Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Giftings


James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I believe that everyone comes into this world with a gift to share that was given to them by God. When I think of someone who's "gifted" I think of people who are very intelligent, or who are obviously talented in some way. What I find interesting about the idea of gifts is what they all have in common, whether you're an artist a mathematician, or just have the "gift of gab" we're fascinated by them because they're all an expression of the perfection of God. Knowing what our spiritual giftings are can take time to understand, or some just know it all at once! I don't think that knowing what our giftings are represents the greatest challenge to people, the challenge is in how we use them.

Romans 11:29
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts that God gives us are ours to do with as we wish, of course that doesn't mean that everyone uses their gifts to honor God. Some intellectually gifted people become enamored with their gift, and make a considerable effort to convince the world that they alone are to be glorified through it. They make a god out of "intelligentsia" or the acquiring and expression of knowledge which has the effect of distinguishing their separateness from other people. In my opinion, the sign of real intelligence is to understand how little we actually do know and to have a perspective which can conceive of how small the differences really are between ourselves and those who we may see as somehow less intelligent.

Speaking of being "glorified" through our gifts, I want to pose a question or a scenario for you to consider...

Our relationship with God the Father is often explained or illustrated by using examples of our earthly familial relationships. I came across this example several years ago and it's stuck with me ever since...Imagine a young boy who has been invited to build a car to run in a race, he approaches his father with the idea and together they build this car. Of course the father is the one who suggests the design of the body and the one who advises the boy to use graphite on the axles to minimize drag. He also encourages the boy to paint the car his favorite color and to pick out the number he puts on it. On the day of the race the father goes with him, and when the boy's car wins the race he steps forward to accept the trophy. As the father, we want our children to have this moment of pride over whats been accomplished...after all, they did play a role in it! But when the child received the trophy he said "I thank you for this recognition, I want to acknowledge all the competitors here today who also worked very hard on their cars and who on another day perhaps might've beaten me, but today is mine and I shall cherish it. None of my accomplishments here today would've been possible had it not been for one special person in my life, that person is my father!" And the father smiled even wider as he wiped away a tear of pride over some greater good that was established by this race, never once feeling slighted by his son's moment of pride.

Never let being afraid of what will happen stop you from using your giftings, even if you're afraid that you'll be too puffed up with pride as a result...Never hold back your giftings because you aren't able to control how others react to them...Our enemy has this whole world bound up and the only thing that has the power to break those strongholds is the releasing of our giftings for others to see. I want everything God has for me, I want to let His light shine through my giftings, and I'm not going to let the enemy lie to me and tell me that I shouldn't do it because I may not be able to "handle it" or because of the approval of other's!

Romans 9:16

It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.

WOW! The big lie is that it 's US! Satan can always count on mans ego...

All we're doing is setting the car on the track and letting go of it!

The work has already been done FOR US!

It really gives a new perspective to the phrase,

"What would you allow God to do through you, if you knew that HE couldn't fail?"

This is powerful stuff, and our enemy will fight you tooth and nail to keep you from acting in your giftings because he knows how powerful a person who knows who he is IN CHRIST is, he saw what happened that day in Jerusalem when Pentecost broke out and the power of Gods Holy Spirit was loosed and he really doesn't want to see anything like THAT happen again...but it's going to, and then the fullness of the Gentiles will come in, the age of the church will be over and Jesus will come back for His bride.

Too simple? yeah I know...even my 8yr old get's it!

Many have tried to make it complicated...Or even told outright lies about it

Sorry Mr. Paine, but there's no need for "The Age of Reason" not then, not now...

Mr. Dawkins,The real delusion is yours! It's not all about "Meme" or even you-you!

I serve an awesome God, and I'm proud to serve The King Of Kings and Lord Of Lords!

He's a God who loves to give us gifts, because He loves us so much!

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 4:7
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

2 Timothy 1:6
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

1 Peter 4:10
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Let It Begin


If you should attend an American Christian Church it's likely that at some point you'll hear the term "Revival" used. In conjunction, you'll probably also hear the word "Evangelism" spoken as well. These words conjure up images of fiery preaching that takes place in a tent on a steamy summer night by a traveling minister of the Gospel. Or perhaps a man standing on a street corner passing out gospel tracts to passersby attempting to engage them in a one on one discussion as to the eternal destiny of their souls. Everyone who calls himself a Christian has been commissioned to "go out into the world and make disciples" by whatever means is available to them. To that end, Americans give enormous amounts of money to support our local church's and overseas missionaries. Some of us are also involved in various capacities within the church or are busy conducting outreach ministries. With all of these ongoing evangelistic endeavors I wonder why the church is still in need of revival. What I mean is, given the number of Christians in this country and all of the efforts being put forth by them I would think that we would have folks standing outside the doors of our church's waiting to get in but of course that's not the case. Instead, statistics I've seen say that for every church that opens one closes and that most of the new members added are simply people who became dissatisfied in some way with their previous church.

It's really not that difficult to get new people to come to your church. As I mentioned previously, Some congregations offer relevant targeted programs designed to be of interest to people outside the church to get them inside the doors. There are door to door invitations that are extended to people and even personal canvassing of one's own friends and extended circle of influence. All of these are good and you'll almost always get some response from them. And while you may see a bump in the attendance numbers for a few weeks too often that's about it! While this is perhaps an acceptable scenario if one is selling Amway or some other multilevel marketing product to people, I don't feel as though it's an outcome that we as the church should be satisfied with.

Being able to keep what you have is a critical principle of heating and cooling that's accomplished by using insulation, we can get all of the people we want into the church but without having Jesus to meet them and keep them there we're wasting our time! If we're NOT living in victory and demonstrating to them a genuine and powerful life changing faith empowered by His Holy Spirit or offering them a hope that's beyond this life and showing them the love that's been shown to us then exactly what do we have to offer them? If people who come to our church's can't see Jesus in us then we have a much bigger problem on our hands than how to fill our sanctuaries. If weve not crucified our flesh or died to our"selves" then that's about all they'll see is a bunch of hypocrites! The devil will make sure of that...

I believe that we as the church have got to put our own spiritual house in order if we truly want to be the vessel God uses to bring revival in our nation! It's our personal choice to make whether we want to be the church of Laodacea or the church of Philadelphia, I say personal because each of us is a walking talking "church of something" we're all "selling what we're living"! I say "choice" because God gave all of us a free will, and we're free to decide which area's we do and don't give over to God. We each must individually choose to make Jesus Lord over everything in our lives! The alternative is to presume that the Holy Spirit is going to cohabitate with a bunch of dirty stinking rotten sin that we're still holding onto in our lives...or even worse, that He's unable or unwilling to deliver us from it... which is a lie straight out of the pit of hell!

That's living in defeat, not victory! We're called to Holiness which is the highest expression of love toward Jesus,Others and Yourselves! It's also the greatest aversion to everything which isn't holy, that means that we as individuals should have no tolerance for any form of sin in our lives! It is to be rooted out and dealt with. No exceptions, no blaming or finger pointing at each other, no excuses as to why we just can't do that or why "That stuff just happens" ...We've been empowered by the blood of Christ to be that Holy, spotless, bride of Christ and we're either going to pick that up and run with it or we're going to let the Devil deceive us into "Not being so unrealistic" or perhaps he'll convince us that by doing that we'll be "over our heads" and might find ourselves in places we've never been that are scary! Oh they're scary all right, but not to us! they are however terrifying to the demons we're harboring and if you want to see the devil squirm and panic build an altar in your home and then use it! Keep a prayer log of things you've prayed for and the answers you've gotten, or how about getting rid of that "portal of sin" known as a television!!! OOOHHHH! you really hate me now! You choose! blessings or curses, excuses or victories, ourselves or Jesus, our will or the Fathers, We've been deceived into believing that we can have both by the liar and we most certainly...cannot.

More than anything, I want to truly be crucified with Christ, to be a new creation that the Holy Spirit would find willing, empty and ready to be filled, So let it begin with my surrender!

I can't change anybody, but I believe that if I die to myself and am filled with the Spirit then ALL things become possible with Christ!

John 12:32

"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

He said that by His death, which happened when they lifted Him up on a cross after nailing Him to it...that all men would be drawn unto Him.


You want a revival so great that you won't believe it? Do you want to see a move of the Spirit like what happened at Pentecost? I'm looking for it to happen at least one more time before He returns for His church, and I believe that when it does happen it's going to stun and bewilder the entire world! I want to work that harvest, and even though it's late in the day I'm signing on...Will you come too?

This is my first move!

Father God,

I humbly ask your forgiveness for my pridefulness,my arrogance, and for all of the ways that I have fallen short and sinned against you. Father, search my heart! I ask that you would send your spirit again to convict me of all the sin in my life that has to go. Even though I'm so unworthy of it my desire is to be a surrendered vessel filled with your Holy Spirit. To be empowered to victory over those sins by the atoning blood of my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who was crucified,died, and rose on the third day. Father, I'm so thankful that you sent your son that I might receive His righteousness and be restored In Christ to a right relationship with You. Help us as your children to be obedient that we might be worthy of your calling and to call you Father God.

Father we ask these things in the name of Jesus!


In All Things (give thanks)


To me, one of the great things about reaching the stage of life I'm at now is my ability to look back at my life with a much kinder perspective than I had before. Which also allows me to see my present circumstances in a more positive way. I've heard the term "experience" described as "the ability to recognize your mistakes when you repeat them"... Of course that's not the ideal, but it is true enough to be humorous so I thought I'd throw it in,well... it seemed funny when I read it on a sugar packet.

I was browsing through some profiles on Facebook the other day and I got off into my High School graduating class. I found so many people that I used to know, people that I haven't seen in over 30 years! One thing that I noticed was that a large part of them are still friends (at least on facebook) with a lot of the same people. This sort of hit me hard,wondering why I'm the "Lone Ranger is not a new issue with me but I tried to see it with "fresh eyes" and I was surprised by what I saw. It's true that I have some pretty substantial intimacy issues with specific people who are close to me and I understand why. Ironically, I'm also a very open,vulnerable, person who's greatest love in life is talking to people who are struggling with the same issues I've dealt with and that I still grapple with today, although to a much lesser extent than I did at one time, which is where the "giving thanks" part begins...

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (King James Version)

3Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;

4Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

I'm really thankful, for all of the years I spent wondering what was wrong with me, and wondering why I didn't seem to have whatever it was that other people around me did. I understand what it means to be alone and why people make some of the most irrational choices that they do to "fix this" because I made a bunch of them myself...I don't have to ask or wonder,

"What were you thinking?" I know...

I'm at least a country mile ahead of people who don't know when it comes to helping people to feel as though it's not pointless telling me about their feelings. I once heard a therapist in a group session tell someone that it wasn't necessary for him to throw battery acid in his eye's to know it hurt's...the person he was talking to got up and walked out of the room!

I just don't think the therapist knew how much it hurt, or he would've never said that.

(can I still bill him for the whole hour?)

I'm not entirely sure why I wrote this, I woke up the other morning with the title and first sentence stuck in my head. When that happens, I start writing... I was hoping that I'd be able to uncover some semi-profound meaning in all of this, tie a bow on it and hand it to you to ponder over for a few introspective minutes.

Here's my best attempt at that...

In life, we're told over and over that "poop happens" and boy does it! That you just have to feel like poop about it for a while, and then if you're capable of it you bury it in the backyard of your subconscious so that you can enjoy some erstwhile happiness and prepare yourself for the next event. Which has the effect of making you anxious about the future while you long for the past before the poop started happening...meanwhile, today is a bust!

That doesn't sound too good, it reminds me of the song "Born in the USA" by "the Boss" Bruce Springsteen, who's lament is that you,

"End up like a dog that's been beat too much till you spend half your life just a coverin' up now"

I remember hearing that song when it first came out, When he sang this line I used to look around to see if anyone was looking at me! It's okay, you can laugh...I am, now.

As the years grinded by a singular thought perpetually presented itself to my consciousness.

"When does the poop STOP happening!?"

I mean, I'm just exhausted with all of this covering up! There are also a myriad of complications involved with it such as having it to come uncovered at a later and inconvenient time. Or even reaching the point that I no longer even cared if I covered it up and how embarrassing that can be....(and the odor, who can bear that?)

I needed an answer, a solution, a one size fits all excuse perhaps? Sure, that's what "poop happens" was supposed to be, but it was merely a quip, a touch of brevity to make me laugh, and to sometimes keep me from crying out loud.

I dabbled in psychology, I thought surely the real answer would be easily found there and it was, at least part of it was anyway. I learned that our feelings are a product of our thoughts, (which we choose by the way) and that our thoughts are a direct result of our perceptions of the events and circumstances of our lives!

EUREKA! Change your perceptions and you'll change how you feel.

Sweet mystery of life at last I've found you!

Only just a few glitches here...

Firstly: It's a long process to retrain your mind to think differently, it's hard work at times especially without help. I've been working at it for 15yrs so far!

Secondly: The key to long term motivation is love. Why would I do all of this work? for me? wouldn't it just be easier to just go back to "poop happens"? You've got to have a real unconditional love for yourself to see this through! It's the essence of true self esteem.

Thirdly: Here's a doozy for you, you need the unconditional love, but in the mindset of this world you can't really love yourself unconditionally until you've become what you'll become after you get the love! Talk about a "Circle Jerk"!

Modern psychology says, "Fake it till you make it" but you never do "make it" just get better at faking it!

Gods word says "Believe it till you see it" the difference is in who/what you believe in, and in the truth about who/what "they/it" are/is.

I know it may seem complicated and confusing, you may even think I'm an idiot...

That's okay, because as a reward for reading all of this I'm going to tell you what I believe is the simple answer to this conundrum!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (King James Version)

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Romans 12:2 (King James Version)

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 8:28 (King James Version)

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2 Timothy 1:9 (King James Version)

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

My belief in Gods word means a lot of wonderful things to me, not the least of which is that there is no more "poop" that happens! Okay, so that problem is solved...

So, When does poop stop happening? When the grace of God happens!

Thats a change of perception I can get right with!

When we can find the grace within ourselves to lay down our will and pray as Christ did in the garden of Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:42 (King James Version)

42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

Lets deal with the love/self esteem issue while we're at it,

John 3:16 (King James Version)

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Of course "whosoever" includes you, and since there's no asterisk next to it or any fine print attached where the conditions are explained it's unconditional! And brother, If knowing that the omnipotent God who created the universe and the fullness thereof loves you isn't something you can hang your hat on everyday then in my opinion you really don't believe it! If you did, you'd know just how precious you are to God...self esteem? brother puuullleeezzzee! you're rootin around here in the world trying to find some bogus reason to feel good about yourself when you've got the only real reason to staring you in the face?

That's freewill for you, and what happens to it when it's clouded by the deceptions which are brought to us to accept as truth by our enemy Satan.

This is one of the longest blogs I've ever written, so if you're still reading then perhaps I must of done something right. It's also gratifying to me that it's the longest because it's basically everything I know, that I've learned, or been taught, that in my estimation is of any value at all.

Overnight Sensation


I've always been interested in music and I've always found it truly fascinating how musicians can pluck an abstract concept from their psyche and express it through some lyrics with a melody and in less than three minutes say exactly what millions of people are thinking and feeling. I once heard Don Henley of the Eagles remark that the song he was about to perform only took him 15 minutes to write, but that it took him 25yr's to live. Another interview I heard with a different artist impressed me in a similar way, When he was asked about his musics meteoric rise to popularity he remarked that he resented the label of "Overnight sensation" because it sold short the years and years he had spent working towards his success. All of his patience and persistence, his belief in himself against what seemed to be insurmountable odds, his determination and commitment to see his efforts come to fruition...


"Overnight sensation?" yeah right...

Are you beginning to sense a concept here or starting to get the "big picture"? No? that's good because I've still got a lot more to say and the last thing I want to do is bore anyone.

Our relationship with Jesus may seem like an overnight or "instant" sensation to some people. I've heard the expression, "yeah, Billy Bob went and got religion" like it was maybe a terrible disease or perhaps something he might've picked up at a convenience store. Even when they witness a glorious infilling of the Holy Spirit or see a sinner who after being so moved by Gods loving kindness and unending forgiveness falls to his knees at an altar in repentance think of it as having mostly to do with the words spoken during the service...but it's so much more than that!

It is "sensational" to know the Lord, it just doesn't happen overnight!

I suspect that the Holy Spirit might in some ways feel like the musician did who was asked about his success...

They say that there's no such thing as bad publicity. In the entertainment industry it doesn't matter if what you've done is good or bad, or if it's right or wrong as long as people are talking about you. Any decent agent/promoter knows that a percentage of those people will like you and patronize your endeavors and that some, no matter what you do, will not. So success is a numbers game, like in sales the old adage is that we throw a sticky substance against the wall... some will stick, some will salesman can predict that outcome 100% of the time, but God knows who will accept His son and who will not. He knew it before the foundations of the earth were laid,

WOW! talk about your pre-qualified sales leads!

(the very elect of God,those who would choose Him)

The whole impetus for this blog came from something I read about a teen ministry group who were involved in something called "power evangelism". In the short video that I watched I saw a young man experience a dramatic increase in the mobility of his shoulder and relief of pain after being prayed for. Another group of young girls enthusiastically requested prayer after witnessing it and remarked that they felt "goose bumps" and were visibly moved. The writer was critical of what they were doing for a couple of reasons, primarily because he felt that because none of the teens who were being ministered to in the video were being brought to repentance that the gospel had been "fumbled" or in some way mishandled by them. The writer was also upset that one of the teens had used the term "jacked up" in anticipation of what he was hopeful the Holy Spirit's effect would be on the group he was about to witness to. The broader subject of the blog was the church's seeming lack of preparation of young people to be effective ambassadors of Christ which while I might agree with in some respects I'm somewhat at odds with the writers conclusion's as to the cause or remedy of such. His suggestions of the cause and the cure were one in the same, they included intensive study of something he called "the catechisms", and scriptural grillings by older members of the church until teens memorize the proper answers and that the lack of these things in our church's approach constituted poor discipleship training. I want to be fair here, having Gods word stored in your heart is always a good thing...No exception to that, and you can absolutely use the stories in the scriptures to illustrate the everyday relevance of Gods plan for our lives and His great love for us. However you do it, effective evangelism is about touching peoples hearts with the love of Christ! Unfortunately, many people will quickly resist Gods word out of a conditioned reflex but you'll hardly ever see anyone turn away love that's offered to them. It's my strong contention that when it comes to reaching people for Christ nobody cares how much you know until they first know how much you care! And yes, Gods word is our complete instruction manual for this, but as I see it all of those words convey the same wonderful message of love to us, what it is, our need for it, how to receive it, and how to share it with others. Once we get that, the challenge becomes the same as the songwriters, to put it into terms that as many individual's as possible will receive and be touched by...To be inspired, which is a manifestation of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Our job is to love! love! love! people, to "minister" to them but not to preach at people. Given the scope of the human ego I suppose the temptation to believe that it's us who're responsible for changing peoples hearts instead of the Holy Spirit is understandable but it's His work to deal with peoples hearts...not ours!

Some plant, others nurture, still others work the harvest, but it is God who gives the increase.

I understand that as Christians we are to "test the spirits" and that we're to be "fruit inspectors" but I guess I consider it to be perhaps above my pay grade to (in the absence of any obvious heresy) be critical of how the Spirit accomplishes His work. Naturally, I have to scratch my head and make a pained expression when I see other people trying to.

I've mentioned before that I accepted Christ initially as a nine year old boy. However, I then went on to my discipleship with Satan who had a pretty free rein of influence over my life for about the next thirty years. So it's personal to me when I feel that people are discounting anything or anyway that the Spirit might be trying to use to save someone from the misery that I was subjected to.

My "Overnight Sensation" did happen in the dark...

But because of Gods patience, His love for me, His perseverance and longsuffering, His sleepless nights watching over me and the hedge of protection He built around me, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I'm unaware of, it was my "Daylight Deliverance" that came from it!

Can you say Praise God?

Noises in The Night


I'm a pretty light sleeper and so it's a fairly common occurrence for me to be awakened in the middle of the night. As I lay there trying to go back to sleep I'm acutely aware of my heightened sensory perception to sound. I realize that some of the noises I'm hearing are not at all what they seem to be. I think I hear a sudden downpour of rain falling on our metal roof but it's really just one of the fans I'm using in my room creating a similar sounding rhythmic white noise. Sometimes, I think that I hear a truck outside somewhere in the distance, the guttural sound of it's motor escaping from it's dual exhaust pipes, even the sound of it's automatic transmission shifting from first to second gear, which like the rainstorm, would be a curious thing at four in the morning, but it's only my brother in law's snoring in the next room made indistinguishable by the constant drone of the fans. There are other noises too that I hear which originate from inside of my head. They're the voices of my fears who have seized upon this moment to establish the credibility of their case to my presently vulnerable consciousness.

It's seldom the day to day details of life that occupy my thoughts at times like these, or my hopes of the future. Instead, these time slots are sponsored by an energy which functions most efficiently through the deception of the darkness. The pertinent contrast here being that in the day we often see what we wish for, but at night we're more likely to hear only what we dread. Our anxieties provide a stage for these demons to set up shop where the steady work of seeing this through is accomplished. There is at least one tree in the yard that could (given a strong enough wind) fall right onto the house, and we've recently had some fairly intense storms here that demonstrated how real a possibility that is. A truck in the middle of the night is usually just a group of rowdy teenagers and nothing more but after last weeks four AM visit we had from the kid who was in the four wheeler accident that walked into our house and drew himself a bath (am I kidding? no!) I guess I'm a little more wary of what people do in the middle of the night around here.


I did a little research on the phrase "dark night of the soul". One thing I read was that it's during our "dark night" that we as Christians begin to mature. Like Children who aren't afraid of the dark anymore, or that aren't merely aware of the power that's available to them but who've begun to put it to use...firstly by dismissing their own tormentors. We come to know who we are in Christ only by our necessity to become what the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be in chapter 8 of his letter to the Romans...

37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All of us will face fear many times in this life. As children we're unprepared and overwhelmed by it, conceding the dominion it has in the darkness or in the shadows on the wall. How blessed a thing it was when I no longer had to run and jump into my bed from mid floor to insure my avoidance of the hands waiting to grab my feet from the darkness beneath my bed.


God is the perfect Father, I believe He takes great pleasure in teaching us and that His patience with us is unfathomable. I'm reminded of my earthly father who while he certainly was no saint did help me learn how to ride a bike by walking behind me holding onto the seat to steady me. I'll never forget turning around to catch a glimpse of him standing behind me in the road with his hands held out to his sides,palms up,with that expression on his face that said..."It's all you" He knew when it was time to let go, when it was time for me to find my own balance. I'm also sure that he knew that there would be times when I would fall. It was my desire to be free that compelled me to face down my fear's and go on to experience the journey that those two wheels had in store for me.

I'm not afraid of bumps in the road, or of things that go bump in the night...but it's not only because I know Who's behind me, or because I know Who's with me, but it's because from my perspective they're all nothing more than just...noises in the night.

Strings Attached


This morning I brewed up some Costa Rican coffee that a friend had given me. I watched the dark richness stream into the carafe while I took in the nutty roasted aroma. When it was finished I poured myself a cup and added some creamer and sugar. As I took that first small sip, I remember thinking,"This tastes just like my regular coffee, maybe a little stronger", but there was a lot of coffee in that package so I pretty much expected that. Of course it tasted like my regular coffee...I was tasting the coffeemate and the sugar, not the coffee! Had I been interested in truly discovering the flavor of this gourmet beverage I would of tried it "black".


I smoked for many years, praise be to God that's one bad habit I no longer have. One day I was in a tobacco shop and the salesman produced a list of the additive ingredients in the brand of cigarettes that I smoked. I was shocked! I bought a carton of the very expensive natural cigarettes he pitched and went on my way feeling "special". As time went on I began to notice that these fashionable smokes just didn't satisfy me and I began to crave one of my usual "chemically enhanced" brand.


The night before last I had the delicious pleasure of having fresh green beans as a side dish at a friends house. As I tasted the first fork full I realized that there was something familiar and wonderful about these beans. A flavor that took me back to the beans my granny used to grow and cook when I was just a small boy, the flavor that first made me love green beans! They sent me home with a sack full and the next evening I snapped them and put them into a pot with fresh mushrooms, some red onions,cooked bacon,and new potatoes, and lots of salt and pepper! They were very tasty, but in my heart I had to admit that they weren't as good as the plain beans with potato's that we'd had the night before. Last year I grew and canned a huge quantity of beans, but none of mine has that taste. The beans I grew were Blue Lake, stringless, the "bean of choice" amongst gardeners. The other beans were grown from heirloom seeds that a friend of mines family had grown for years, they had strings, and as I mentioned, they also had a taste that put mine to shame. Man's idea of a "better bean", a bean that didn't require the negligible extra effort of removing the string...was there a trade off in the process?

Were there "strings attached" to removing the strings?

It has occurred to me that I may be the only person on earth who cares...besides other kindred's who've tasted the difference and who know what I'm talking about. Taste is lost on most people.

I think the point I'm driving at here is that there are strings (sometimes even ropes and chains) attached to everything we take in and to everything we let into our lives or choose to patronize. Our tastes are developed by our continual exposure to things,or even by our limited exposure to things.

Our spiritual life is no different...

Here's an illustration, Two dogs are in a fight one is a black dog and one is a white dog.

which one will win? The one that's fed the most!

Could it be that just like anything,the more perfect something is, or the higher the quality of something is, the less it needs to have added to it, and at times the more man tries to "enhance" it or the more he tries to put himself into it,the more likely it is that he'll obscure it or pervert it. It's no wonder then that people today have little if any appetite for the things of God, that's because most people have never had the real thing! They've had the everything included nothing excluded kind that obscure's the taste or power of God, they've had the beautiful service in their luxurious church and afterwards they left feeling emptier than when they came kind. They've had the God is love,and we're all called to love one another unless you're an unrepentant sinner of some sort kind too! I've had all of those kinds, and I've found that they might or might not sustain you depending on what you're willing to settle for! I believe that God's looking for hungry people who do want more to fill with His Holy Spirit, who are completely open to Him and all of the blessings that He has to give... but I think He's also looking for a people who more than anything are looking for Him! He is the perfect Father who needs nothing from us to make Him more Palatable, He's the spotless lamb of God who with His last breath before He died on the cross declared "It is done!" there's no more that need be done by us to finish it, or to somehow improve upon it, IT'S DONE!

We love to talk about how we're living the "good life". But when was the last time you heard anyone boast about their relationship with Christ and how good He is, or about how the Holy Spirit is moving in their lives or how He showed up in the service last week and the sweetness of His presence? God's promise to us is that If we'll be His people...then He'll be our God!

No fine print, nothing but our acceptance required, and NO strings attached! Unless you count the string that reaches to us like a rope to a life preserver...

In His Hands

I didn't grow up going to church, I have very few memories of the times I did go. I was sent off on the bus by my aunt when I stayed with her so that she and her boyfriend could be alone on Sunday morning. I remember I had to wear those blue plaid pants with the puckered out pockets that I hated and how much I loved my bible study teacher and how he taught us the story of Joseph. I remember the day I came forward and accepted Christ after the Holy Spirit had gotten ahold of me one morning, I was about nine. I always enjoyed singing, there was one song in particular that I remember...


"He's got the whole world, in His hands,in His hands

He's got you and me and brother,in His hands"

You know the one, everybody's heard it. It's fun to clap along with and it's the children's equivalent to a negro spiritual. I think there's a lesson in those words that we as adults would do well to mind. We carry some pretty heavy loads at times, wouldn't it be great if we could just put them in His hands? Truly let them go, trust in Him enough to simply thank Him before we see it, and maybe even spend a little more time with Him?

What would you put in His hands?

Your finances? Your children? your marriage? Your health?

It seems ironic to me that Christian people can profess a faith in God and trust Him with their eternal soul's, and yet not trust Him in this present moment with the simple (to Him) problems of our lives...all I know is that I want Him to be Lord over everything!


In His hands,in His hands"

"He's got the whole world in His hands"

It's nothing more than a children 's song unless we do more than talk about it. Nothing more than a wonderful story until we walk down to the waters edge, stick our foot in, and watch the waters part! That's a place few of us really want to find ourselves, being totally dependent on Him, but that's the blessing I've experienced in a very real way over the past couple of years...But Alton, haven't you just lost your home, your car, and just about everything else you own? Oh, and didn't you spend ten days in jail last year?


But in the process I've been made keenly aware of my dependence on Him, I've seen the waters part! I was given a car, provided with food, a job, a place to live without charge, and in spite of everything I have PEACE! He's given me a ministry that continues to bring meaning and fulfillment to my life, and an opportunity for me to boast about the unmerited favor of God and all of the great things the Lord has done for ME!

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Romans 1:5

Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

2 Timothy 4:5

5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

Life can turn on a dime, this morning at four AM I was awakened by my brother in law who informed me that there was an unknown person in our bath tub. A 19 year old young man who had a four wheeler accident down the road from our house had walked into our house and sat down in our bathtub and proceeded to draw himself a bath...very strange indeed! We called an ambulance and they came out and got him. I'm quite sure that when he took off on that ride he never anticipated ending up in some strange peoples' bathtub!

The complexities of my situation, my choices,and a few bad breaks have led me to where I'm at now (my own variety of hot water) which is as I said a point in which I have no other good alternatives that I'm aware of other than to do what I'm doing which is to take each day as it comes, thank God for His grace on me, and be so glad that I'm in His hands!


Life does throw us curve balls...

In this crazy world it's a great

feeling to know that I'm in

Gods hands!

Are YOU in Gods hands?

On Sunset Hill


That's what I've taken to calling our new place, it's definitely on a hill and the view of the sunset is wonderful! We've been here one week today, and so far we've cleaned and painted, put up sheetrock,taped and mudded, done trimwork,electrical work, the difference is amazing! When I first saw the place I'll admit I was creeped out. The inside was the worst, (I'll spare you the details) save to say that I didn't feel comfortable to sit anywhere because of the amount of dust and cobwebs all over everything. Of course I've still got a lot of work yet to do but at least it seems livable now. I'm anxious to share a few pictures I've taken, mostly of the chickens...

This hen hatched out a couple of chicks the day before we moved. It's kind of interesting how they go "broody", they won't leave the nest hardly at all for about a month. This hen seems to be recuperating pretty well, she's the envy of the other hens with her brood in tow. One of the younger dogs got too close to her chicks and it was hysterical the way she ran him off!


It's quite a bit different living here, mostly because I'm not at the end of the road anymore and I actually see cars driving by instead of just hearing them in the distance like I did before. It's really nice being just off of a paved road too, I had so many tire problems because of the two and a half mile's of dirt and rocks I had to drive down at the other place. It may just be the "newness" of being in a different place, but I really like it here!


It's summertime now and I'm off from driving the school bus. That's just one example of how the timing of this whole thing has been kind of incredible. So many things have fallen into place that I could never have arranged, little things and big things. A lot of things could've very easily turned differently and made this a very difficult experience... but they didn't and I am SO thankful for that! I'm thankful to the Lord! It's difficult to explain to people how that you've dodged the bullet time and time again and all of the uncanny circumstances that only you could know. I've heard people say that it takes a whole lot more faith to dis-believe in God than it does to believe in Him and in my case I know that's true! I'm also sure there are people who think I'm just a "Fool on the Hill", or that whats happened to me is a result of my "mistakes" in life. Lots of people will tell you that money doesn't buy happiness, but then they'll shake their heads in disbelief or even anger that you would under any circumstances allow this to happen. In my own defense, I can only say that I've tried to make all my little decisions with my head and all my big ones with my heart. This story's a long way from over...stay tuned!

Living on "Y" hwy...

Ronald Reagan contemplated death many times--how it might come and how to graciously accept it. He hated to fly. Every time he got in a plane he prayed. "Do you pray that the plane won't crash?" his daughter Patti logically asked him. "No," he answered, "I pray that whatever God's will is I'll be able to accept it with grace and have faith in His wisdom. We're always in God's hands. Sometimes it's hard to accept that, so I pray that He'll help me just to trust in His will." He instructed his daughter, "When we die is God's business as is how we die. President Ronald Reagan

I happened across this as I was browsing one day, I thought it was interesting so I copied and pasted it into a blog draft. Now, several months later, it seems like a good jumping off place for me to write this blog.

No, I'm not dying...(or flying)

"Y" Hyw by you.

I'm just moving to "Y" Hwy.

I've discussed at some length my various personal situations here in my blogs, so some of you know that I'm facing foreclosure on my home and 63 acres. It's been a very long process that's taken so many twists and turns, and now my majority feeling is just to get it over with. But as our late, great, elder statesman so bravely put it...

"I pray that whatever God's will is I'll be able to accept it with grace and have faith in His wisdom. We're always in God's hands. Sometimes it's hard to accept that, so I pray that He'll help me just to trust in His will."

I'll confess, that there have been many times during the past 2 years that I've completely "lost it". I think that this experience has been one of the hardest things that I've ever had to face, why? because it's never been just one thing at a time, (it's several all at once) and also, because it just never seemed to end...(it still hasn't)

At one point last week My A/C was out (it hasn't worked all year) my well was malfunctioning, (no water for 3 days) the TV is history because of the digital changeover, (a mixed blessing) and my internet connection was also out for about 4 days, (ouch!) I have however, become a much more patient individual in the process. Stuff that used to really annoy me or that I wouldn't of tolerated before just doesn't seem to matter nearly as much anymore.

I thought it was interesting that I was moving to a house on "Y" hwy, a bit comical even! (when I'm not choking back my rage) The letter Y is somehow symbolic to me, if you consider that it kind of represents the proverbial "fork in the road" or a choice to make, which in my situation consists of...

A) Be consumed with bitterness and hatred for all those who are either directly or in-directly responsible (self included) for my circumstances. Wallow in a deep pool of self pity and resist any efforts made to extract me.

B) Be ever so thankful that my wife, daughter and I are not living under a bridge somewhere, that we're actually living there rent free which will allow me to save money towards perhaps living somewhere else.

We can laugh or we can cry...I simply prefer to laugh!

Oh! you might find this interesting, right across the street from where I'm moving is a place called "Pigman Ranch" It's claim to fame is that in the sixties the Beatles spent some time there just getting away from it all. Here's a picture of the main house from my back yard

IMG_0076 by you.

Here's where I'm moving into

IMG_0075 by you.

IMG_0074 by you.

Whattaya think? It's a "fixer upper" right? Some curtains, a little paint...LOL

We've been spending a lot of time working on cleaning up the inside and I installed a new sink and toilet. We've also done a little sheetrock work and some painting trying to fix it up. I have some used carpet to lay down and of course I'll have to scrape the house and paint it...

What I find most interesting is how I can see the Lord working in the circumstances of my life. For some time I've prayed for an opportunity to be used by the Lord in a greater way, and that He might be exalted and glorified through my life. I've been searching to find a place of ministry that would make use of the gifts and talents He gave me. I see whats happening to me simply as necessary steps in that process, the idea being that there's no testimony without a test... A week or two ago someone told me a story about a cake and how if we were to receive all of the individual ingredients one at a time to make that cake we might not think it was such a great thing. Sort of like this..."Here's a few cups of flour, open up!" or maybe, "here, try some of this baking soda!" or even, "Hungry? here's two raw eggs" You get the idea?

I have no idea what stage of the process I'm in at the moment, it feels a bit like I'm in the oven lately...(lol) what with this heat we've been having. Thats good though because maybe it means that I'm nearing the end and that soon my life will enter the "cake" phase, which if I'm not mistaken is followed by the icing, I'm a big fan of both so I'm hoping that's the case...