something into his brain that was forever going to ruin him? was i going to cause him to miss out on faith in Christ because of how he was answering? was i scarring him for LIFE? Funny how when we begin thinking we're so important we realize how quickly we mess things up!

then i realized that what i was seeing was something i had heard for so many years. i was actually witnessing what i have told so many people. We really ARE influenced about our view of our Heavenly Father from our earthly father! i don't think i was prepared for that. my whole LIFE message is to tell others that their LIFE is speaking. i know myLIFEspeaks, but i don't know that i realized what it was saying to my own children.

i still don't want Lane or anyone else to think that i am God. i shudder at that thought, but i do recognize now that when we ride to school, the mall, ball practice, or anywhere else, my kids are looking at me like i'm their version of God. i know they'll grow out of that--D is already growing way too fast for me.

so there you have it. #1....Lane has taught me to always be on the alert because God is being processed to my children through me...pretty scary stuff huh?