Thoughts,Songs,Writings,Rants,Encouragements, and Life

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Buy This Now!!

I recently got the "String Quartet Tribute to Switchfoot," by Todd Mark Rubenstein . This album kicks. It's all the old tunage of the Foot in the form of symphony styled music. The emotion behind there songs is brought forth and brought to the next level of enjoyment. This is a must buy for all true Foot fans. Seriously pick it will will be will be twiterpated with joy when you are through with this album!
Here is the track listing for ye all!
1 Meant To Live
2 Twenty Four
3 Love Is The Movement
4 Let That Be Enough
5 Sooner Or Later (Soren's song)
6 The Economy Of Mercy
7 Dare You To Move
8 This Is Your Life
9 Learning To Breathe
10 Chem 6A
11 Erosion
12 The Sharing Of Tries (Original Composition by Todd Mark Rubenstein)

Go...GO...are you still sitting there? Go...must have all available Switchfoot material!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ten things to do in life....just dreaming!

In no particular oder at all...
1. Go to a Billy Joel concert. The man himself!
2. Spend a day with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and pick his brians about life.
3. Have coffee with Louie Giglio.
4. Write two pieces of literature: A Novel and a Three Act Play.
5. Climb Mount Hood.
6. Record a Worship album with my father and friends.
7. Act in a Musical in some downtown theater. (NYC, Portland, Kansas City, Austin)
8. Be in a movie, TV Sitcom, or TV drama.
9. Create a Summer Camp for students (like Raft Rally/Summer Scream).
10. Pull a 360 Nose grab, Wakeboarding.

Todays thought provoking quote

"I study my Bible as I gather apples. First, I shake the whole tree, so that the ripest might fall. Then I shake each limb, and when I have shaken each limb, I shake each branch and every twig. Then I look under every leaf." -Martin Luther

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Is Harry Potter harmless???

I recently spent some time with some students here in India who are way into Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, books and movies. This is typical for a 12 year old boy here, as it is in the States.
I have watched for a few years now the craze that Harry Potter has caused on television and in our Youth Groups and Schools. I usually warned students against the books and judged friends of mine who watched the movies and read the books themselves.
This was in part of my upbringing and concern from my parents, I myself was curious and yet held to what my parents believed about Mr. Potter. When the third movie “The prisoner of Azkaban”, came to theaters I reluctantly went to see it with a friend. Telling know one I had seen it and in fact had enjoyed the sets, art, characterization, actors, and most of all the special effects. But I would still not pick up the series of books. I held firm.
Until I had a conversation with two boys here in Hyderabad, India. The boys understood witchcraft was not right and yet they were captivated by these books and said: “we don’t believe any of it, we just think it’s a fun read.” I replied, “witchcraft is a dangerous thing guys, you don’t want to get mixed up in it.”
It was after this conversation that I realized I was bugged. There was something about that conversation that had me thinking. And I couldn’t get that conversation out of my head. I wanted to know what was so captivating about Mr. Potter.
The Kadwells own the series of the first five books. So one night I decided to try Potter on for size, just to see what was so great about him. Some of you may be upset, some my want to scold me (mother) and some may say bravo, it’s about time.
I recently finished the second book in the series. In one weeks time two books down. And here are my thoughts.
1. These books are very well written and have a cunning humor and aura to them.
2. The characters are unique and likable.
3. The stories are captivating and yet beyond the children who are reading these books.
4. The Potter series is in fact not as harmless as some think, for every Potter chapter I put into my head I have to put even more of Christ’s words in my mind.
5. A great read, but may not be the best read for those who are young and do not understand or grasp what they are putting into their lives.
Below is an article from AIM magazine (an Indian publication) I agree with the author on most points, some are far fetched and exaggerated a bit, but his point rings true and those who read Potter should take this article and its thoughts into perspective.

“The reading phenomenon known as “Harry Potter” is sweeping the globe, and it truly has an international presence as readers in 200 nations, in over 40 languages, indulge in this series. A U.S. consumer research survey reports that “over half of all children between the ages 6-17 have read at least on Harry Potter book.
The author J.K. Rowling in her books describes occult practices in a funny and light-hearted manner. Treating witchcraft and wizardry in this matter of fact way makes witchcraft appear harmless and attractive to enquiring minds. This series of books by Rowling focuses on the plights of young Harry, who is selected to attend the prestigious 1000 year old Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Harry Potter is depicted as the hero in defiance to the Dark Arts. However what role model does the hero Harry Potter present to children? A boy who learns how to cast spells, mix potions, has divination lessons in a school of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry Potter is involved in practices similar to those practiced in the occult. Harry Potter may be seen as a white witch, however in the book “the Chamber of Secrets chapter 17 (p.242) the author links the evil Voldemort with Harry Potter describing him as the “very worst of our kind”. The distinction between good and evil is completely blurred in these books.
Children are understandably fascinated with the kind of power that Harry and others in his world possess. Author JK Rowling says, “the idea that we could have a child who escapes from the confines of the adult world and goes somewhere where he has power, both literally and metaphorically, really appealed to me.” Certainly power is appealing, especially “white” witchcraft like this, that is made to look so innocent.
Even some Christian readers agree that it’s “just fantasy” and generally acceptable for the Christian reader. However, occult experts, Marcia Montenegro of Christian Answers for the New Age and Caryl Matrisciana, authors of Gods of the New Age, disagree with their Christian peers. Both have personal experience in the occult before becoming Christians.
Potter fans say that this world is just make believe and has no bearing on the real world. Most Christians recognize the good vs. evil element as being clearly delineated. Evil is evil, and good is good, and good is promoted while evil is not. But in the Potter series, the line is not so clear. The “good” guys practice “white magic”, while the bad guys practice the “Dark Arts.” Yet god is clear in Scripture that any practice of magic is an “abomination” to him. God doesn’t distinguish between “white” and “dark” magic since they both originate from the same source.
Check out Deuteronomy 18:10-14

The problem is, witchcraft is not fantasy; it is a sinful reality in our world.

Potter has caused quite a stir in many nations, (including India), with several Australian Christian schools supporting a banning of the books. Rev. Robert Frisken of Christian community schools ltd in Australia says: “the ordinary person is typified as being bad because they have no (magic) powers, and heroes are the people who are using the occult.” Even many non-christian parents have been concerned due to the greatly heightened fear that their younger children have after reading Potter’s books. Potter books could be seen as recruiting tools for Wicca/ Witchcraft religion. With the rise of occult entertainment the pagan federation deals with an average of 100 inquiries a month from youngsters who want to become witches. An article in the ‘Times’ newspaper, (August 4, 2000), reported an increase in teenage girls interested in witchcraft. Potter books have been claimed to be partly responsible for this.
According to the American Library Association, the best selling Potter series has topped the list of the nations most frequently challenged books for two years in a row. Complaints rose 37% in the past year. Author John Andrew Murray believe that…”with the growing popularity of youth-oriented TV shows on witchcraft-‘sabrina,’ ‘chramed,’ and ‘buffy’- a generation of children is becoming desensitized to the occult. But with Hollywoods help, Potter will likely surpass all these influences, potentially reaping some grave spiritual consequence.”
Potter glorifies the occult. God condemns the occult. Should we take lightly a book that endorses what God has so seriously forbidden?
Several terms are used in both the Old and New Testaments to describe practices similar to magic and sorcery. There is an Old Testament word qacam from which comes divination in some Bible versions while in others it is translated as witchcraft. In addition, there are several Old Testament words from which one can derive sorcerer, witch, astrologer, or magician. Many of these words share origin in meaning even though the words themselves differ.
( I cut this short for the readers sake, it gives various variations on what the words mean and how they are translated. In both the New and Old Testament.)
Parents, whether Christian or not, must take an active role in what their children are being exposed to and determine what is appropriate. Christians especially should be guided by God’s word.
If your children are already reading these books, then use the books as a tool to teach them from God’s word what he says about the occult. Teach them how to share this information gently and lovingly with their friends. It is essential they be equipped to deal with the increasing acceptance of the occult in our culture. Ask, Seek, and knock. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you lead your family in taking a biblical worldview of morality, seeking to please God (and not conform to man). Seek out what the Bible says about the occult and how Christians are to react to it. and knock on the doors to your friends who may also be unsure what to do with Harry Potter.”- an excerpt from Anshul Mullick.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

-Here is my day- composed April 6th

Come Lord invade
Consume this day
Be with me
Each step I take

Here’s my heart
It is your art
Paint your love
On all my parts

This is my all, my everything
I lay it down, for you my king
This is my prayer, my offering
Bowed before, you on my knees

So take my pride
And take my will
In you alone
I’ll find my fill

So take my life
And take my song
Set me apart
For ever long

This is my all, my everything
I lay it down, for you my king
This is my prayer, my offering
Bowed before, you on my knees

Here is my day
And all it holds
Lord be with me
As it unfolds 2x

Sweet Heart Dining

On sunday night I took the boys out for dinner at the Sweet Heart diner. It was a going away party for Babal. Who now is gone, left on a train yesterday for Gujarat. I am going to miss him. Anyway, the Sweet Heart has the best chicken and naan I have eaten in a while. I love the food and they usually have cold sprite, so that is good. Overall I took eight guys out to dinner for less than 16 bucks!!! How cool is that????

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Beauty and the Beast-India Style

So on Saturday Leah, the kids, and I went and saw the special edition version of Beauty and the Beast in the IMAX theater here in Hyderabad. Clark said "we are going to see Beauty and the "Beets." I laughed pretty hard at that, and asked "what kind of beets are they?" He told me they were normal ones. Anyway, the movie was great and I finally got to see the extedned scene of "to be human again." Overall the movie still is great and was an even greater experience amongst Indians who had never seen the classic Disney flick before.
(I tried to post a picture of Beauty and the Beast above this, but my picture posting skillz suck. Oh well, you can remember what they look like.)

Shortest "Costume" ever!!
From the library of Ben

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Swimming pool siting

On Friday I had the great opportunity to go to an official indian water park. "Mount Opera", pronounced o-pear-ah. The place was like a theme park, basically Indias version of Water Waves in up in Washington. The ACCS boys and I swam all day long. We aslo did bumper cars and something the indians here call the "rain dance." The "rain Dance" is basically 175 sprinkler heads set to mist, with music blaring, a tile floor, in a box room with lots of windows. The indians love this and all dance and shout and whoop and holler!! This was seriously one of the funniest and most exciting things to experience. Oh, the swimsuits here are not called swimsuits, they are called costumes! Can you believe it? Weird but fun. The swimsuits were practically speedos! And since i did not know that we were going to be swimming on this adventure i had to purchase the "costume." seriously the shorts went up to my upper thigh! Crazy! And heres the kicker. After the whole entire day of swimming and laughs and fun, i walk away looking crisper than kentucky fried chicken char broiled and put in red sauce. To put it mildy I am cooked!! RED, RED, RED!....But the tan will soon come!! (i hope)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Male bonding

Today clark and I went fishing! No, not for trout or salmon, for boogers. I taught him something I learned years ago from Brad Greenwood. The four steps to a succesful nose picking. Here they are for all to enjoy.

1. Pick it
2. Lick it
3. Roll it
4. Flick it

And that is the best way to take care of the "gold" you find in your nostrils. (Clark now quotes this and asks me to join in with him.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It’s time for bed my sleepy boy
So close your eyes and I’ll tell you a story
I pray your dreams they hold no fears
But be filled with tales remembered for years
Count to three then your swept away
Flying off to a familiar place

Tiger lily and Tinker Bell
Wendy lady with her stories to tell
Hold my hand and we’ll take flight
Off to the Second star to the right
John with his top hat, Michael with his bear
Come on my boy we’re almost there

Pirate ships and Blue Lagoons
Shy mermaids and lost boys too
Follow my leader, but keep a watch full eye
Those mischievous Indians could be close by
So put on your war paint and grab your bows
Walk real light ready to release your arrows

Lovely fairies and Pixy dust
Peter Pan crows it’s almost dusk
There are no nightlights in Neverland
But thousands of stars winking at the island
Hook is scheming though with a crew that follows
So does a crocodile whose stomach is hollow

Little boy you better be where
Some don’t like you here
So stand your guard fight with you all
And in the end the pirates will fall
Capture the ship claim it as your own
Captain Pan will fly you back home

Little boy oh the stories you tell
I used to know them all quite well
I have grown up to fast in this life
Those Neverland dreams have passed by
Count to three and your home with me
Kiss goodnight, I love you little Buddy
Count to three and your home with me
Hug goodnight, I’ll see you in the morning

From the library of Ben

FuN pLaYLiSt

1. The yoddeling veteranarian of the alps-Veggie Tales
2. The Bear necessities of life- Jungle book
3. The Cartoon song- Chris Rice
4. Dowhack ado whack ado whackado-Roger Miller
5. Lion O -Relient K
6. Another Postcard-BNL
7. Return to Pooh corner-Kenny Loggins
8. Taco Bell Canon-Amizin Blue (acapella)
9. The Lion Thing-Parody on the Lion King

Monday, April 18, 2005

Thumbs UP!!!

61 Days after I quit drinking Coke, Pepsi, Thumbs Up, Root beer, Dr. Pepper and the likes I had my first drink of the "deadly" poison that I am so thouroughly addicted to. The coffee shop I buy my daily 7up or Sprite from, was out of both products. I was craving a cold drink; as it is way hot here in India. I made my morning stroll to the coffes shop. Said hello and good morning to the man behind the counter who instinctively now knows what I have come for. He explains that my favorites are gone. I smile and say thats fine. I reach into the cooler and search for something else. Carbinated Water, some fizzy cream colored drink, and various variations on Pepsi and Coke. I chose to grab a thumbs up, knowing in full that I am trying to quit this nasty habit, but the heat is penetrating and making me sweat to much, I must quench my thirst. I pay for the cold drink and take a few moments before I open up the cool beverage in hand. I think about what I am about to do. I twist the blue cap and place my lips to the mouth of the bottle. Will the taste suffice my craving or will it trickle into my body as an unwanted enemy? Neither! The taste is not what I remembered it to be, and I am not so sure that Ilike it. This means I will have no problem kicking the habit again. And yet this drink does not really quench my thirst, but it does cool me down and give me a false sense of being satisfied for the moment. Hopefully I wont have to bear this again. I need my Sprite adn 7UP...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

This is my dog "Buddy." I miss him and his royal perkiness.
From the library of Ben


I want to be an aroma to the world
The sweetest incencse of you oh Lord
Lord let me be like a candles flame
Imparting the light of your great fame

I wish to be a grain of salt
The perfect model of you Oh God
Lord let me be a reflecting mirror
Showing the heart of you clearer

I long a simple taste of your love
The sustaining flavor of you Oh God
Lord let me see your cleansing rain
Washing this heart of mine

I am thankful that you know me
Grateful that you even let me
Know a glimpse of you
Oh lord how I cannot grasp
The mysterious other that you are

So make me an aroma
Let me be a flame
Make me a preserver
Reflecting your fame

I am thankful that you know me
Grateful that you even let me
Know a glimpse of you
Oh Lord how I cannot grasp
The mysterious other that you are

Todays latest jukebox playlist

Todays playlist has a depressing side and a side of hope.
1. Don't be there- Switchfoot
2. What can i do-The Coors
3. That's another song-Bryan White
4. Almost doesn't count-Mark Wills
5. California-Copeland
6. Missing you-David Wilcox
7. Dare you to move-Switchfoot
8. Pressing on-Relient K
9. Send in the clowns-Sung by Frank Sinatra, Words and music by Stephen Soundheim
10. My stupid mouth-John Mayor


Friday, April 15, 2005

-Flexibility in Christ-

"Rubber bands are the fashion statement for those who want to be expanded.”-ME

We have all seen them, we all know there purpose, but there are some uses for rubber bands that can “stretch” our idea of who we are in Christ. I am not sure If that makes complete sense or not. Watch a professional basketball game and you will see a good portion of the players with rubber bands on there wrists. Possibly for good luck or possibly to induce pain on the occurrence of a missed shot, pull the band back and SNAP (red mark appears) as if the hand actually has done something so terrible that it deserves punishment. Lately there is a new form of rubber band on the fashion scene. Multicolored-stretchable wrist bands, (Supporting aids, breast cancer, cancer, and our armed forces). This fashion statement has become a hot topic and quick trend around the world. Another use of the rubber band is in the form of holding a woman or mans hair back from the face.
Question: What is the purpose of a rubber band? What is its job? The purpose is simple, to hold something together, that would otherwise fall apart without the stretchable aide. The rubber bands job is to be flexible and stretchable.
The definition for the word Flexible is this: Flex-i-ble/adjective/ (15th Century word, thus we don’t see the exact word in scripture but we see examples of it.) 1. Capable of being flexed: PLIANT, 2. Yielding to influence: TRACTABLE, 3. Characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.
I have worn rubber bands on my wrists for years. The purposes have varied and changed over the years. What used to be a good luck charm for my three point jump shot in a basketball game, has now become a daily reminder to be flexible with what the Lord throws my way that day. But let’s go back to where that theme got its beginning.
I am a huge fan of Switchfoot, many know this. I am a bigger admirer of the lead singer of the band, Jon Foreman. In the conversations I have had with him I always seem to walk away with something new to encourage my walk with the Lord. Some of these thoughts blow my mind, while others simply “stretch” it a bit more than before. At one concert I had the chance to sit and “wait” for a pizza with Jon. (No kidding, sat at a counter for about twenty minutes waiting for a pizza to come). So I started up a conversation with him. We talked about some of the usual stuff, but there is one thing we talked about that I will never forget. It changed the way I think about rubber bands completely.
I had noticed that Jon wore a rubber band on his wrist just like me. I wondered what his purpose was for wearing it. (At the time I was wearing mine as a sort of purity statement, this was right before I received the gold ring I wear now). Jon quickly replied, “It is really simple actually, it is a reminder to be flexible in life.” As you can imagine I was blown away. I commented on what a great statement and reminder that could be for us as Christians. Jon agreed with the thought and said, “You never know maybe this whole rubber band thing will catch on.” So later when people would see my rubber bands and ask what their purpose was I would reply, “To be a flexible person in this world.”
Like most things in my life things become hybrids of each other. Meaning things get mixed together and brought out in new forms. I soon realized the true potential behind the idea of being flexible in life. I came to the realization that I needed to be flexible with God. I needed to be expandable and stretchable in my relationship with God and what his plans were for me.
For my entire life I have tried to live a passionate and extreme lifestyle. I try to color outside the lines, expand my horizons, and most importantly get out of the box our society constructs for us and tries to hold us to. The whole theme with the rubber band truly echoed my passion to walk a different road and dance a different dance than the others around me. Today when someone asks me what the rubber band means I reply with a grin, “to be flexible, stretchable, and expandable in my relationship with Christ and what he throws my way.” The reactions are all different. Some people are surprised that you could find so much worth and value in a single rubber band. Others are immediately affected and wish to try the same challenge. Others take it and move on to the next topic. We all have things that point our passion towards the Lord. What one person may do to worship the Lord another may find it silly or not as intimate. One of the greatest things about being created unique is that in our uniqueness we can connect to God in different ways. The rubber band is just one of many reminders and stepping stones to worship that I have placed into my life.
Now whenever I see a rubber band I am reminded of my commitment to Christ and being flexible in him and for him. I would encourage you to take this idea and try to apply it to your life for a week and see what happens.
There is another side to the rubber band idea though. Just recognizing the rubber band and its meaning is useless. We have to be continually seeking God and his will for our lives. We have to be receptive for what he throws our way. We have to apply flexibility to our life. We need to know and understand that we will be stretched and we will be tested. When we get to those places in our lives we need to be prepared and ready for what the Lord wants to do for us and with us. We have to step up to the plate and swing smart, not hard. We have to be able to recognize these times and be able to deal with them. The only way we can do this is by going deeper with God. We need to know God fully. We need to dive into his word and his heart for our lives.
We also need to ask the Lord to test us and stretch us. You might think this is crazy, but if you don’t ask to be stretched, what makes you think you will be able to handle it when it comes on Gods time instead of yours? We need to continually be willing to be stretched. We have to want to be moved to new and unknown places in our lives. We need to get out of our “comfort zones” and begin to step into the deep waters of the mysterious and wonderful God that we love and serve.
Check out this passage I found this morning in Nehemiah 4:6-25. I do not have enough space to write this all out, so I will let you open up your Bibles and read the passage for yourselves.
As you read when the work was half-way done Nehemiah was put into two difficult positions and dilemmas.
1. His working men were in danger of becoming discouraged by the enormity of actually completing the building. Also Nehemiah was getting word of concerned family members in the nearby villages that were aware of the enemy’s plans to attack, so they were trying to encourage the men to return home.
2. The other problem was that the enemy, who had increased in its man power and weapons, were threatening to attack.
Nehemiah’s reaction to the problem is a perfect model of discerning leadership. He displayed common-sense flexibility in interrupting the work briefly in order to meet with his people and put into place better security. Nehemiah chose not to be overwhelmed by the issues at hand. God was testing him to see what his reaction would be to the problems at hand; Nehemiah jumped at the opportunity and proved how stretchable he really was and could be if more problems were to arise later on. Nehemiah encouraged his people by showing them what needed to be done. The people’s confusion was great, but Nehemiah was able to turn even their sense of weakness into a foundation for faith. Nehemiah led them by example; he gave it to God and expected them to do so as well. The wall was going to be tuff work and there would be road blocks along the way, but those roadblocks would only prove how deep their faith was in Christ. If they were faithful to Christ he would be faithful to them and Nehemiah new this well.
Like Nehemiah we need to be flexible with what comes our way. We may struggle in our faith and we will be tested in our faith. The question is what will your reaction be to those tests or curveballs? My friend’s will you take the challenge and see how flexible you are. It may be easy and it may be hard, but we are all continually growing and expanding in our dance with our wonderful and awesome creator.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

-A Servants Heart-

“The tendency in today’s culture is to want to be a “star”, but I want to be a servant.” – Jon Foreman- Switchfoot
Jesus was born for a purpose – to serve a need; to serve God’s purpose. He was born a SERVANT! From the day He was born until the day He died, He was serving SOMEONE. He was encouraged by someone to complete a mission – “to give up His life as a ransom.” We often see Him as a miracle-worker, the Savior of the world – He is also a SERVANT through and through. He breathes ‘servant hood’! Being a servant of God defines Jesus’ entire life.During the last supper when He washed His disciples’ feet, He said, “How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them.” (John 13:16) NLV He was the ‘sent one’. He was the ‘messenger’. He was the greatest ‘intercessor’ of all time.Therefore – He cannot be greater than the One who sent Him. All His life He was living in submission to His Master, God.Are we greater than Jesus today? Do we find it so hard to be a servant? If we feel pitiful for being a servant – THINK AGAIN. We are called to be one! Someone once said, “We are SHAPED to be a servant, we are shaped to serve.” That’s the greatest privilege and blessing we have as followers of Him. Even angels delight in serving God. The saddest thing that can happen to us is to have God say, “You’re not fit to serve Me!” This mission was everything for Jesus – it guided everything He did while He was on earth. His entire life was in service for God – including His death! He came for that purpose; He died for that purpose. The purpose was: To serve, not be served. No wonder He has to correct their wrong thinking here. When we ask Him to do something for us, this mindset is wrong. We have to :

(1) CHOOSE SERVICE OVER SELF-INTEREST It is not about your glory. It is not about authority or power! It’s about you doing God’s will. Doing God’s will involves sacrifice, pain, suffering... The Pharisees mindset was “What can my subjects do for me.” That’s the Gentile or pagan’s way. We tend to think that way as well – “What can Jesus do for me? What can God do for me? What can the church do for me?” Our mindset should be “What can I do for others and God.”So bros/sis, the right question to ask is, “What can I do for God?” …for His church; for others.Jesus has never, at any point, become self-serving. SELF has never become an obstacle in this mission. Here are a few examples of that:
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.”
John 7:16 “Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.”
John 14:10 “The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” John 14:24 “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”Believers today do not usually ask, ‘what does God want me to do?’ They’ll probably look for simple tasks, easy jobs… What’s in it for me? What can I gain from this? We pick and choose. We call it our duty and finish as quickly as possible; we don’t see being a servant as a lifestyle.
But I don’t see this in the Scriptures. And I certainly don’t see that in Jesus’ life. Eph 5:25 “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Have we come to the point of shedding blood for the church? Nowadays, when the challenges are great or the battle intense, we just move away and find a more comfortable place. The ‘Hang in there’ attitude is no longer there. Look at Jesus – He came for our benefit, to save us – yet many do not like him, appreciate, or listen to him; these are people who are eager to see him dead on the cross. Yet He hangs in there and finishes the job! Isaiah says to God, “Here am I, send me!” It’s all about God and His mission. If we as Christians do only what is comfortable, then today we won’t have the Gospel. Missionaries would not have been willing to go to difficult places and start churches. A servant ‘waits’ on table – for the Master’s bidding; he waits to fulfill whatever He needs. Are we more like bosses or servants?There is this tendency to DO OUR OWN THINGS – this is the root of SIN. We want to do what we like. That causes our downfall. Therefore Choose service over self-interest. If that is what God delights in, if that is what His church needs, I’ll offer myself to fulfill it .God will bless you - Matt 19:29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”Another thing I learn from the words of Jesus –
(2) THINK LIKE A SERVANTServing God is not about aptitude but attitude. It’s not about your ability but your mindset. We usually associate servants to some kind of work - a cook, a cleaner…But that is not true – I can be a major businessman and still serve him with everything I do. I can be an actor and still serve him. I can be a musician and still serve him with all of me. I can be a waiter or a student and still serve him with all I have.Phil 2:5-11 "5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." When a servant does something, it is always for the good of another; never for his own good. Jesus was here to serve God’s purpose and save your soul. So who was He thinking of? God and You.
A. Bringing delight to God’s heart,
B. Saving your life.A servant puts the interests of God and others ahead of his/her own. It means that if you have a choice to make, and one choice will benefit you and the other will benefit your church, a servant must choose the one that will benefit the church. What do you see that’s good for this church and nobody’s doing it? What do you see that’s good for someone but no one noticed? Our tendency is: “Leave it to the professional!” The cleaner will clean, and the cook will cook… This is not scriptural – ‘servant hood’ is not an organization. All Christians are servants. A non-serving Christian is a contradiction. I’ll show you why - in John 13:4-5 we see that during the Passover meal Jesus “got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” Peter didn’t like that, he believed - Jesus, as the guest of honor, shouldn’t do this. Have you ever stopped and wondered why Peter was so upset? It was because Peter knew it wasn’t His responsibility. Washing feet was the job of the lowest of all slaves. This was unheard of! Jesus was their teacher. If anything, they should be washing His feet! “The room was filled with proud hearts and dirty feet. The disciples were willing to fight for a throne, but fighting for a towel never crossed their minds.”Have you ever done anything good for others that was not your responsibility in the first place? Well, you’re just being like Jesus.
Bucket Analogy- Two buckets of water were mentioned in the Bible.
1. Do you remember what Pilate did when he had a chance to acquit Jesus? He called for a bucket and washed his hands of the whole thing. Matthew 27:24: “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’”
2. But Jesus, the night before His death, called for a bucket and proceeded to wash the dirty and dusty feet of His disciples. Taking on the position of the most low of servants and humbly living (Not acting) out the part. So my friends, which one will you use? Pilate’s bucket is common today. He knew what he should have done but he took the easy way out. He passed on to others the responsibility that should have been his. Many people today pass the bucket and wash their hands clean of everything they can. Pilate uses his bucket to avoid his rightful responsibility. While Jesus used His bucket to take on responsibility, which was not His in the first place. If we call ourselves Christ’s followers, we shouldn’t be looking for ways to wash our hands. Instead we should be getting them dirty.
So what do you do now?
1. Serve whenever you can.
2. Serve whoever is in need. Be willing to do whatever it takes.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

-Inescapable you-

The box of insanity lies open on the floor. It has been opened again, brought to life once more. It captures me and I am caught inside it contents. It used to be on a shelf in the closet, but now it is in my hands with all its contents strewn around the room. It holds pieces of emotions, memories, dreams, bluntness, confusion, indecisiveness, honesty, passion, beauty, charm, Romanticism, laughs, and possibly even love. (Although I don’t know what that is)
See that box was placed in the closet long ago. It probably should have been taken to Goodwill multiple times. And yet it remains in the closet. The box collects dust and is forgotten. It gets pulled out very little these days. Every time that the box gets opened old feelings rush back to us and we have to catch our breath. We have to come to our senses. We seem to get attached to what is inside the box, never coming to grips with the reality of how much of us it holds inside.
The box gets closed and reopened multiple times over the course of many years. The contents catch us off guard and bring old feelings and emotions back to life. I like to think of it as a White Elephant gift that keeps getting passed around by the same group of friends for years and years. The wrapping looks nice and intriguing and yet the contents are still the same, someone always goes home with a candle that looks like something from the 70’s.
But there is another side to the box. The box is always there. Some way, some how it is always around in the back of your mind or showing up at Christmas parties in White Elephant form. The box gets rewrapped and opened many times. The contents stay the same. The intrigue never wears off. We can’t escape this box. Whether we forget it for the moment or not, it is still tucked away in the old memories file in our brains. This box holds pieces of our lives that we can’t live with or without. It has a piece of us and won’t let go. But there are other boxes as well. Some of us keep looking for something more, even when the thing we are looking for is right in front of us. Just as intriguing but not as compatible or suitable as this box. (You could have settled for the singing fish, but no, you wanted that 70’s candle, even though you don’t dare to light it)
This thought if you haven’t guessed is about a girl. There is always that certain person who is on the front or back of your mind. And yet we keep searching for something more. We want to be sure that there really isn’t someone else out there for us. So we open that White Elephant gift, see the candle and set it on the dresser, but we don’t light it for fear of what might happen.
We tend to disbelieve the thought of there being one person for us out there. And yet in the back of our minds, there sits that one person, waiting. (At least for me) In my life this person entered into my little Ben World when I was 9 days old. Yeah that’s right, she was born 9 days after me. We grew up together. I stole a kiss when I was three from her. I chose to open a box and put things inside it consuming her. She was one of the most passionate, beautiful, confusing, and indecisive people I have ever known. The memories would be fun. And the journey would be semi-long, for I would open and close that box for 22 years. And yet over those years I never lit that candle that I fought each year for at the White Elephant party. Lighting the candle might cause pain or be dangerous. Until today that is. The candle has been burned, the wax has dripped down the sides, the wick is black and charred, and the disco design now looks like a bad imitation of a tie die shirt. The candle is no longer of any use. What we have feared has come true.
There is that person who is inescapable in our lives. Always there in your life, and this could possibly be the moment where you connect. I have liked this person for quite some time. She was the person in the back of my mind when I was searching for other packages to open up. And even though I sat like a kid on Christmas morning staring at all the packages wondering which one is his to open. I wouldn’t let myself get to close to anyone else, for the reason of the thought of her popping into my mind. Over the years we grew apart. We grew up. I am terrible at keeping in contact with people. So it was like every six months that I would call or write, and sometimes we would hang out as well. I always walked away from those moments breathless and confused. I thought I could date her, but I wanted to be sure. Fun fact of life, you are never fully sure!!
My mom says this though, when you like someone and they like you back, there is a small window of time to make the whole thing work. This February I decided I wanted to go for it. Decided to pursue this person through courtship, I decided to light the candle. The assault of feelings and emotions that would follow would lead to my doom.
To be completely honest there were some issues from the beginning of the whole deal, but two weeks later I was given up for someone else. I was left confused. And yet I stood by her like a friend and helped her out with life and just sat and listened. The mixed signals she sent confused me and misled me as well. All I wanted was her to make up her mind. And she did make up her mind. She went back to the other guy.
You see I had missed the open door for the relationship to begin. The whole thing was done before it began. There were things that were not right from the beginning though, we could have come to the conclusion faster, but there was the box and its contents in the picture.
There is something to say about the inescapable person. You may not be able to escape them, but they can easily escape you. My friends, I have finally been escaped from. The thought was humbling and the words said were cutting. (Why do you think that after nearly a year of not seeing me that you can pop back into my life and explode?) I don’t know why I tried to waltz back into her life; I thought I had figured out what I wanted, and was going to go for it. Or perhaps I finally got the guts to actually go for it and light the stupid candle. But she has escaped me. I can be a friend through one confusing time, but the second time is where I draw the line. Oh sure I will still be around. Like the John Mayor song “I am the man on the side, hoping you’ll make up your mind.” I told myself for a while that I could wait, that I could listen. That I could place everything into a box on a shelf and forget about it, that a relationship could really be a friendship. I always say a friendship is way better than a relationship. I just thought I had found the relationship that would lead to the one. So in middle school and high school I would have cried and been depressed. Tried to write “love” songs, write letters, send thousands of emails apologizing, singing Bryan White songs (not supposed to love you anymore or someone else’s star) at the top of my lungs. But I have grown up. I need to apologize for nothing. I was honest with her and myself. I don’t sing songs, write letters, and such. I write one sentence. “So here I am. I am done. I give up. I am out!!”
I will walk away from the most intriguing and nourishing box I have found here on earth. And I will waltz back to the arms of God. He has proven that he knows what’s best. He has shown me that he has plans that are bigger than me and my emotions. He is my foundation, not a women, or stupid emotion. The box no longer has any hold on me. It may have given me a bit of life, but I know who gives true life. The box could go back into the closet to be opened some other day, but no! The box is packed, wrapped, and taped shut…ready for the Good Will people to open it and see what is inside that could be of some worth to the rest of the world.
I have chosen to go into as little details as possible so as if not to hurt my friend, but I have been completely honest in my thoughts. Here is a song that really puts the situation into perspective. Take it for what its worth, do not read between the lines. Welcome to my life.

Almost made you love me Almost made you cry Almost made you happy, baby Didn't I, didn't I You almost had me thinkin' You were turned around Everybody knows Almost doesn't count
Almost heard you saying You were finally free What was always missing for you, baby You'd found it in me But you can't get to heaven Half off the ground Everybody knows Almost doesn't count
I can't keep lovin' you One foot outside the door I hear a funny hesitation Of a heart that's never really sure Can't keep on tryin' If you're looking for more Than all that I could give you Than what you came here for
Gotta find somebody Not afraid to let go Want a no-doubt be-there kind of girl You came real close But every time you built me up You only let me down And everybody knows Almost doesn't count
I can't keep lovin' you One foot outside the door I hear a funny hesitation Of a heart that's never really sure Can't keep on tryin' If you're looking for more Than all that I could give you Than what you came here for
Maybe you'll be sorry Maybe you'll be cold Maybe you'll come runnin' back From the cruel, cruel world Almost convince me You're gonna stick around But everybody knows Almost doesn't count
Maybe I'll be here Maybe I'll see ya 'round That's the way it goes Almost doesn't count.

Natalie-by Florez
Verse Natalie, are you mad at me? Why don’t you ever return my calls? Did you lose my number or your mind? It makes me wonder. Natalie, it’s so sad to me: we could have been great together. But don’t tell me that it’s you not me cause that’s the worst line ever.

Prechorus I wanted you so badly; my love you spit it at me. Blonde hair, blue eyes and the song you sang: it took my breath away.

Chorus Na-na-na-na-na-na, You’ll never know this song’s about you. Na-na-na-na-na-na, I’m even better off without you. All you’ll ever be to me is just a memory, Natalie.

Verse Natalie, it was maddening the way you led me on and on. Even when you were here you were already gone. Natalie, it’s a tragedy the way you left me in the dark. You left the game before you even let it start.

Prechorus Chorus

Prechorus Chorus
The adventure continues

India Nights-Written April 10th

I’m here tonight, five stories above the world
Here to find, what I’ve been looking for
The blazing sun sets and fades
Signing off from yet another day
And my heart it sighs

In the sky, stars begin to twirl
The city lights they smile and shine
Waking up as if to say
Hey India burn the night away
Everything has come to life

Pre Chorus-
And here I stand, alone again
Just me above the world
This is my cry, this is my song
That you’d be near me all along

Lord, meet me here, on this roof tonight
Lord, move my soul; tell me that I’m fine
Beneath these stars I find my heart
And it longs to worship you
Oh how it longs to worship you

Here am I, five stories above the world
Come to find, new pleasure with the Lord
I felt your breath and touch
Moved again by your endless love
Telling me again I’m alright

The Lord met me here, on the roof tonight
The Lord he moved my soul, and told me that I’m fine
Beneath the stars he broke my heart
Worshiping him was all I could do
Oh worshiping him was all I could do


Monday, April 11, 2005

In the beginning ...

...there was a blog. He was a humble blog, not unlike most other blogs. The blog longed to be loved, nourished, reprimanded, taught, and listened to. His thoughts and emotions are real and they are beginnning to grow and give birth to bigger deeper thoughts. Thus the realization for the need of a new place to blog. Welcome to my Security Blanket. A place where the mind is free to wander, laugh, and go deeper into the mysteries of this world...