Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Life Lessons...

My life has been a real roller-coaster lately. Allow me to describe the last nine months of our lives: the struggles, the sorrow, the joy, and journey to come.

Over nine months ago, we put our home up for sale. We were approaching financial trouble and knew it was time to do what was right. We struggled with this decision for a long time, but we did it. For months the housing market fell to rock-bottom for sellers. House prices became very competitive and buyers had the distinct advantage. This was horrible news for us. Yet, God was teaching us a very big lesson.

If there is a single destroyer of marriages, it is finances. Men have their idea of financial responsibility, while women have theirs. Thankfully, Deb and I agree who controls the finances in our family; God does. Now that doesn't mean we live like hermits and keep our money inside a mattress. No, God teaches us to be very wise with it. And so, selling our 4,000 sq. foot home was the first step in taking better financial responsibility.

Unfortunately, it took 9 long months to learn this lesson. During this time, Deb and I prayed: Thought of different ways to stay in our home - prayed more. Had long discussions with each other - prayed more. Cried out to God for answers to prayer - prayed more. Questioned our faith and hope - and still more prayer.

We had other plans as well and they all fell apart. Old job - gone. Life in ministry - gone. Masters program in theology - gone. More and more prayer and tears. Little did we know that God was taking us in a whole different direction...

Finally, about three weeks ago, someone put a contract on our house. We were cautious, yet optimistic. Was this the answer to our prayer? What would happen to us now? These thoughts and more occupied us for two solid weeks. Where would we move? Could we afford it? Would God see us through?

I have to admit that every time I heard God's voice, He was telling me that he would never leave us nor forsake us. I had to put my trust in Him.

On Saturday, March 25th, we receivd the news we had been waiting for: The contract was finalized on current home and we purchased a new home, to be built, in Canton, Georgia. Here's the link to our new home site.

Are we excited? Yes, and there's more to come. We have to be out of our current house by April 30th. Our new house won't be finished until late July, early August. The journey is beginning anew.

I am deeply blessed for friends such as Misawa, EeyoreJeff, Tim Ellsworth, Joel Maners, Howie Luvzus, Marty Duren, Jon Dale, Ms. Terry Wassink, and Kevin Bussey. You guys have always lent an ear to my problems and struggles and I can't thank you enough.

As for Deb and I, we are now much smarter regarding finances. Sure, we'll make mistakes every now and then, but God is with us and he forgives us when we foul up. He will never leave us, nor forsake us. He will always see us through.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Advantage: Florida High School Students

From Florida high school students may pick majors

What a great idea! Students who want to be future doctors, lawyers, writers, etc., can focus on a study track to prepare them for college. The aim of this program is to keep students challenged and stay in school. The program would also allow students to change majors as long as they graduate with the required credits.

And yet, there are the liberals who don't want to cause extra pressure on students:

Some educators support the plan, while others fear it will deprive students of a broad liberal arts education and put even more pressure on young people.

"People want to know why college admissions is so frenzied and why kids can't be kids anymore. It's things like this that are at the root of it," said Bari Meltzer Norman, a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and associate director of college counseling at Ben Lipson Hillel Community High School in North Miami Beach.

If you want to let kids be kids, let them make wise choices that will help them in the future. These kids are teens soon to be adults. This program would help students take responsibility for their education now and into the future.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Our Wonderful Government At Work

From the AJC: State shuts fried-pie kitchen

I understand we have laws to protect people from harmful products, e.g. food and beverages. But sometimes our government goes a little too far.

Here's a woman who has been making fried pies for years and has never had a problem. She makes $100 a week to support her husband's heart medication. I believe she also thoroughly enjoys her craft.

The state of Georgia's Department of Agriculture has asked Ms. Watts to cease her operation citing health concerns. Namely, Ms. Watts would need to purchase the necessary licenses, commercial location, and pay taxes on her sales.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a load of bull poop at its finest. Ms. Watts isn't competing with some big-name baking giant, but that's what the state of Georgia wants her to be.

Ms. Watts is relying on her skills to buy medicine. She is not relying on government for hand-outs nor big insurance companies who take advantage of you.

She is doing the right thing.
We should learn a deep lesson from Ms. Watts:

When the Lord gives you a gift, use it.

Muslim Clerics: Christian Must Die

From CNN: Top Muslim clerics: Convert must die

As I struggle with trying to find grace in this situation, anger raises its ugly head. My first thought is that this could be a great way to teach the world how ugly Muslim extremists can be and how Christians are martyred everyday for their beliefs. I mean, just to believe in Christ, and then to be put to death merely for your beliefs. Unbelievable in 2006.

Then the anger hits. I want to yell at these extremists and fight them. "You want a holy war? Well, now you got one. We Christians are tired of your lies and hatred. But this time the outcome will be different. This time there will be no truce. This time we will bury you."

But alas, this is not what Christ would want. He warns us in the Gospels of persecution in His name and wars to come. A holy war wouldn't solve the overall issue: salvation and redemption.

So take heart. Pray for the missionaries and brave peoples who boldly proclaim the name of Jesus Christ amidst deadly extremists. Have everlasting hope that one day we will live in peace.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kirk Franklin: Speakin' the Truth

From CNN: Kirk Franklin..

I am not a fan of Kirk Franklin's music. However, after reading this article, I will begin to take more notice of him. He's raw and unashamed of who he is.

More Christian artists need to relay the message of having a relational faith with Christ, instead of a "Sunday-only" one.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Intimidation vs. Free Speech

From Suspended Colorado Teacher Won’t File Lawsuit,2933,186708,00.html

Here we go again. Another Liberal-wannabe makes remarks comparing Bush to Hitler. This is getting too old.

Jay Bennish, so-called social studies and American history teacher, at Overland High School, went on another one of his personal tirades against President Bush.

Now this wouldn’t be so bad if the guy was just spewing his opinions like everyone else. But no, he intimidates students who oppose him. According to 16-year old Sean Allen, who reported Bennish’s remarks:

"Overall, he was a pretty intimidating teacher to confront, just with his body language and the things he said and how he said them," he said.

Intimidation crosses the line.

The school board should fire Bennish immediately for his acts of intimidation, not his mouth.
If I were Sean Allen’s father, I would warn Bennish that if he ever intimidated my son again, he’d really know what intimidation meant.

Then again, maybe home schooling is the better answer.

P.S. When I was in high school, from the early to mid-80’s, we NEVER protested against the school when an unjust act occurred. If we did, our parents would kick our butts. Of course no one disciplines their children anymore, do they?